Stepping into the breach: Annette Fettes talks about Interim Management and working with Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants
Siân Newton, accredited Craigmyle Fundraising Consultant, has spent the last nine months boosting the fundraising capability of St Andrew’s Club in Westminster.
Established over 150 years ago, St Andrew’s Club is a community-based youth club which enriches young lives by providing a sense of belonging, fun and informal education to around 700 members each year, aged five to adulthood. Members develop educationally, socially and personally through an exciting and remarkably wide range of sport, art, excursions and practical skills. During the pandemic the Club has introduced many virtual activities online and they have lots of exciting plans for this coming year once restrictions lift, including a long-awaited members’ residential.
Annette Fettes is the Chief Executive Officer at St Andrew’s Club. Formerly the Development Director, she knows first-hand the importance of fundraising in the life and delivery of a charity. Wendy Foreman caught up with Annette this week to ask about her experiences of working with Siân.
How did you come across Craigmyle Consultants?
At the end of last April, we unexpectedly found ourselves without a fulltime Fundraising Officer and we turned to Craigmyle Consultants to step into the breach. Siân, was able to mobilise quickly and has filled the gap very successfully. Craigmyle had first been involved with St Andrew’s Club about 12 years ago when we were in the early stages of becoming a self-supporting charity and one of our longstanding supporters introduced us to Gill Moody, also from Craigmyle.
What was Siân’s role?
There have been three strands to Siân’s role:
• Interim management of ongoing fundraising, including the writing and organisation of bids and applications ensuring all deadlines are met and other opportunities identified
• Helping with the recruitment of a fulltime Head of Fundraising
• Laying the foundations for the Club’s planned capital project – a roof development project that will enhance sustainability through income generation as well as improved facilities.
What were you looking for in a fundraising consultant?
I was looking for someone who had the ability to hit the ground running and slotted in with us easily as if they were a member of the small staff team. Siân was introduced to everyone in week one and then she just took forward any report or application required and liaised with various colleagues, confirming facts and figures etc. I would then approve all applications which would be sent off with a personal note from myself which Siân drafted.
Has working with Siân met your expectations?
Siân’s contribution has been reassuring and was priceless. She has made the process as easy as it could be without being a full-time member of staff. She kept entirely on top of all the deadlines and even submitted an application in her first week. Our return on investment has been good at 1:6 at the end of December – and she is also a delight to work with.
On this occasion Siân’s work has been focused on fundraising applications as over 60% of our income comes from fundraising from trusts and livery companies. Some of it is quite light touch but it is about ensuring that all their requirements are met and we have not let anyone down. Keeping in touch with our long-term funders has been even more important during the pandemic to ensure they recognise how we are adapting our services.
Are you more confident in moving forward with your fundraising?
I am feeling confident and we are in a better position than if Siân hadn’t worked with us over this period. We would have had a six-month hiatus in fundraising and we might have been unable to meet some of our commitments, but that has not happened. At the end of August (our year-end) we were above target and had built our reserves, which was one of our objectives last year. This was also due of course to our amazing supporters and funders.
We have now successfully recruited a new Head of Fundraising who started at the beginning of January and has/had a one-month handover with Siân. This fills me with great confidence as it is ensuring a seamless transition. In fact, that happened when Siân first started with St Andrew’s and now as she hands over, I feel happy that the transition is being managed extremely well.
Did working with Siân make your life easier?
Yes, it has provided me with reassurance. Siân is logical and systematic. She asks insightful and pertinent, sometimes challenging questions about outcomes and has refined our narrative. This is still a work in progress as we are enhancing our theory of change and requirements for evaluation continually improve across the sector.
She is super flexible and works with each member of the team in the way that suits that person best whether it be by phone, email, zoom etc. She’s also great fun.
In a few words how would you describe Siân’s approach?
Proactive, reliable, prompt, and tenacious in the nicest possible way.
Has the pandemic had an impact on your fundraising?
Not a negative impact in terms of fundraising because we were able to keep going and applying to our regular funders. We usually have a number of fundraising events each year. These were cancelled, but at the same time by working with Siân we were able to submit other new applications, for example, a successful application to the Childhood Trust, Champions for Children provided £20,000 towards our core work with vulnerable children. We also actually spent less as the Club itself was closed from time to time during Lockdowns. We continue to deliver a virtual service, keep in contact with members and their families via check in phone calls, deliver activity and food packs and have physical 1:1 engagement with vulnerable members at the Club. We hope to reopen as soon as restrictions are lifted.
Do you think Craigmyle has helped you to maintain a focus on long term planning and preparation? Is there a legacy from working with Siân?
We’re still focused on our longer-term plans and capital project. As the plans for the upper levels take shape, we have Siân’s research and fundraising recommendations to draw upon and we are in a good position to reach out to new funders and the wider community. It’s great that Siân now knows us so well and is part of the team, which is all the better for the next stage of our development project.
What next for St Andrew’s Club in 2021?
We are hoping to get back to face to face meetings again with groups of members when the Lockdown eases, so we can again provide our children and young people with much-needed social interaction and the opportunity to express themselves. We want the young people to be able to enjoy the building and their space with impromptu music sessions, a game of pool or just somewhere to chill out. While we have provided a whole range of virtual activities, in usual times we are keen to provide alternatives to devices and screens. We have a number of residential events and activities planned which are important for team building and self-expression and provide the opportunity for members to grow and get to the great outdoors.
A huge thank you to Annette for taking valuable time out of her busy day to share her thoughts about working with Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants. We wish Annette and all at St Andrew’s Club all the best for the future. Find out more about St Andrew’s Club.
Read more about Craigmyle Consultants and our approach.