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March 13, 2017

Northern powerhouse

Introducing our new regional specialists, Ellen Drummond and Amelia Lee.

We've got you covered.

This blog started off as an opportunity to introduce myself and Ellen Drummond as the friendly new faces of Charity People in 'the regions', as seems to be the fond universal term for everything and anything existing outside the bright lights of the Big Smoke.  It got me thinking about what is really important and unique about regional recruitment, specifically within third sector fundraising and development, and of course, it all came back to relationships.  

Relationships - whether they be with beneficiaries, supporters, donors, or the wider public - are what the third sector is built upon and also, crucially, what it does incredibly well.   Although myself and Ellen come from different (and previously competing!) regional recruitment backgrounds, what we have in common is that we are both relationship-led recruiters who pride ourselves on spending time getting to know both our candidates and the organisations we work with.  

We often make the comparison between recruitment and fundraising when it comes to building relationships.  A good recruitment process should identify candidates with all the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to do the job (as per a 'tick-boxing exercise' against a job description and person specification), but it should also consider softer skills and personality fit.  Any recruiter worth their salt should be able to determine and clarify through interview and referencing whether someone has brought in six-figures from major donors for a capital appeal, or recruited and managed up to ten regional fundraising groups.  Where a recruiter can add real value, for both the candidate and organisation, is by building a significant relationship on both sides and thus, having a genuine impact on the recruitment process by making the best possible match between the two.  

We try wherever possible to get to know our candidates in person over a coffee.  Having those warm and friendly informal meetings makes all the difference in finding not just the right role, but also the right organisation.  You can only do this if you are out and about regularly, ensuring you know and understand the fundraising landscape unique to each region, as well as the local geography.  

This is also true of the insight, information and finer detail you can offer candidates about an organisation if you are able to build a meaningful relationship with them.  I am writing this on the train back from a fantastic meeting in North Wales with the Artistic Director, Executive Director and wider team at Theatr Clwyd, for whom I am currently recruiting a Development Director.  I was taken on a terrific tour of the building including their three wonderful performance spaces and had the chance to nosey around the backstage areas where the magic happens.  I took the opportunity to ask lots of questions about the culture, their team, current fundraising, the exciting upcoming capital project and I now feel fully prepared to feed that back to my candidates.  

It is so much more of a genuine and honest process to be able to speak enthusiastically and meaningfully about an organisation that you have first-hand experience and knowledge of.  Our job is to bring an organisation to life for our candidates and help them to imagine how they might become part of the work it does; it is so much easier to do that by first building that at all important relationship.  We are so often told that people buy people: it is our job to help candidates buy into a charity's people, as well as its cause, and vice versa. 

In the same way that fundraising is so much better and more successful when you know your beneficiaries and donors inside out, so is recruitment when you take the time to get to know your candidates and clients. Our approach is always to meet as many people as we possibly can (with the help of Skype and the understanding that people are busy and we may have to be creative!).  This is why Charity People have put so much emphasis on having regional bases from which to operate for our exciting new venture into the regions: myself here in Manchester and Ellen up in Newcastle.  Of course (as Regional Community Fundraisers will know all too well, or indeed any fundraiser whose donors don't live on their doorstep) meeting people is an on-going challenge, but it is one that we continue to meet head on wherever we can.  

Meeting fundraisers (whether candidates or recruiting managers) is the lifeblood for a recruitment consultant in order to gain valuable knowledge and insight into the sector, which should complement your own independent research, reading and attendance at relevant seminars and conferences.  Fundraisers are the beating heart of a charity - without you the third sector simply wouldn't exist and couldn't survive - and it is absolutely vital that your recruitment partner is completely immersed in your world.   To do this, we need to be on the ground with you finding out what makes you tick and what you think about developments and changes in the fundraising landscape both nationally and regionally. 

So, to get to the point, please can we come along and meet you?  Either as a candidate - or you and your team as an organisation - wherever and whenever we possibly can.  

If you are looking for a regional recruitment partner, we've now got you covered.  And the coffee is always on us! 


Amelia Lee  0161 8508916
Covering West: 
England (North West, West Mids and South West) and Wales

Ellen Drummond  0191 4326506
Covering East:
England (North East, Yorkshire, East Mids and South East) and Scotland

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