On meeting with Lord Grade

Amanda Bringans

Amanda Bringans | 26 July 2017

I had my first meeting with Lord Grade, Chair of the Fundraising Regulator, this week at his offices in the west end. I spent a few years working in television at the start of my career, and we share some very old friends so we had a brief chat about some memories – a good way to start.

We then reflected on the first year of the Fundraising Regulator and the excellent working relationships that our two teams have built together.

I talked to Lord Grade about how it has been to be a fundraiser over the last couple of years; the dedication and passion I’ve seen, and the huge efforts to do the right thing for your donors, to put things right when needed, and to ensure best practice is consistently upheld. 

I outlined some of the great work in the sector, and Lord Grade was quick to respond with genuine praise for the vast majority of fundraisers, who he said, are doing great work and absolutely deserve recognition for it. I asked him for more of this positive messaging in public forums to support us all, and he agreed. 

He also made clear his intention to continue to call out bad practice – which is always likely to be picked up by the press - but is keen to be supportive too. We discussed some specific ideas about how we will put that support into practice, which will hopefully happen soon.  

We also talked about some challenges with particular areas of fundraising where they have some concerns, and our joint commitment to sorting those. 

We agreed on the need for strong, effective self-regulation, and how important it is that it works and that charities support it by paying the levy (amongst other things). So I would suggest to any fundraiser whose organisation has an issue with paying the levy, whatever the reason, to approach the regulator and talk about it. 

The Regulator's frustration is that 250 charities have simply not replied or even returned their calls. So, if that's you, can you let them know? They genuinely want to hear the reasons why so they can address it. We have offered to help in whatever way we can to encourage people to sign up through our network and our regular events, and perhaps by holding joint events to discuss issues. 

Finally, we talked about the IoF strategy; how we want to represent the sector, to be the voice of fundraisers, to drive high standards and professionalism, and on our ongoing journey to chartered status, as well as our role in taking forward the Commission on the Donor Experience, all of which Lord Grade welcomed. 

All in all, it was a very constructive meeting, with much more to follow I’m sure!


Amanda Bringans, Chair of the IoF and Director of Fundraising, British Heart Foundation

Amanda brings with her an impressive track record of experience having led fundraising teams at some of the UK’s most loved and supported charities. Her previous roles include Director of Global Fundraising and Communications at VSO and 16 years working at Macmillan Cancer Support where she became Director of Fundraising.

She has also held senior roles with Leonard Cheshire Disability and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Amanda joined the British Heart Foundation as its Director of Fundraising in December 2015. 

Follow Amanda on Twitter: @AmandaBringans


Giles Pegram, Giles Pegram Ltd | 26 July 2017

Giles Pegram Cbe Hi Amanda,

As a sceptic, I am taking what you say at face value.

It sounds as if the meeting was a great success. Lord Grade was listening, not just pontificating. Really well done to you.

Of course he is going to: “make clear his intention to continue to call out bad practice.” That seems to me to be quite right. And of course that is what the media will pick up on. We couldn’t have expected anything different.

But it sounds to me that you have convinced him that, fundamentally, fundraising is a force for good. If that mind-set influences his future public pronouncements, that must be good.

(Finally, and on a personal note, thank you for mentioning the Commission on the Donor Experience. The more that people like him realise that there is a movement for change, the better.)

I hope you had a decent bottle of wine after!

The sector owes you a great deal.

Best, Giles

Nigel Readhead, MyPreferenceService | 26 July 2017

Talking about the FR Levy, "The Regulator's frustration is that 250 charities have simply not replied or even returned their calls."

Not returning calls or answering them, no names policies etc. is the modern way. But very restrictive, how many good opportunities do these companies and charities miss by "Not being available to listen"?

Those I have most respect for are the companies/charities which put you straight through to the person you ask for without even asking your name. They are the FEW now, who understand that you never know when or from where the next opportunity will come knocking.

Hugh c mccaw, Consult the Consultant Ltd | 27 July 2017

Lord Grade has spent the best part of 2 years demonising Charities and backing up his right to do so based on the lie , perpetuated across all media,, regarding the sad death of Olive Cooke. I have an outstanding complaint with the BBC about their lack of journalistic integrity and balance in a recent Today programme interview with Lord Grade.
Whilst it is admiral that this meeting resolves to bring about a more positive culture around fundraising, I still don't understand how Lord Grade and his happy band of regulators intends to advise donors that without their consent , their donations in part will be allocated to support this new quango?? Given Charities have to contact their donors to seek permission to contact them, one of the most ridiculous concepts ever to emerge and noticeable that Corporates don't have to adhere to such regulation and that the Uk stands alone on this practise.
I will never recommend that any Charity I am a Director or Trustee of should cough up donors hard earned income without their consent and I certainly wouldn't recommend Charities pay to obtain said consent. Hundreds if not thousands of Fundraisers, good people, employed directly and indirectly by Charities have lost their jobs because of the brutal knee jerk response to the false reporting on the sad passing of Olive Cook. They tarred all Fundraisers with the same brush for political reasons and should bow their heads in shame along with many CEO's who did not defend our sector.

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