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Fundraising Director | The London Library

This is an exceptional opportunity to be the Fundraising Director at the world’s largest independent lending library, leading the fundraising activities of this eminent literary charity with an extraordinary 179-year history.

  • Location: St James' Square, London
  • Salary: c.£65,000+ and benefits

The London Library

The London Library is one of the world’s great lending libraries, with an amazing collection of over 1 million books, and an equally extraordinary 179-year history. Our magical Grade II-listed building overlooking St. James’s Square has 17 miles of open access bookshelves and beautiful spaces for members to work and study.

Founded to share knowledge and to inspire the creation of new ideas, the impact of the Library over 179 years has been substantial. It has inspired and supported writers, thinkers, scholars and artists in the creation of some of the world’s most famous books, scripts and ideas that have, in turn, touched the lives of many millions, shaping the intellectual history of the nation and the world. Just as importantly, the Library has facilitated the personal creativity and intellectual journeys of many tens of thousands of individuals who have enjoyed the collection and the spaces to study within the Library.

With an extraordinary history, a vast borrowing collection and an outstanding building, The London Library is a unique place to read, write and be inspired.  Our 7,000 members value the quality, depth, and range of our collections, as well as use of our elegant reading rooms, meeting rooms and information workspaces and facilities in our stunning building. It is a unique literary oasis in the heart of London.

About the role

The Library is a registered charity, and despite receiving no government or statutory funding, has remained self-financing throughout its history thanks to our members and the generosity of many individuals.  Some 7,000 members, including some of the most familiar names in the literary world, use the Library, and despite its wonderful collection, premises, and membership, past and present, the Library remains relatively unknown – a “hidden treasure”.

A steadily declining membership of the Library over many years threatened its future. An annual operating deficit of over £1m had developed. However, with a new Executive Team in place and Five Year Strategic Plan in place, a turnaround is well underway.

The Library’s key strategic goals are to substantially increase awareness of, access to and engagement with the Library, and to remove the annual operating deficit by the end of 2022-23, securing sustainability for future generations.

In 2018/19, membership grew for the first time in seven years. In 2019/20, that growth more than quadrupled. Young Persons Membership is growing especially fast.  We have established a successful programme of events, created new partnerships and programmes, developed new models of membership, and implemented various savings and efficiencies whilst maintaining high levels of service to our members. The annual operating deficit has already been halved to approximately £500K.

The Library is heavily dependent on membership subscriptions to fund its operations but must be supplemented by voluntary and investment income. We raise funds in a variety of different ways including our patron scheme ‘The Founders Circle’, The Library Fund, which focuses on annual appeals, legacies and grants from trusts and foundations.

Our £5m Capital Fundraising Campaign

To deliver our Strategic Plan we need to increase our fundraising and develop new ways to build our income from other sources, such as private venue hire, programmes, events, and merchandising.

One of our priorities this year is to launch a major capital fundraising campaign to finance the creation of new spaces at the Library. These spaces will help us accommodate our growing programme of events, activities, and private venue hire. We will create additional reader spaces and catered social spaces, where members can meet and work informally.

Endowment Campaign

The Library is keen to create a substantial endowment in order to help secure its long term financial future. This is at a very early stage of planning but is anticipated to be a major focus after the successful completion of the building development project.

Working closely with the Director and with Sir Howard Davies, Chair of the Board and Chair of our Development Committee, as well as other senior stakeholders, our Fundraising Director will play a critical role in making our fundraising a bigger proportion of our overall income and helping to deliver our Strategic Plan. This is an exciting and challenging role, to work with a highly valued and respected institution and to enable the Library to play an even greater role in the UK’s cultural future.

Who we're looking for

You will be a senior level charity fundraiser who brings substantial experience and a proven track-record of raising major capital and revenue donations from individuals and charitable trusts and foundations, both in the UK and overseas.

You will also have direct experience of leading a successful capital fundraising campaign of at least £5m, personal experience of cultivating major donors and of effectively delivering a wide range of profitable fundraising events, schemes, and programmes. Endowment fundraising experience would also be helpful.

This position will lead and develop a strong team of four, with the Head of Fundraising as a direct line report. The Fundraising Director will focus on the development and implementation of the fundraising strategy for revenue fundraising and the strategy for delivering the capital campaign.

There is a requirement to have excellent management skills, and also appropriate financial acumen.

You will have outstanding experience of maximising the potential of a CRM system/fundraising database with a thorough understanding of GDPR, and other relevant legislation, regulations, and guidelines for fundraising. A detailed knowledge of tax effective giving in UK and US would be helpful.

This is an exciting and challenging role, requiring high standards of leadership, management, collaboration, and relationship building skills. The position reports into the Director of the Library but will also work closely with Sir Howard Davies, Chair of the Board and Chair of the Development Committee, together with other senior stakeholders.

To arrange a confidential chat, please contact our executive search advisers at Peridot Partners:

Simon Callaghan | 07702 678 658 | simon@peridotpartners.co.uk

Liz Holderness | 07872 031079 | liz@peridotpartners.co.uk

Closing date: 9am, Monday 15th June 2020

Peridot's Director of Fundraising with Simon Callaghan

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Simon Callaghan

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Dear Candidate

“The desire to know more, the desire to feel more, and, accompanying these but not strangling them, the desire to help others: here, briefly, is the human aim, and the Library exists to further it.”
E.M. Forster on The London Library, to celebrate its centenary in May 1941  

Thank you for your interest in The London Library and the position of Fundraising Director. The Library exists to inspire and supports creativity, scholarship, and cultural enrichment. We have an unparalleled lending collection, tremendous online resources and a wonderful range of study spaces located in a magnificent listed building in St James’s Square, London.

