Leading by example

Employees and volunteers will certainly contribute to how a work culture is shaped, but it is leaders that set the tone for the overarching environment, moral characteristics and identity of the organisation. So it’s essential that managers embody the behaviours and attitude that they want to see replicated across the organisation, including positivity, openness, a desire to learn, willingness to support others and a genuine commitment to the cause. 

At the same time, good leadership and governance must convey that its rules – the policies, which are developed to protect beneficiaries, supporters and employees alike – must not be broken and that the organisation will be held accountable for any such issues.


Who does what?

For CEO and trustees, this means setting the right moral tone for the organisation, ensuring it has sufficient resources, reviewing and overseeing the implementation of standards and leading by example.  

HR will be responsible for preparing and communicating the right policies and procedures, and ensuring that all line managers are fully trained and subsequently reviewed regarding their responsibilities to the staff. 

Meanwhile fundraising managers and directors must guide and support fundraisers in performing their role in line with the organisation’s values, adhering to regulations and industry standards and ensuring that policies and procedures are understood, as well as monitoring progress and supervising the overall wellbeing of staff. 

With people at the heart of any positive working culture, wellbeing should be on everybody’s radar, as important as beneficiary care and financial planning when it comes to ensuring the long-term health and future of the organisation.

Tips for leaders

• Recognise that how the organisation treats its people (employees, volunteers, trustees, beneficiaries and donors alike) will shape the organisation’s culture and how it is perceived by its target audiences.
• Celebrate success and ensure trustees understand the importance of good fundraising practice for the sustainability of the organisation.
• Consider what you can do to support fundraisers and the organisation’s ability to fundraise.
• Implement an open and honest approach that will encourage your people to share good ideas, give feedback, raise concerns and help improve what the organisation is doing, and let them know their views are valued.
• Set or approve robust but achievable policies that determine how the organisation and individuals should handle any important, sensitive or controversial issue.
• Implement rigorous reporting to monitor progress and ensure policies are adhered to.
• If concerns are raised or a breach of policy or standards is identified, act robustly and transparently, reporting any criminal acts, allegations of abuse or serious incidents to relevant statutory authorities or regulators in a timely way.
• Make sure that whistleblowing procedures are in place, that staff know what they are, and that no one will be treated unfairly if they raise such concerns
• Prioritise safeguarding as a key governance priority (in line with the Charity Commission’s recently revised safeguarding strategy), protecting your staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and more.