17th May 2013

Let’s recognise the achievements of trust fundraisers…

We all know the classical stereotypes of each fundraising discipline. Major donor fundraisers are outgoing types, skilled at quickly building relationships for the long-term mutual benefit of an organisation and donor. Corporate new business fundraisers are tenacious, at ease in networking events and quick to identify potential synergies between organisations. Direct marketing professionals are excellent data people, often with creative flair whist events fundraisers are bubbly, energetic and highly organised. The interesting thing to consider is the stereotype of the highly valued trust fundraiser. Essential to the income of a number of voluntary sector organisations, these wordsmiths are often painted as shy and retiring types, preferring to sit comfortably behind a computer, firing out compelling fundraising propositions rather than engage with donors in face-to-face fundraising. It’s often said that stereotypes exist for a reason. If so, are trust fundraisers in danger of being left behind by changing external conditions requiring more than simply a timely and well written funding application? Are these fundraisers doing enough to change the age-old perceptions of their role? It’s well documented that the fundraising landscape over the past few years has been challenging for bid writers. Increased competition as other voluntary sector organisations seek essential […]
7th May 2013

Don’t worry, be happy. If you’re not happy move on, or create the job you want!

Recently I was pitching to recruit a senior person for a charity and I was asked the question “what do I like about my work?”   A strange question you may think, and one I would have struggled with in the past whilst working at some previous employers (no points for guessing which if you look at my LinkedIn profile).  This question is however an inspired one by the panel member.  If I am not excited about my work how can I possibly get excited about theirs?  What would that mean in being able to represent them with passion and energy? Earlier in my career I remember being criticised for moving around too often. I would tend to get itchy feet in any role after 12-18 months, and unless my role changed significantly enough to give me a significant development opportunity, I would be off to a new employer who saw the potential.  It’s a shame that often people have to move to find a significant new role.  Wouldn’t it be better if employers actively managed people for the benefit of their careers, or recognised that people could come in for a year or two for a period of mutual benefits […]
19th April 2013

Tell me how and why – it’s that simple

I look at hundreds of CV’s and applications each year and candidates come in all shapes and sizes, but I’ve got to say this,  sometimes it feels like wading through treacle trying to get to the essence of what candidates have actually done! I’ve got a pretty good idea about what is going to work on a CV and supporting statement and so as we move into spring (despite the weather!),  this is a message to all those who want to compile an application that is going to work: First of all tell me how and why – evidence and examples of experience is the key. What you’ve done, how you did it and what was the impact. To differentiate yourself you’ve got to show the difference you made. Give clear and relevant metrics, e.g. size and scale of organisation, staff, budgets, P&L etc. Why do you want this job?   Your motivation matters, but is so frequently overlooked! Articulate what this is clearly and it provides a compelling complement to your relevant experience. Tailor your CV to what the role requires, emphasise the roles that have the most relevance. Before you even start, get as much information as you can […]
4th April 2013

Looking for a charity job with wide reach? Consider a students’ union…

When I approach prospective candidates about a students’ union management position, I’m often met with a slightly baffled response from those outside the sector.  Some express initial hesitation, others more tentative intrigue.  Across the board, I’m struck that many are unaware of the high impact career opportunities found in these increasingly professionalised, student-focused charities. The ‘traditional’ perception of the students’ union as keeper of the campus bar and social space no longer cuts the mustard.  Students’ unions now deliver across a broad spectrum of services that may include: sports and societies; advice and support; campaigning and representation; employability; health and fitness; restaurants, bars and clubs; and a raft of other membership and commercial services.  Each students’ union offers its own unique blend of services as directed by its members. Raised University fees have led to increasingly cost conscious students looking for good value throughout their time at University, and the modern students’ union plays a critical role alongside higher education institutions in delivering a meaningful ‘student experience.’  New schemes like the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), which documents both academic and extra-curricular University achievements for graduates, further cement the students’ union role as key vehicle for students to acquire new […]
25th March 2013

