Harris Hill's chief executive and director recruitment practice combines experienced consulting, dedicated research and extensive networks to deliver targeted and intelligent recruitment solutions in the charity and not-for-profit sectors.
Our significant success, in terms of the calibre of our candidates and the contributions they make to the organisations in which they are placed, is attributable to our proactive partnership approach with our clients. We understand the importance of robust, efficient and cost-effective executive campaigns, whether senior level management or trustee positions, and we provide bespoke and flexible solutions to suit any organisation.
We are committed to a high level of client and candidate care at every step of our campaigns, providing timely updates and constructive feedback.
Drawing on our sector knowledge and daily interactions with chief executives and senior leaders, our white papers offer detailed analysis of some of the key issues for leadership teams throughout the charity and not for profit sectors.
In the first of the series, we explore the variety of insights and approaches to the ever-expanding role, benefits and potential pitfalls of social media.
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Chief Executive Officer
Harris Hill is thrilled to be partnering with Age UK Buckinghamshire in their search for a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Age UK Buckinghamshire is a vibrant and dynamic organisation that has been delivering great services in Buckinghamshire for more than forty years. They have a skilled and committed team of staff that are complemented by more than 270 volunteers. Together, they support over 2,800 older people each year. The charity puts the interests of older people living in Buckinghamshire at the centre of everything they do by helping them achieve and maintain their independence and wellbeing. The charity aims to: - Be the trusted organisation for local older people, their families and carers in Buckinghamshire. - Help local older people achieve and maintain their independence and wellbeing. - Support local older people to reduce their risk of isolation and loneliness. - Enable local older people to make informed decisions through the provision of quality information and advice. - Provide high quality services for local older people. The new CEO will have the unique opportunity to shape the organisation, creating and delivering a new strategy which will drive its future success and make Age UK Buckinghamshire the best they can be at supporting older people across the county. Key details: Chief Executive Officer Age UK Buckinghamshire Salary: 45,000 - 55,000 Location: 145 Meadowcroft, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP19 9HH Contract: Permanent Key responsibilities: - To provide inspirational leadership and management to Age UK Buckinghamshire staff and volunteers. - To manage, develop and promote the work of Age UK Buckinghamshire. - To provide services that improve the quality of life for older people and those who support them. - To ensure financial sustainability of the organization through sound financial planning, risk and business management, income generation and creating efficiencies when opportunities arise. - To develop and implement business and service plans to ensure financial sustainability. - To promote Age UK Buckinghamshire and the issues affecting older people and seek to influence local policy making in response to identified need. - To contribute to the work of the wider Age UK network. Age UK Buckinghamshire is looking for a Chief Executive Officer with a range of skills to be able to take the organisation forward as the charity creates a new strategy. The CEO needs to be able to develop a structure that supports that strategy whilst maintaining the existing excellent services and staff team. The Chief Executive Officer will need to: - Be an excellent leader - Be committed to listening, involving and responding to older people - Understand the role of the Board of Trustees - Be a highly visible and excellent communicator (both written and verbal) - Be a strategic thinker - Work in partnership with other organisations including developing services with others - Have excellent analytic skills, able to produce and interpret financial and performance data through the development of a key performance data framework - Build and maintain excellent relationships with commissioners, local Age UKs and key local partners Closing date: 9am, Friday 18 February 2022 First stage interview: w/c 28 February 2022 Second stage interview: w/c 7 March 2022 If you would like to receive an Information Pack for this role, with details on how to apply please contact Nick Shanks at Harris Hill: Nick Shanks: email@example.com | 020 7820 7334 Harris Hill Charity Recruitment Specialists operates an equal opportunity policy and commits to treating all of our candidates and jobseekers fairly. We welcome and encourage applications from everyone regardless of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and marriage and civil partnerships.
£45k - 55k per year
We are looking for our next Director to build on our strong foundations at Dravet Syndrome UK and lead our small but committed, fully remote-working team. It s an exciting and hopeful time the charity, with new treatments in development and the charity s first five-year strategy launched in 2021 with ambitious plans for further growth under our new Director. Dravet Syndrome is a rare, life-long and life-limiting neurological condition, affecting one in every 15,000 people in the UK. As well as severe, difficult-to-control seizures, Dravet Syndrome encompasses intellectual disability and a spectrum of associated comorbidities, which may include autism, ADHD, behaviours that challenge and difficulties with speech, mobility, feeding and sleep. Every child or adult with Dravet Syndrome is different, with some affected more severely than others, or with a different emphasis across symptoms and comorbidities. But for all, the condition is complex and can be highly unpredictable. Dravet Syndrome UK is a registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by Dravet Syndrome through support, education and medical research. The charity was established in 2008 by a group of parents who came together looking for support, resources and information. In that time we ve grown significantly and now support over 500 families UK wide with a diverse support offer, world-leading educational materials and funding for cutting edge research in partnership with the likes of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Key details: Job Title: Director, Dravet Syndrome UK Salary: circa £55,000 Hours: Full time, with occasional weekend and evening work Location: Home-based, with the requirement for nationwide and occasional international travel Amongst other criteria, the successful candidate will have: Proven record of achievement in a senior position within a small charity/not for profit organisation. Experience of working within a small organisation undertaking both operational and strategic duties. Track record of success at securing income from trusts/foundations, alongside other means of income generation (e.g. community fundraising, corporate sponsorship, regular giving etc.) Experience of effective partnership working, development and external relationship management. Experience of managing, motivating and developing staff. Experience of project management and service delivery across multiple functions. Strong financial management skills, including the ability to analyse budgets and accounts and manage annual budgets to target. An understanding and demonstrable appreciation of the issues affecting families living with life limiting conditions. Highly developed emotional intelligence, along with being highly empathetic. We encourage applicants who are from underrepresented groups with protected characteristics, as we value having a diverse pool of applicants to find the best candidate. If you would like to receive an Information Pack for this Director role with details on how to apply, please send an expression of interest and (optional but appreciated) a CV or professional profile in confidence to our consultant, Jenny Hills at firstname.lastname@example.org. For an informal and confidential conversation about this position, please contact Jenny at the above address with your number and suitable times to speak. Closing date for applications: 9am, Monday 21st February
