Raising standards in public fundraising and supporting fundraisers in their work

Face to Face FundraisingGovernance and Compliance
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Our new Compliance Manager reflects on his journey in fundraising

Hello, my name is Paul Brady and I’m a #ProudFundraiser.

When I started as a face-to-face fundraiser all those years ago, I wasn’t even aware I was a fundraiser! There was no mention in the job title and if it was in the job description then I must’ve missed it. There were certainly a few challenges and I got the sense that it wasn’t regarded as a particularly important job in the charity I was working for, but I loved the cause and I had a great team.

I battled through, using trial-and-error and had support from some fantastic colleagues. I eventually learned to self-reflect, analysing what worked and where I could improve. After several years and several contracts later, I think I became a good fundraiser.

In time, I gained a position where I built a fundraising team. Again, trial-and-error, support from colleagues and self-reflection were key to overcoming some big challenges. 

However, staff recruitment, inconsistent practices and increased scrutiny on charities were a thorn in my side. It was clear that more advice, support, and connections were needed.  Where should I look? I was looking for somewhere that I could get advice on fundraising, that facilitated contact with other fundraisers, offered training, conducted research, and championed the vital work that fundraisers do - then I found the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

There was all sorts of useful guidance, not least very clear and thorough rules, and frameworks for fundraising.  Once I started using these with my team the ethos began to change. Accountability, consistency and putting the customer first all came to the fore. Both staff and customer satisfaction improved, whilst donors gave more and gave for longer.

Signing up for the mystery shopping programme was another piece of the jigsaw. I always encouraged a culture of openness and honesty in my teams, the reports from mystery shopping only helped cement that. Impartial, third-party feedback became the bedrock of performance improvement and having so many positive reports meant morale skyrocketed.

Having previously been a teacher, it suddenly clicked, observation and feedback work in the classroom to drive up standards and improve performance so why not in the fundraising world?

On top of that, I was able to input into the reports and service to craft and create something that worked better for us. I knew in those times of increased scrutiny on fundraising, having ample evidence to say my fundraisers were giving a top-notch, customer focussed experience would bring reassurance to the wider world of fundraising.

Having seen the value of those services first-hand, I was delighted to start work for the Chartered Institute a few months ago and I can honestly say that I never fully understood the full breadth of their (our!) work until I joined. 

Here I’ve found a committed and talented bunch of people working hard to champion, support and connect fundraisers – and that is a cause that I can get behind!

I am now working as Compliance Manager on those very services that I used to use as a fundraiser myself and I’ve been delighted to get stuck in. We are listening to our members across the organisation and for those public fundraising charities and agencies that I am working closely with, we’ve brought back mystery shopping. We have started a brand-new compliance forum for members to learn and share, we will be refreshing some of our member resources such as the Compliance Framework, and working to champion the value of fundraising to both charities and wider audiences. With continual input and discussions with members, we want to offer a service that works for you.

If you are where I was, working as a public fundraiser, and not sure where you can go for help, support, or advice, then please get in touch at compliance@ciof.org.uk


Paul Brady
Paul Brady
Compliance Manager
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