This is an exciting time to join The London Library as we deliver our 2018/19-2022/23 strategic plan, “New Foundations”. We are aiming to make the Library much more widely known and used and, at the same time, secure its financial future.

By 2023, we want to be sharing our incredible collection and all the other benefits of the Library with as many people as possible, whether they be using the Library premises, accessing our collections by post or online, attending our events (in person or digitally) or simply benefitting from the incredible creative output of our members. This will be crucial in establishing a sustainable operating model for the Library and ensuring the Library continues to inspire and support many future generations of readers, writers and thinkers.

The Fundraising Director will have a vital part to play in developing and leading the implementation of initiatives that will deliver our goals. We are keen to take our revenue fundraising to new levels, giving us a reliable and sustainable annual income from fundraising that will help underpin our operations. At the same time, we shall be fundraising for a c.£5m building project to develop some of the Library’s existing spaces.

These new spaces will improve the members’ facilities but also provide much more scope for programming events that will enable the Library to reach much wider audiences. Finally, we will aim to build an endowment to provide long-term financial security. The Fundraising Director will be leading the Library’s work in all these areas.

The London Library is an exceptional and much-loved place with an incredible history and exciting future. If you are excited by the challenge of leading our fundraising efforts, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Please continue through this recruitment site and contact Peridot Partners to discuss the opportunity in more detail. I look forward to meeting with you at interview stage.

Philip Marshall
Director, The London Library

About The London Library

The London Library, founded in 1841, has played a significant role in the intellectual life of the nation for over 179 years. It is a registered charity incorporated by Royal Charter. Its charitable object is the advancement of education, learning and knowledge by the provision and maintenance of a Library in London.

The Patron, President and Vice-Presidents are all vital and much-valued ambassadors for the Library. Her Majesty The Queen is our Patron and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall our Vice Patron. Sir Tim Rice is our President. The Library is governed by between 12 and 16 trustees, elected by members and our current Chair is Sir Howard Davies.

The Library is based in St. James’s Square, London and we receive almost all our funding through our membership and fundraising income. Membership is open to all and we aim to make our collections, services, and facilities available to all. It costs around £4m to operate the Library with 67 full and part-time staff. Our current membership is c.7,000 and we aim to increase this to 8,500 by 2023.

Highlights during 2018-2019

During the year we launched our new Strategic Plan “New Foundations” 2018/19 to 2022/23 and initiated a number of new objectives. These led to our first year on year growth in membership since 2012 and delivered a reduction in our operating deficit. We also benefitted from generous support from donors and welcomed new members to our Founders’ Circle. We had a very strong response to our Windows Appeal, enabling essential restoration work to be completed and to create new desk space for members.

Dracula – in October 2018, a number of original source books that Bram Stoker used to source his masterpiece, Dracula, were discovered. The story received worldwide media attention and was covered widely in the UK media. We also hosted a six-week run of a theatre production of Dracula, which was sold out throughout the run and attended by over 1,600 people.

Developing The Collection – we added new material, acquired 5,600 new books, and made major additions to online resources, involving digitally scanning millions of pages from historical archives, books and newspapers.

Events – we ran a number of ticketed events in the Library during the year featuring prominent historians and prize-winning authors and developed several external partnerships to raise our profile.

Emerging Writers Programme – in May 2019, we invited 38 emerging writers to this new programme, an important initiative to support writers at the start of their careers. The programme received over 600 applications.

The Library’s Strategic Plan 2018/19 to 2022/23 – New Foundations

Our strategic plan was launched in 2018 with two key goals:

  1. Substantially increase awareness of, access to and engagement with the Library (increasing its reach and impact)
  2. Remove the annual operating deficit by the end of 2022/23 (placing the Library on a sustainable financial footing for future generations by funding the Library’s operations from membership, investment, and revenue fundraising income)

Eight key objectives were set to achieve these goals:

  1. Raise public profile
  2. Create new ways to access and engage with the Library
  3. Deliver new spaces at the Library
  4. New model for library collection
  5. Increase revenue fundraising
  6. Launch a major appeal to ‘re-found’ the library
  7. Develop new ways to increase income from other sources
  8. Restrict cost increase

To access a full job description and application details,
please fill out the form below.


To arrange a confidential chat, please contact our executive search advisers at Peridot Partners:

Simon Callaghan | 07702 678 658 | simon@peridotpartners.co.uk

Liz Holderness | 07872 031079 | liz@peridotpartners.co.uk

To apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (the supporting statement should be a maximum of two sides of A4) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role by addressing the criteria focused on experience within the person specification, and giving clear examples to support your experience. Please ensure that you also explain your motivation for applying within your supporting statement.

Please will you email your documents in word format and ensure you attach your CV and supporting statement.

Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Fundraising Director, The London Library” into the subject field.

We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applicants from all sections of the community.

Disabled applicants are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the job, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.


Closing date: 9am, Monday 15th June 2020
Preliminary interviews: w/c Monday 22nd June 2020
Final interviews: w/c Monday 29th June 2020

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

Peridot and The London Library are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We would therefore be most grateful if you would complete equality monitoring form.

The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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