Harris Hill is delighted to be working with the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) to recruit the organisation's new Managing Director (MD). HJS is the UK's boldest think tank and policy-shaping force, constantly ahead of the curve on big issues of international and domestic importance. We are looking for an MD to take our organisation to the next level in leadership, effectiveness and efficiency, building on the HJS name which has already taken us to the status of a household brand in the international political and media constellation. Role overview The MD will be a key part of the Senior Management Team at HJS, and will be in charge of the business strategy. They will play a critical role in our progress by ensuring smooth running of the organisation's operations. This will include change management, projects, governance and daily office business. In addition, the MD will assist with financial management and forecasting, supporting the Executive Director in strategic development and fundraising, and overseeing the office management, HR and legal matters. This role will require managing internal staff in both the research and the communications departments, so as to deliver a focused programme of well researched policy ideas and the processes required to communicate them. Key details: Job title: Managing Director Location: London Salary: 80,000 - 100,000 p.a. Contract: Permanent Key Responsibilities: The MD will: - Execute and manage the business strategy - Ensure the smooth running of the organisation's operations - Assist with financial management and forecasting - Support the Executive Director in strategic development and fundraising - Have oversight of office management, HR and legal matters Team leadership: provide guidance to employees and direct and quality assure the work produced. The MD will have a particular focus on organisational efficiency, effectiveness and staff happiness. The postholder will be required to manage the organisation's project pipeline and facilitate the successful production of research reports including meeting deadlines and creating media packages. You will have the following skills and experience: - Senior management team level experience with wide-ranging responsibility at an organisation of comparable scale and complexity. - Developing and implementing wide-reaching strategic plans, translating vision to reality. - Ability to lead and inspire teams. - Entrepreneurial and creative approach to growth, with experience in at least one of sales / fundraising / development work. - Overseeing operational and financial performance; manging budgets of comparable scale and complexity. - Managing multiple deadlines, projects, and contributing factors at once. - Previous experience of developing and managing internal communications, procedural processes - Understanding of basic HR regulations and legal processes - Hands on approach to problem solving. The Successful candidate will be committed to the goals of HJS. The closing date for CVs and supporting statements: Friday 11th February. If you wish to have an informal discussion, have any queries on any aspect of the appointment process, or would like information on how to apply, please contact Nick Shanks at Harris Hill email@example.com
£80k - 100k per year
Headway Black Country provides specialist services to adults with an Acquired Brain Injury or Stroke and to their families and carers. Since 1997 we have been raising awareness about brain injury and helping people to live as independently as possible and to achieve their potential. We are now looking for out next Chief Officer to lead us through a continued period of considered and sustainable development, and the challenges and opportunities that will present themselves to the charity and our clients. Brain injury can affect anyone, at any time and Headway Black Country, an independent charity affiliated to Headway the brain injury association, offers a range of services to support people through these life-changing events. Wherever someone lives in the Black Country (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall or Wolverhampton) we are a source of practical help, support, expertise and information in the community, at home or at our Centres. We have a committed and expert team of staff and volunteers, a great reputation for the quality and impact of our work, and 92 clients. Through the Covid-19 crisis, we have successfully maintained our funding and adapted our services. Job Title: Chief Officer of Headway Black Country Contract: Permanent, full time with occasional evening and weekend work. Location: Dudley, with travel around the Black Country Salary: circa 40,000 As well as a strong and demonstrable alignment with our work, mission and values, amongst other criteria the successful candidate will have: Senior management experience at an organisation of comparable size and complexity having this experience in the charity sector is highly advantageous, and a strong knowledge and understanding of the charity sector is essential; Experience of successfully managing and developing teams of comparable scale and complexity; Experience of successfully balancing both strategic and highly operational aspects of a role; Up to date experience of following financial procedures and of managing budgets; and Successful track record of business development, from spotting opportunities to bringing them to fruition. If you would like to receive an Information Pack for this role with details on how to apply, please send an expression of interest and (optional but appreciated) a CV or professional profile in confidence to our consultant, Jenny Hills at firstname.lastname@example.org For an informal and confidential conversation about this position, please contact Jenny at the above address with your number and suitable times to speak. Please note: responding to this advertisement will not in itself be considered an application. We will need a CV and a supporting statement addressing the full person specification in the information pack. Closing date for applications: 9am, Monday 7th February 2022
Chief Executive Officer
Harris Hill is delighted to be working with Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding to recruit a new Chief Executive. Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding is one of the largest Citizens Advice Services in the country. This is a particularly exciting time to join the charity as they continue on their journey of transformation and modernisation of how services are delivered. As a result of the pandemic increasing demand on services and having a serious impact on people's health and economic well being, Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding responded quickly to the challenges presented by the pandemic and adapted and developed the way they work. Staff and volunteers were agile and continued to deliver services in a fast-changing environment. They expect their new Chief Executive to continue to develop the service in the post-pandemic climate, building a stronger and more resilient service. They are looking for a Chief Executive who will bring an entrepreneurial and business like momentum while having an eye for detail that ensures the operation is as efficient and effective with the resources available. Key details: Job title: Chief Executive Location: Main base Head office Hull, option to co-operate from offices in the East Riding or hybrid Salary: £60,000 Hours: 37 per week Contract: Permanent Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding is seeking an experienced, innovative and credible leader who will be able to take the charity forward through challenging times - someone with proven leadership skills and who is passionate about working in the advice sector. The new Chief Executive will have significant and proven senior management experience in providing strategic direction and generating revenue to deliver against ambitious plans and strategy. In addition, they will be able to demonstrate a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. You will be someone who will thrive in this changing but rewarding environment. We encourage applicants who are from underrepresented groups with protected characteristics, as we value having a diverse pool of applicants to find the best candidate. If you would like to receive an Information Pack for this role with details on how to apply, please contact Nick Shanks at Harris Hill: email@example.com| 020 7820 7334. Closing date for applications: 9am, Monday 7th February 2022
£60k per year
