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November 15, 2017

Marie Turnbull Interview

Marie has worked in fundraising for 15 years. Here she shares her thoughts on leadership.

Marie has worked in fundraising for 15 years, including stints at three cancer charities, Macmillan, Clatterbridge and now Maggie's, where she is Head of Centre Fundraising (North England & Wales), Supporter Development, Products & Events (UK). 

How do you ensure you continue to personally grow and develop in a senior leadership role?

As well as my degree, I also have professional qualifications in Fundraising, Marketing and Leadership and have attended a whole range of professional training courses over the years including a Transformational Leadership residential and a Coaching for Leaders qualification. I'm a member of the Institute of Fundraising and attended the IoF Conference again this year - I still find it incredibly useful. I've also attended the International Fundraising Convention which is an invaluable forum for the sector.

I've been fortunate enough to have had great mentors and have also mentored and coached others. I engage with fundraising networks wherever I can but as a full time working mum, I could definitely do a bit more of this!

I also think a lot of your personal growth is developed 'on the job' through working for different organisations and with different Boards and Exec teams. It's about learning from great examples, developing your approach based on what your senior leadership need from you and your teams and how they need this presented.

Who or what has been the biggest positive influence on your career and why?

Oh wow, so many people and so many moments..! Our Chief Executive, Laura, has trusted me and given me lots of opportunities in new areas which has been a great learning curve. Laura has been at the helm of Maggie's since we started 20 years ago and I have learnt a lot from her.

I've been really lucky that all my Managers have been inspirational in completely different ways, they've each taught me so much and have promoted and trusted me with more than I ever thought I was capable of, which I'm very grateful for. There are also colleagues, Directors, Chief Executives, Fundraising Consultants, board members and volunteers who have inspired me and they have cared enough to invest their time in my development.

What key qualities and attributes do you look for when you are recruiting new members of your team?

Experience is always useful! But the key to success is passion for the role (number one), being intelligent enough to learn how to make the role successful, having an engaging personality that inspires supporters and genuinely caring enough to give an exceptional level of supporter care. I also think resilience and that fundraiser optimism is so important!

What is the secret to building a loyal, happy and motivated team and what are the biggest challenges you face in doing so?

I think as a leader you have to genuinely care about the well-being, development and involvement of your team in the bigger picture. They need leadership with clear direction, support and for you to proactively listen to their invaluable views on the future direction of the organisation. Your working relationship also needs to be enjoyable and for the team to feel supported by each other as well as their Manager.

Understanding people's motivations is really important too. Everyone's motivations will be different and have an impact on the way you motivate them to be the best that they can be.

Challenges to achieving this are having enough time and resource to invest in staff as much as you would like to. There are also lots of fundraising roles out there which means there is generally lots of turnover in fundraising. Fundraising can be hard work including unsociable hours and regularly going above and beyond. This is sometimes not sustainable but I think we have this balance right at Maggie's and staff retention and development is a key focus.

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