HR Leaders in Local Government Forum – 10th April at The Guardian, London N1

Peridot Partners are bringing together senior HR people in local government to hear from inspirational speakers and gain perspectives on what is happening at the cutting edge both inside and outside of local government.  This is a free to attend opportunity to network with appropriately senior peers and to share ideas, challenges and good practice. It has been predicted that the £82bn a year spend on outsourced services may rise to £140bn by 2014, meaning that more than half of the annual £236bn public service budget will be spent on independent providers.  So what are the implications for HR strategy, HR delivery and people working in local government as a whole? Our first Forum seeks to discuss HR outsourcing and the challenges of employee engagement in organisations going through sustained periods of change and uncertainty. The Forum will be held on the morning of April 10th at the HQ of The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU (next to Kings Cross Station). The Forum will be held every 6 months thereafter. The agenda for the first Forum is as follows: 9:00:    Arrive for coffee and networking 9:30:    Introduction by Peridot Partners 9:40:    ‘HR Outsourcing: avoiding the pitfalls and making it […]
7th March 2013

My first week at Peridot Partners by Alison Nimmo

Up until a week ago I’d been working in traditional recruitment businesses for 9 years placing locums into the qualified social care market.  Whilst I built up a large network, and met some amazing people, many of whom I got to know personally as friends, I was frustrated with the numbers led approach to recruitment that restricted the time and ultimately the quality of what I could deliver to my clients and candidates.  I have been very successful from a financial perspective, but it started to dawn on me that I wasn’t adding any real value to the sector, or to my career, as I’d been conditioned to think about recruitment in terms of profit, margin and ultimately company gain. I joined Peridot Partners because the approach was so different to anything that I’d ever seen or heard of before.  It was refreshing to find out that both of my directors were Trustees of charities – I can’t think of any other consultancy where that’s the case.  When you walk into the office, the atmosphere is fun, but more mature than any other recruitment firm I’ve worked at before.  Everyone here seems to enjoy what they do and the whole […]
1st March 2013

A more commercial voluntary sector is a positive aspiration, says Philippa Fabry

The Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling has told MPs that the voluntary sector is not commercial enough in its approach to delivering public sector contracts and charities need to be more ‘commercially savvy’ to ensure they can viably bid in the governments new plans to contract out probation services. I can already hear some charities groaning at the prospect, but others have recognised the need to  modernise and adapt – and are successfully doing so,   to more effectively compete and bid for contracts in competition and partnership with both private and voluntary sector providers. And underpinning all of this they are creating a sense of accountability across the whole team and a ‘glass half full culture’, focusing on what can be done rather than what can’t. One of the catalysts for change is to introduce more commercially minded senior operations and business development professionals to stimulate new ways of working and drive greater performance, accountability and an enterprising spirit within their organisations. And if recruited and selected carefully,  balancing both commercial skills and acumen with the right values and motivation,  they can make a real difference. Peridot Partners have recently supported a number of charities, both large and […]
22nd February 2013

What does a high performing 21st century Trustee board look like?

The role of a board (corporate or charity) changed throughout much of the second half of the 20th century. Non-executive Directors and Trustees are becoming more independent, demanding higher performance both of the staff team and of themselves, and boards are less like social clubs and evolving into more professional performance focused entities. With this change came recognition that, more than ever, board members, whether Trustee or Non-Executive Director, had a responsibility to be more accountable. This accountability not only applied to their organisation’s performance, but also their own contributions and that of the board as a whole. In the 21st century the Trustee Board is no longer purely about compliance, managing risk and monitoring finances. Yes, governance plays a large part of what a board should do, but modern Trustees should come together united by the common goal of organisational success – making sure the organisation achieves and exceeds its objectives – not just playing the role of distant overseer. It is not just what a modern board does that has changed, but also how it does it. Turning up to meetings is part of the role, but that is not nearly enough. Modern Trustees are expected to be […]