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Harris Hill is delighted to be working with Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) to recruit an Interim Chief Executive. At Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), our horses benefit the lives of over 25,000 disabled children and adults. With fun activities like riding and carriage driving, we provide therapy, fitness, skills development and opportunities for achievement all supported by 18,000 amazing volunteers and qualified coaches at nearly 500 RDA centres all over the UK. RDA is an inclusive and diverse organisation. We welcome clients with physical and learning disabilities and autism, and there are no age restrictions. Through our network of member groups, RDA is at work in every corner of the UK, in our cities and remote rural areas, bringing the therapy, achievement and fun of horses to as many people as we can. We are a charity, and we can only carry out our life-changing activities thanks to the generosity of our donors, the dedication of our volunteers and the good nature of our fantastic horses. Key details: Job title: Interim Chief Executive Location: Lowlands Equestrian Centre, Old Warwick Road, Shrewley Salary: FTE £90,000 Hours: 2/3 days per week moving to full time hours Contract: 6 month FTC RDA wish to make an appointment of an Interim CEO at the earliest opportunity to work part time alongside the outgoing CEO and who will then take over as full time CEO until the new permanent CEO is in place. The jobholder will be an experienced leader with a broadly-based general management skillset, derived from a successful commercial or not-for-profit career. This will include a strong people management skillset, experience of managing and growing significant businesses and budgets, and an adequate grasp of the governance appropriate to a national charity. We encourage applicants who are from underrepresented groups with protected characteristics, as we value having a diverse pool of applicants to find the best candidate. Closing date for applications: Friday 28th January 2022
£90k per year + FTE
Chief Executive Officer
In a part time, homeworking role, our new Chief Executive Officer will be an effective campaigner who will use The Hygiene Bank s expertise and network to influence the policy debate around hygiene poverty, as they lead us from our start-up phase to a scale-up phase. Key details: Salary: £80,000 pro-rata (part time, 0.8 FTE) Location: Remote working / homeworking Holiday: 25 days (pro-rata) plus public holidays Pension scheme: Defined contribution pension scheme 3% employer contribution, 5% employee contribution Hygiene poverty is a scandal in our society. Many people locked in poverty or those who find themselves in times of crisis often experience restricted options. This leaves them caught between being able to heat their home, pay their rent, buy food or keep clean. Hygiene poverty can be shaming, humiliating and excluding and can result in social isolation. It can lead to a lack of confidence and can negatively affect good health and mental well-being which can impact early childhood development, learning, employability and social interaction. The Hygiene Bank is a grassroots, people-powered charity and social movement, grounded in community. Our passion stems from the injustice that people may be unable to fully participate in society due to hygiene poverty. This is why we work to inspire social change. At The Hygiene Bank, we believe it is not right that feeling clean should be a luxury or a privilege for anyone in our society, yet many are living in poverty and cannot afford to stay clean. That is why our network of projects exists to give people access to the basics they need. Our new Chief Executive Officer will deliver significant growth both to the charity and to awareness of hygiene poverty. Building on strong existing partnerships with corporates such as Boots and Unilever, they will get us to the table at which policy decision are made to effect systemic change to reduce and eliminate hygiene poverty. As CEO, they will also ensure that our fantastic staff and volunteers continue to develop capacity in the number of projects we provide hygiene products to and the amount we provide. A well as a strong personal alignment with our belief, vision, mission and values, amongst other criteria, our CEO will have: Experience of creating and implementing wide reaching strategic plans that deliver on ambitious growth goals (ideally in the charity sector) Experience of leading diverse and dispersed remote teams (ideally to include volunteers) Experience of actively developing organisational culture in line with vision and values Strong track record of effecting external change (ideally at national policy level) through effective campaigning and advocacy Demonstrable track record of improvement and change management to continue to drive greater efficiency in the running of an organisation Experience of developing and maintaining strategic organisational partnerships Experience of generating new relationships and sources of funding If you would like to receive an Information Pack for this Chief Executive Officer role with details on how to apply, please send an expression of interest and (optional but appreciated) a CV or professional profile in confidence to our consultant, Jenny Hills at Harris Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org. For an informal and confidential conversation about this position, please contact Jenny at the above address with suitable times to talk. Closing date for applications: 9am Monday 14th February 2022 Harris Hill Charities Recruitment Specialists operates an equal opportunity policy and commits to treating all of our candidates and jobseekers fairly. We welcome and encourage applications from everyone regardless of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and marriage and civil partnerships.
£80,000 (pro-rata - 0.8 FTE)
Chief Executive Officer
As our CEO, you will lead The London Fire Brigade Welfare Fund, a membership organisation that provides a range of benefits and services to our members: serving and retired employees of the London Fire Brigade. With 5,000 members in active service across London, and 3,000 retired members, we exist to make life better and a little more fun for a community of people who put their lives on the line to keep London safe. There is a strong family culture across the London Fire Brigade, which we are proud to be a part of. For our members, amongst other benefits, we run a popular monthly lottery; offer discounted theatre tickets, a range of breaks and holidays; run a wide range of sports and social events; and publish our magazine that keeps the community up to date with all the latest news from our members. A small but committed staff team in our office supports our various voluntary-run committees to deliver our services to members. With our Business Management Director of 15 years, Carole Connolly, retiring, we are now looking for her successor to join the London Fire Brigade Family as CEO, support our fantastic members and ensure the Welfare Fund is delivering the best for them. Key details: Role: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) London Fire Brigade Welfare Fund Location: Lewisham, London Salary: £57,785 (subject to review in the new year) Contract: full time, permanent Benefits: 28 days annual leave plus public holidays, 7.2% employer pension contribution, death in service benefit of 3.5x salary Amongst other criteria, the successful candidate will have: Experience of working at a senior level in a membership/customer relations role and a proven record of accomplishment of developing and implementing strategic objectives. Experience of financial planning, control, contract management and monitoring finances at a senior level. Experience of developing and maintaining effective relationships with internal staff, key partners and stakeholders. Experience of managing and motivating support staff and ensuring they are trained and developed. Highly developed communication skills in order to liaise, influence, negotiate and present to people at all levels both internally and externally. Well developed organisational skills in order to manage workloads, projects and to ensure targets and objectives are met. The ability to champion change through leadership, innovation, creativity and effective use of resources. If you would like to receive an Information Pack for this role with details on how to apply, please send an expression of interest and (optional but appreciated) a CV or professional profile in confidence to our consultant, Jenny Hills at Harris Hill, email@example.com. For an informal and confidential conversation about this position, please contact Jenny at the above address with suitable times to chat. Closing date for applications: 9am, Monday 31st January 2022 Harris Hill Charities Recruitment Specialists operates an equal opportunity policy and commits to treating all of our candidates and jobseekers fairly. We welcome and encourage applications from everyone regardless of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and marriage and civil partnerships.
