01 June 2018
It was way back at the tail-end of 2007, that I got a call inviting me to do some freelance Trusts fundraising with a new charity being set up by my local church, aimed at tackling homelessness among young women in Nottingham. It wasn’t quite what I expected or was looking for, but at that time I was already involved voluntarily with the management committee of a different charity, Nottingham Nightstop (which also supports young people at risk of homelessness), and so I dived into this new opportunity and officially became a “freelance fundraiser” at the start of 2008. At that time, my wife and I were expecting the birth of our second child.
Ten years on, at the start of 2018, I was giving serious thought to the next step in my career. Our youngest child (by now of 4!) starts school in September, and it just felt like time and opportunity to think about the “what next.” In the intervening period, more than two-thirds of my clients have been churches or Christian faith charities working to positively transform the lives of individuals (or even whole communities). It is a sector that I know well, just as Trust Fundraising is a discipline that I have come to know very well, and whilst not wanting to pigeon-hole or constrain my consultancy work, by April this year I was thinking about how to take a more strategic approach to working with this very enthusiastic, very varied sector. Alongside, I was keen to find ways to move beyond the often-short-term focus of Trusts fundraising with clients. No doubt this is still a vital element of consultancy support in the sector – now more that ever – but after ten years, it has its limitations.
Then a friend emailed me a job advert. Not quite what I expected or was looking for…and in fact even better.
And so it is that, starting from June 2018, I am the Trusts Manager at Cinnamon Network, a charity that has grown and matured in parallel with my own consultancy business (albeit much more impressively), over a similar time-frame with a vision (guess what?) to help churches in the UK and overseas to transform their local communities! I’m really excited about the innovative and strategic work of Cinnamon Network and about this role, which allows me to continue to work in support of local churches, with a longer-term focus on resourcing Cinnamon Network via their Trusts strategy and fundraising, whilst continuing my own consultancy business with my existing wonderful clients (3 days a week, alongside 2 days at Cinnamon Network).
Just as I hope to positively shape the Trusts fundraising at Cinnamon Network, so I hope that my work as a freelance consultant will be positively shaped by this opportunity, and the enthusiastic and skilled team that I am joining.