£57,785 (subject to review in the new year)
Welcome back to Charity Careers, in which freelance writer Nicola Greenbrook invites key influencers in the charity sector to share their career story and how they navigate the professional world. We discover what they've learned along the way, what motivates them to get up in the morning and what their dream breakfast might look like when they do... In these extraordinary times, Nicola was delighted to chat (virtually, of course) to Susana Lopez, Head of Leadership Giving for Cancer Research UK about her impressive career to date and balancing parenthood with the personal reasons that drive her work for CRUK. She also learned how the charity is responding to COVID-19 and why breakfast in Spain, the complete works of Austen and Tiger King are a few of Susana's favourite things… Hi Susana - we know the name of course, but how would you sum up CRUK's mission and cause? In the 1970s, just 1 in 4 people in the UK survived cancer. Today, thanks to research, that figure has doubled. At Cancer Research UK (CRUK), our ambition is to continue to accelerate this progress so that 3 in 4 people survive cancer by 2034. As the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world, we define global research priorities. Untethered to government funding, we can react rapidly and have the agility to support courageous, risk-taking science. Since our beginnings in 1902, our work has helped uncover the causes of cancer, leading to some of the earliest studies into risk factors, including the link between smoking and cancer. We also laid the foundations for the UK’s national cancer screening programmes and today’s radiotherapy and surgery techniques, and we have contributed to developing eight of the world’s top 10 cancer drugs. Today, we support more than 4,000 nurses, researchers and doctors across a network of exceptional cancer research centres and partner with more than 80 organisations all over the world. We cover every aspect of cancer research and every step of the cancer journey, from our patient information programmes to prevention, diagnosis and treatment. What are you responsible for in your role? My role is really varied! I head up Leadership Giving which sits within the wider Philanthropy and Campaigns team. We work with amazing supporters who want to make a difference by investing in truly cutting-edge research and support. This includes the Catalyst Club, dedicated philanthropists working with us over the long term to have an impact on key areas of CRUK's work; early diagnosis, developing the next generation of science leaders, and the new City of London centre. What drew you to CRUK and when did you join? I’ve had two stints here; from 2006 to 2015 I was a trust fundraising manager and then a senior manager in CRUK's first capital campaign team, Create the Change, raising £100m for the development of the Francis Crick Institute in Kings Cross. I came back to the organisation in November 2019 as Head of Leadership Giving. The simple answer as to why is that cancer has had a profound impact on my life and my family; we lost my mum to ovarian cancer eight years ago; the treatments that kept her well for nearly four years post diagnosis were in part developed by CRUK. All four of my grandparents died of cancer, and too many other family members. I'm an Arts graduate, so was never going to go into science and find new and better treatments myself, but I can put my shoulder to the wheel in the fundraising efforts and secure the investment needed for cancer research. We're hearing much more about medical research in these unprecedented times of course, albeit for a different reason. How has the current pandemic impacted CRUK and your role in particular? Michelle Mitchell, our CEO, has been very open on the impact of COVID-19 on CRUK; unprecedented times indeed. We’ve had to close our shops, and postpone huge events like Race for Life and the gala events which really drive our fundraising programme, and are predicting a 25% drop in income this year, potentially more. The organisation has renegotiated leases on shops, made full use of the government's Job Retention Scheme by furloughing a large number of staff, and made every saving possible in order to protect the investment we make in the front-line science. Even so, we've had to make some tough decisions about the science we can fund, and have had to plan for cuts to that spend. Within my role, we work closely with senior volunteers, ambassadors who are willing to open up their networks and introduce potential supporters to our work, often through a range of events. Obviously we can’t plan those events currently, so we have had to almost throw out the old plans and start afresh. This could be terrifying, but has actually felt very liberating - we have permission to think outside of the box, and to really get insight from our supporters as to what they feel will work, and trial some new ways of working. How did you start your career and what have been the key roles? My first role was as a trust fundraising executive at YMCA England. I'd returned to my home town (after a post-uni year in Spain) to find everyone had scattered, mostly to London! So when a friend contacted me to say there was an entry level role at YMCA England where she was working, I applied. Although I knew nothing about fundraising (amazing to think now that there once was a time when these roles were available to someone with no fundraising experience), I quickly realised that it was a perfect role; lots of talking to colleagues in service delivery about what they were planning and what the impact would be, creative and impactful writing, talking to potential supporters and asking for advice and selling in the work and the difference it would make to homeless and disadvantaged young people. I've since worked in a range of organisations at a range of levels and I don’t know if there are roles I would pick out as being particularly key. Maybe my senior manager role at CRUK the first time around (!) as it really exposed me to working with amazing senior leadership and senior volunteers and to work with really significant supporters to secure multi million pound gifts towards a capital appeal, and to see how a campaign really works. What I would say is that there have been people who have been key to my career; from my first manager at YMCA England, Christine Douglas, who taught me how to structure a trust proposal and how to write for impact, through to Jennifer Cormack at CRUK who showed me how to lead a team collaboratively. Debbie Gilbert at St Giles Trust showed me how to show up as a leader (and never to take no for an answer!), Catherine Miles at Anthony Nolan showed me how to manage upwards and protect your team, and Russell Delew at CRUK gave me the opportunity to work on what was at the time CRUK's biggest capital campaign and secure some of the biggest gifts of my career… Was a charity career always your goal? It really wasn’t; I didn’t know what fundraising was when I applied for my first job in the sector. From childhood I wanted to be a journalist, but fell out of love with the idea on graduation (although three of my family are journalists on TV and in print now, so I feel I'm living the dream vicariously through them!) and I was at a loss what to do with the skills an English Literature degree and a naturally nosey nature had fitted me for. Luckily it turns out being inquisitive, talkative, with a good memory and a way with words is a perfect basis for a career in trust and major gift fundraising. How do you keep your skills fresh and ensure continuous learning along the way? I'm a huge fan of continuous learning - we can all learn something new. I've been working as a fundraiser for 25 years (ARGH) and still enthusiastically sign up for the Institute of Fundraising Convention each year alongside interesting looking briefing events, and especially the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration’s (SOFII) annual I Wish I'd Thought of That event. I also think it's imperative to learn from your peers and keep your ear to the ground with what's happening across the sector to ensure you don’t end up in your own little organisational bubble/echo chamber. To that end, I set up a networking group and invited people I met across the sector to come along; we meet four or five times a year and share news, ask questions, ask for support and advice and make connections. It's fascinating to see how other organisations deal with the challenges we all face - we're meeting in May, and I can't wait to hear how everyone is dealing with COVID-19! What would you advise graduates seeking to join the sector, or more experienced people considering a leap into leadership? When I'm interviewing, I always look for behaviours over a skill set, so my only advice to graduates would be show flexibility, how you've taken on new responsibilities or roles, and your willingness to learn. Skills can be taught. For people moving into leadership - choose the organisation carefully! I’m being half-facetious, but the serious point is to look at how the organisation supports its managers and leaders, what's expected of them, and what training there is internally - for example on managing a team, conducting 121s and annual reviews. These skills are key to managing and too many organisations think they’re innate. They aren't, as anyone who has suffered with a badly trained manager will tell you. Aside from that, be open, honest and transparent - turn up as yourself, and as authentic as you can be. When times get hard, it's tough to maintain a facade! And finally, approach someone you admire and ask them if they'd be willing to act as a mentor. I've listed some of the people who have been key to my career, but I've learned so much from so many people across the sector which has been invaluable. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Christina Grant (who contributed to your article on how to be assertive at work) had a profound impact on me when she worked at CRUK as a trainer. I use some element of her Raising The Bar training and coaching every single day in my work life; the key one is 'Human beings like threes'. Every single meeting opener, presentation, 121, PDR, whatever, I frame around three key points, because it works! What’s the most challenging part of the job? I’ve had lots of challenging jobs, and roles that I’ve left because I couldn’t see how I could make a useful contribution. I can honestly say that I don’t feel that way in my current role; the only challenge, as cheesy as it sounds, is sometimes reining a really ambitious team in! And the best bit? Where to start? The pride in knowing the work we do has a direct impact on cancer, and today, on COVID-19 as CRUK pivots to working on vaccines and treatments for the pandemic, and releases clinicians and nurses back into the NHS to work on the front lines of coronavirus. Working and being in awe of world leading medical researchers who are answering the toughest questions of cancer. Working with world leading fundraisers from whom I can learn so much. And knowing that my mum would be so happy that I've come back to CRUK, an organisation that she supported. What have been your career's biggest ups and downs to date? Up: working with a family who were keen to support an area of work, and who, after a couple of false starts, agreed to an initial gift of £1.1m, and then a further gift of £5m towards a campaign. I secured that gift just before going on maternity leave, so there was a nice completeness to it! Down: working up a huge proposal, full agreement from the finance team and CEO, all ready to go just before Christmas, for a January board meeting date. My ‘spidey sense’ was tingling, though, so I thought I'd make one last check with the project lead. After a couple of days they came back with 'Oh, we've decided not to do that anymore'. It was, I'm afraid to say, the final nail in the coffin for my time at that organisation! Who do you look up to in the sector or more widely? One of my oldest and dearest friends is a sister in A&E in our home town; I’m always in awe of her, but especially at the moment. My sister is a primary school teacher. and after four weeks of trying to teach a six year old, I'm in awe of her, and in fact all teachers. Across the sector, I look up to those people who walk the walk not just spout the theory - I'm loathe to name names as I know I'll leave someone out, but the people who have closed the big gifts, grown income streams, got senior leadership buy-in for major gift fundraising and in doing so created transformational growth. Let's finish with some quick lifestyle questions: are you up with the lark or a night owl? Left to my own devices, I would go to bed at 8.30pm and sleep til 9.00am. I love sleep. Juggling a small child and a full-on job, the lie-ins are less frequent although I am blessed with an early bird husband, so I definitely get more than my fair share! What gets you out of bed in the morning, rain or shine? Usually the six year old asking questions about dinosaurs, trains or planes ... more seriously: deadlines and wanting to get on and make a difference. Urgh, that sounds awful. But true! And what's your dream (and actual) breakfast once you're up? Dream breakfast - lockdown over and travelling again - would be some mixture of fresh eggs, bread and fruit overlooking the sea somewhere hot and beautiful. If it could be the motherland of Spain, so much the better. Actual breakfast more likely to be overnight oats with yoghurt whilst logging on … Does a typical day exist? Not really, but it would usually involve checking in with the team, checking in with senior managers, or looking over proposals and reports for donors to feed in my thoughts: after 25 years of doing the job, it's really key to me to share what I was taught and what I've learned the hard way! Also planning, taking part in some thinking about upcoming projects or launches, and best of all, meetings and calls with supporters and senior volunteers to talk about the work of CRUK, and to solicit their support in a variety of ways. What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment? I'm an English Literature graduate who, in another life, would have been at my most content lost in an English department somewhere writing an interminable thesis on Austen. I have weird reading tastes - early 19th century fiction and contemporary US fiction. My favourite authors are Jane Austen, Curtis Sittenfeld, Tom Woolfe and Jonathan Frantzen. I could happily just read them for the rest of my life. Oh, and Mhairi McFarlane for cracking modern UK writing. I have absolutely gutter tastes in TV though; Tiger King was a recent highlight and aside from that, rubbish reality TV, especially the Real Housewives franchise, or what my husband calls 'your programmes about ladies shouting at each other’. I’m relatively new to podcasts, and just didn't get them at all until I came across Gossipmongers and I’m now a convert. Best. Podcast. Ever. And finally, how do you wind down in your spare time? If I have any, I like to switch my brain off with things that are detailed but mindless like knitting. I make many, many scarves, as that's about the limit of my skills. I dream of being able to make something more complicated. A huge thank you to Susana, we very much appreciate you taking the time to share your story, career insights and invaluable advice with our readers - we wish you and CRUK all the very best in the challenging weeks ahead, and of course for the future! Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist and Freelance Writer Contact Nicola, check out her website or follow her on Twitter, or for more on Cancer Research UK and why they need you more than ever, please visit their website. More Charity Careers #1: Sara Rees, Head of Fundraising, Rays of Sunshine ► #2: Hannah Sanders, Consumer Brand Partnerships, Save the Children ► #3: Andy Harris, Director of Income Generation, Shelter ► #4: James Harris, Associate Director of Communications, Marketing and Membership, Rethink Mental Illness ► #5: Chris Oak, Associate Director HR & Facilities, SPANA ► More from the Harris Hill blog 12 tips for video interview success Interviewing via video is the new normal for now, and if it's also new to you, here are some practical tips on the process from our executive recruitment experts, courtesy of director Jenny Hills. Read more ► How to work well from home Millions of us are doing it, but is working from home really working for you? Nicola Greenbrook has the lowdown on the lockdown and advice to help you turn the new arrangements to your advantage. Read more ►
Interviewing via video is the new normal for now, and if it's also new to you, here are some practical tips on the process from our executive recruitment experts, courtesy of director Jenny Hills. Getting the basics right: make sure what's behind you isn't distracting How to get the best from video interviews By now you'll probably know the basics from the video meetings that have come to dominate all of our working and social lives: make sure your camera and microphone are working ahead of the call, check your pyjama bottoms aren’t in view below your smart top, and that what’s behind you isn’t distracting. But over the past few weeks, we’ve picked up a few additional practical pointers that can help you ace that all-important video interview: Try a test run If you’re not familiar with the videocall platform you’ll be using, ask your friendly consultant for a quick technical test-run. We want you to nail this meeting, and if a test-run will help that, we’re only too happy to do it. If you’ve applied directly, ask a friend to do a test-run with you well ahead of the interview. Lights, camera, wardrobe Wear what you would normally wear (at least on top) to an interview. However, keep in mind the quality of your camera and the lighting. You don’t need a camera any fancier than the one that came with the laptop/smartphone, but if you know the image quality isn’t great, try and sit in a well-lit room, and consider the colours you are wearing. A white shirt in front of a white wall in bright sunlight might mean you blend into the wallpaper too much. On the other hand, wearing dark colours in room with less-than-great lighting risks you appearing as a grainy blur to the panel. In all cases, don’t silhouette yourself in front of the light source! Steady your nerves (and devices) If you're using a smartphone or tablet, find a way to prop it up and keep it steady for the interview, rather than holding it in your hand: a shaky picture can detract from what you're saying and create the impression of nervousness, even if you're confident, calm and collected. Stay informed Keep the relevant details (job description, person specification etc) and your application to hand, either printed out or in another window of your screen. If you’re switching between screens to look at something (most videocall platforms allow you to do this without leaving the call), remember the panel can still see and hear you. Be prompt Keep to your start time! Normally, arriving 10 minutes ahead of an interview is good practice, but if you log into the Zoom meeting early, you may interrupt the panel’s pre-interview discussion, or they may simply not be there and they’re taking advantage of a quick break to run to the bathroom. We’ve been advising our candidates to log in a minute before the actual interview. This gives you time to make sure the audio and video is working before it cuts into precious interview time, but also allows the panel to take their breaks, talk amongst themselves and be ready. Remember you're on camera! When on videocalls, some people understandably forget about eye contact and look around the room whilst talking (as many of us do when we’re thinking). Don’t stare down the lens (creepy), but try to keep your eyes on the screen. It doesn’t really matter where on the screen, but the person who asked the question is a good bet, especially if you find looking at yourself distracting. Express yourself There’s no need to be a mime artist, but if you use body language (nodding, smiling, leaning in, etc) you might want to exaggerate it a little bit more than you would in person so it shows up on camera. This helps engagement between you all as people. Someone sitting motionless and expressionless is hard to relate to, and the panel want to get a sense of you as a person and as a potential colleague. The show must go on For relatively minor audio and video disruption (screen freezes, distorted audio), we advise ignoring it unless it has impaired your understanding of what the panel are saying/asking. We’ve found that this keeps interruptions to a minimum, and on the flipside, we’ve seen conversations lose momentum when every bit of digital static is commented on. Be expressive, but not a mime artist. Also recommended in all other situations. Don't panic This way of working is strange for all of us, so don’t be phased if something goes pear-shaped. Can’t hear? Explain and wait for it to resolve (leave and re-join if necessary). Six-year-old has to show you the spaceship now? Cat decides it needs to sleep on the laptop? Smile, ask the panel for a quick pause to deal with it, and get back to it. We’re all human, and if the panel doesn’t understand that, do you want to work for them? Stay focused That said, despite the interruptions and informalities of working from home, the conversational style in videocalls is by necessity pretty formal (even for an interview). If two people speak at the same time, both are completely unintelligible so everyone has to take turns to speak. You are also missing out on almost all the non-verbal clues that we don’t realise we rely on so much. A particular risk is talking to fill the silence and missing clues you’d normally spot that the panel are disengaging from your answer, so stick to focused, relevant answers (the STAR technique is a good general guide). If you’ve said something interesting and they want more detail, they’ll ask. Make sure you leave a pause between someone asking a question and you talking to ensure they’re done, and that panel members are given opportunities to ask follow ups. Be flexible If your internet connection is bad enough to disrupt the conversation, apologise, fix it if at all possible, but if not, ask if you may switch your camera off and go audio only, or even dial in to the call instead. This should be a last resort because it’s the only way you can hear and respond to the panel. On the other hand, if one or more panel members go audio only for the same reasons, don’t get phased and keep your eyes on the screen. Just because you can’t see them, it doesn’t mean they can’t see you. BYO refreshments Finally, much as they’d like to, the panel can’t offer you the glass of water/tea/coffee, so make sure you have one to hand for when you need it. A separate celebratory beverage for when you leave the videocall having given the best interview of your life is optional. To wrap up, there are practical differences between the usual in-person interview and a video interview, but the intent behind them is the same: for you, is this a job you want? For the panel, are you the person they want for the job? Being able to adapt to these differences may not guarantee you the job, but feeling more confident and relaxed about the process will give yourself and the panel the best chance of making the right decision. Jenny Hills Chief Executive & Director Recruitment Practice, Harris Hill Search executive opportunities ► More from the Harris Hill blog How to work well from home Millions of us are doing it, but how well is working from home working for you? Guest blogger (and frequent home-worker) Nicola Greenbrook has advice to help you keep things running smoothly. Read more ► Should you be working for a large or small charity? The biggest charities may have the biggest opportunities, but you'll typically take on more responsibilities somewhere smaller - so which is better for your career? Faye Marshall and our fundraising specialists weigh up the options. Read more ► How to be assertive at work Altruistic behaviour is fundamental to the charity sector, but saying yes to every request can leave you seriously overwhelmed. Nicola Greenbrook explores how you can learn to stand your ground and be more productive as a result. Read more ►
With much of the world in lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus, working from home is the new normal for many. Our guest blogger and freelance writer Nicola Greenbrook offers suggestions on how to work productively, interact socially and look after our physical and mental health. How to work well from home We are living in exceptional times. The virus that emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan has caused a global COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of writing, the UK is in lockdown, the shutters have come down on all non-essential shops, schools and nurseries are closed, and many charities are in crisis. Government guidance advises people to work from home where possible, travelling only when it is essential. But for those unaccustomed, or averse, to homeworking, it can take a while to adjust. Throw into the mix that our partners/flatmates/children are our new colleagues, how can we work productively and efficiently from our homes - and keep our minds and bodies healthy? ___________________ Create a designated workspace The spread of coronavirus has been rapid; one day you were at work, the next creating an ‘office’ in your flat amongst the laundry and hunting under a pile of magazines for a pen. Before you do anything else, prioritise setting up a clear and defined workplace, separate from your home life where possible. If this is the kitchen table for the time being, ensure it's clear, free of coffee cups and has easy access to power. HSE's Display Screen Equipment (DSE) workstation checklist offers clear guidance on areas such as chairs, screens and lighting. Adding a personal touch to your workspace might help with the adjustment to homeworking (best to avoid dedicating an entire working day to #workspacestyling though). Kim Watson, comms freelancer and co-founder of holistic therapies business The House of Palms finds that it increases her productivity: ‘I have a proper workspace, a desk with plants, pictures, candles and natural light etc. All things that make me feel happy and wanting to work - that helps!’ Establish a routine and set boundaries I'm an HR Specialist for an IP law firm in the City for three days a week and a freelance writer at home for one day and weekends (plus a Mum in between). This provides clear boundaries and compartmentalises my working week. However, the lines are currently blurred; each part is now worked from home. It’s an unprecedented situation for most of us; there’s no commute to act as a physical divide and we've literally brought our work into our homes. So what can we do to restore some order? Creating a simple plan for the week ahead can help stay on track; try scheduling activities against set times and get to know when you’re ‘peak you’. If, generally, you’re less dynamic in the afternoon or susceptible to energy slumps, consider doing less creative work then. If working alongside a partner or flatmate/s AND children, and without a separate room to work from, at least delineate a space that is solely yours. Over breakfast each day, consider holding a team meeting with your ‘new colleagues’; discuss and agree the hours you’ll each work (especially if caring for/homeschooling children as well) and how you like to work (loud music vs complete silence etc). Then be prepared to compromise and be flexible - we’re all in this together! ___________________ Watch the clock It’s tempting to work all hours just because we can. Stick to your regular office hours where possible and commit to meetings in your diary rather than pushing them back. Establish a routine; stop for lunch and utilise morning and afternoon breaks to do a quick house chore or grab a drink - and step away from the screen. Work steadily, stay focused and STOP at a set time - then switch off. It's unlikely you'd run back to the office at 11pm after an evening out, so there’s no need to head back to your laptop at home. Stop looking for distractions There’s something about being in your own home that feels more comfortable, don’t you think? Sure, you could squeeze in some pre-work Netflix over a bowl of cereal, but can you stop at one episode? What about chores? Are you finding it hard to ignore the messy kitchen cupboard /peeling paint/huge pile of stuff to sort out? Yes? You could be procrastinating; save the decluttering for the weekend. Mirror your homeworking day with your office one. If a relative or friend wants a chat in the middle of the day (rather than it being a genuine concern or emergency), politely reschedule for lunchtime or post-work. It's important to digest public health information, but avoid getting bogged down in multiple sources, too many WhatsApps or unreliable social media posts. Don't let a quick peek at your phone become a Twitter marathon. ___________________ Be healthy in mind and body Working from home can be challenging and isolating, and you might be feeling a certain level of anxiety and distress. Explore some coping mechanisms that could alleviate feelings of uncertainty. For example, limiting social media (and visiting positive accounts only like Upworthy), using meditation and relaxation apps, reading a book or sitting in the garden to restore a sense of calm and wellbeing. Mental health charity Mind offers some brilliant advice on coronavirus and your wellbeing. Try exercising in your former commuting time (for your mandated, one form of exercise a day) to start or end the day in the right way. Runner's World has some good tips for staying active during social distancing and the Guardian suggests the ten best online (and free) home workouts. Stay hydrated and eat well, avoiding the temptation to fall into a pattern of idle snacking and ransacking the crisps cupboard at 10.00am. NHS factsheet ‘Water, drinks and your health’ provides some helpful reminders on this. Finally, ensure you follow sanitation and good hygiene practice to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at home too. Wash your hands and clean your keyboard, phone and other equipment regularly. Here's a reminder of the advice on this, via the CIPD (or click for pdf): Stay in conversation Maintaining some form of human connection while homeworking is essential, and emotional support is a critical part of our physical and mental wellbeing. If your workload allows, contribute to team chats or group emails when you can so you don't drop off the radar. Consider a virtual coffee break with your team and ask what they’re working on, come up with ways to support each other and share what’s on your list (or your mind, if you feel comfortable). Jot Form offers some great ideas for online business tools and ways to communicate, such as using a video conferencing tool like Zoom for meetings with multiple attendees, hosting courses, and webinars. And finally… • Get dressed - It’s tempting to jump straight into it and conference call in a work top with pyjama bottoms, but before you know it, it's 3pm. Get showered, first. • Support local businesses - Consider signing up for an online yoga class with a local teacher, order takeout as a lunchtime treat from a café and buy your basic necessities from a local shop. • Learn how to homework - LinkedIn Learning’s remote working course can be done in small chunks and includes insight from entrepreneur Arianna Huffington. • Reach out - If you're struggling, don’t hesitate to speak to your HR team for support or access any employee assistance programmes available. ___________________ These are unsettling and worrying times, and a huge period of change for the UK’s workforce. You may be feeling out of control right now, but try to focus on the things you can control (washing your hands, taking exercise and breaks, eating well and drinking fluids) rather than what you can’t. Take it day by day; get to know what works for you to get the best out of homeworking and stay in good physical and mental health. Stay safe and well - and indoors. Nicola Contact Nicola, check out her website, or follow her on Twitter. The coronavirus pandemic is a fast-moving and developing situation and official advice should always be taken. You'll find the most up-to-date information via the UK Government, NHS or World Health Organisation sites. More from Nicola Greenbrook How to set goals (and stick to them in style) ► Podcast your way to workplace wellbeing ► How to be assertive at work ► More from the Harris Hill blog Should you be working for a large or small charity? ► Smarter than the average bear: the Charity Series Quiz Night champions! ► Caudwell Children: Building a better world for disabled children ►
Previously in 2020: fires, floods, locusts and a global plague, but if you're tired of Apocalypse Bingo and keen to hear about our inter-charity quiz (or just desperate for literally anything new to read by now), you’re in luck! A quiz to remember Cast your mind back if you can to the halcyon days of February 2020: that carefree age when you could leave the house at will to go around touching your face and buying toilet paper with abandon. It was in this bygone era, when gathering hundreds of charity people in a bar was a convivial prospect rather than an invitation to certain doom, that the 2020 Harris Hill Charity Series Quiz Night took place. And rather good it was too. You’ll perhaps be wondering who held the winners’ trophy aloft, but let's not get ahead of ourselves - who knows how many months we might have to spin this out for - so firstly some very well-deserved thank-yous: to our wonderful hosts at Patch St Paul’s, who’ve hosted countless times and always manage to make a hectic night look effortless with smiles all round; and to our quizmasters extraordinaire Rob Wyatt and Matthew Glass, not to mention all the rest of the organising committee who work so hard to bring these events together so brilliantly. The big draw There are also thank-yous galore when it comes to the other big draw of the night, the fundraising raffle, which this year will make a real difference close to home, contributing to a much-needed specialised wheelchair for Muscular Dystrophy's Ravi, who never misses an event despite living with the condition himself. We’ve had some fantastic prizes before but this year’s selection was surely the biggest and best to date, all donated thanks to the huge generosity of the organisations and businesses below that we would strongly encourage you to go and frequent! Not right now obviously – they’ll be closed and you might get arrested, which is never as much fun as it looks. (In no particular order, that's Vauxhall's Embody Wellness and Floatworks spas, the Movember Foundation, Mondo Brewery, Northcote Biscuiteers, Linnaen restaurant and spa, Headcase Barbers, stylish retailer Oliver Bonas, Psycle Clapham, Sadhana Yoga & Wellbeing, the Sipsmith Gin Distillery, Beefeater Gin Distillery and a small team you may be aware of called Manchester United Football Club!) There were even more prizes on the night too - we don't have all the details in this new home-working world, but our huge thanks to you too! Of course there’d be nothing raised if nobody bought tickets, so an enormous thank you to every single person who did, and once again to our CEO Aled Morris for bumping up the total quite significantly to raise a fantastic final figure of £2,200! ---------- And so to the winners… There are some familiar names among our titans of useless trivia this year, and after a closely-fought contest there was a tie for second place between 2018 winners the Canal & River Trust, who nearly barged (sorry) right back to the top, and the combined talents of The Brooke and C40, collectively known as The Globetrotters! But out in front and fast becoming Charity Series legends, a team who know things as well as they throw things (given their second place in 2018's quiz and victory in November's bowling), our congratulations go to the irrepressible Citizens Advice aka The BearOs! All of which begs the question, can they follow up those consecutive quiz and bowling triumphs by doing the triple and topping this summer’s charity softball league? Sadly the coronavirus may have something to say about that, as we wait to see the extent of its impact on the 2020 season. Naturally the committee will be watching developments closely and doing whatever can possibly be done, but safety of course comes first, so all we can say for now is watch this space! Just not all from the same place, obviously. Until next time - whenever and wherever that may be - take care and stay safe! Team HH x More from the Harris Hill blog Should you be working for a large or small charity? ► The Harris Hill and CharityJob 2019 Salary Report ► How to be assertive at work ► How to set goals (and stick to them in style) ► Back to the blog homepage
Ever wish you were more assertive, when those 'few little requests' become a giant mountain of work? Our guest blogger, freelance writer and HR specialist Nicola Greenbrook has been finding out how, with insight from professionals in and out of the charity sector. How to be assertive at work Assertiveness is an essential workplace skill, but can be tricky to apply if you’re an introvert or have trouble speaking up. Many of us avoid being more assertive through fear that our colleagues, and boss, will think badly of us. Yet, taking on just.one.more project despite a full inbox can lead to over-work, over-tiredness and overwhelm - not to mention a dent in your personal life. So, how can we reclaim the power? Should I be aggressive, passive or assertive? First, let’s explore these different behaviours: • Aggressiveness can be defined as ‘a determination to win or succeed, and the use of forceful action to do this’. Fictional fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly is a wicked master of this. • Passivity on the other hand is ‘acceptance of what happens, without active response or resistance’. Always going with the flow and yielding to other people’s demands can lead to burnout and resentment. • Assertiveness falls somewhere between the two extremes. Not simply being calm, confident and firm with your convictions and decisions, being assertive is a state where you approach situations assuredly and objectively and are happy to seek feedback, aware of the growth and development it can bring. A satisfying compromise. Assertiveness in the charity world For people working in the third sector, the need to balance assertiveness with empathy - listening to service users, understanding their circumstances and inspiring action - can often be a particular challenge. In a recent LinkedIn thread, the author had observed the number of women in her office who over-apologised (for getting into the lift, having the door held open for them or just taking up space). As part of the discussion, Garry Wilkinson, Head of Charity Partnerships at Vintage Cash Cow considered whether being a chronic apologiser isn’t necessary limited to women. ‘Maybe it’s also something to do with sorts of people who work in the Third Sector; they tend to be people with high levels of empathy and are very conscious of the feelings of others,’ he suggested. Christina Grant, an executive coach and trainer for the fundraising sector has considerable insight in this area. She believes the fundraising role is fundamentally an influencing one. However, she observes that whilst her trainees are drawn to the sector by a desire to make a difference, limited budgets can often mean they lack adequate training or support in influencing and assertiveness. Fundraising also attracts a high number of women. Yet senior teams, major donors and senior leaders in organisations remain predominately male-dominated - and so influencing is even more critical. She believes the fundraiser has a challenging role, because in a first meeting with a donor or supporter, ‘they have to be seen as friendly and warm whilst also being authoritative, knowledgeable and credible’ so as to be trusted with a gift. Women also face even greater challenges at work when they start displaying assertive behaviours in the workplace which are then deemed as ‘bossy’ or overly aggressive. So what can we do to address this? The power of words We’ve all heard people say ‘you need to be more assertive!’. But what if you can’t find the words or find yourself apologising instead? Olivia Dunn, Head of Marketing and Communications at Halpin Partnership Ltd has observed women and men disempowering themselves with the words they use at work. In her insightful article ‘The shortcut to empowered communications’, she offers valuable advice on using emboldening language without bravado. Olivia suggests ditching ‘just’ (‘I’m just part-time’) and ‘I think’ which can dilute your point before you’ve even made it. She makes a compelling argument; it’s not the words you add in but the ones you remove which can empower you. Why it's win-win to be assertive at work Being professionally assertive can increase your self-confidence and lower your anxiety and dependency. It can also help you stay in control and communicate more effectively and healthily. A graphic designer from London shared with me how assertiveness worked for them: ‘Last year I worked on a particularly messy job for a lovely client.’ they explained. ‘Remaining assertive throughout the project meant the experience for both me and my client remained positive - even when the project became a source of stress. The feedback at the end of the job was that I handled things with grace’. Setting clear boundaries about what they were OK with in their own mind before conveying them externally, as well as taking control when requests from clients or others feel ‘too much’, was a useful strategy for them: ‘Instead of saying ‘no’ and explaining why I can’t do what they want, I try to respond positively. I explain what I CAN do and when, or I pass them on to someone who may be able to help, instead of giving the impression they’re inconveniencing me. If someone ignores or shuts down my assertiveness with a passive-aggressive response (including no response), I’ve learnt to let it go, move on and find people to work with who are a much better fit.’ How to be assertive! Assertiveness may not be an innate characteristic for everyone, but it can be learned and developed. Christina Grant emphasises the importance of body language and gestures in key meetings, especially when making first impressions. She explains, ‘For example, it’s important for women to seat themselves in prime spots in a meeting room and to be present in the room physically’. She points out that seemingly little things can affect this; being overly concerned about everyone's comfort and refreshments or taking responsibility for taking notes when no one else does. ‘This can sometimes damage our own credibility without us realising it (although if a woman has enough confidence she could take notes and make tea and it would not have an impact on how she is perceived)’ Christina explains. She also encourages women to ‘open’ meetings with a two-minute, strong introduction, to ensure other attendees know they're ‘leading’ the meeting and will sense their authority. ‘It should help other people to relax and feel confident that you have a plan and you're in control - not in an aggressive way, but rather a signal that you’re confident in your world’. Here are some final strategies on being assertive at work: • Practice outside of work first. Build up your assertiveness muscle; speak up about bad service or ask for the table you want at a restaurant. • Set clear boundaries. Career and business coach, Nathalina Harrison likens good assertiveness to good parenting. Put clear boundaries in place on how you want to be treated and communicated with and be clear about the consequences if they’re not adhered to, whether upwards (your manager and stakeholders), sideways (your peers) and downwards (your direct reports). • Be analytical. If you want to be assertive but you're hesitant and reluctant to speak up, do a quick analysis of the situation. What’s the worst that could happen? ______________ Assertiveness is an invaluable skill. It can bolster your career progression, improve your visibility and credibility in meetings and strengthen relationships with colleagues, clients and contacts. Being confident in your approach, removing disempowering words and setting clear boundaries will ensure you nail it at work. I’m certain you’ll like your assertive (not aggressive) self a lot better than the passive, exhausted resentful one and soon that mountain of work won’t look so daunting. Just don’t be Miranda Priestly, OK? That’s all. Nicola Greenbrook - HR Specialist and Freelance Writer Contact Nicola, check out her website, or follow her on Twitter. More from Nicola Greenbrook How to set goals (and stick to them in style) ► Podcast your way to workplace wellbeing ► How to negotiate a pay rise in the charity sector ► More from the Harris Hill blog Should you be working for a large or small charity? ► Caudwell Children: Building a better world for disabled children ► The Harris Hill Charity Series 2020 ►