Why would you not want to help everyone around you be as great as they can be?
Do More Good Podcast
This is me - the real, at home, un airbrushed, stuff in the background of the selfie me - Claire Warner
entrepreneur, fundraiser, leader, embarrassing mum, forgetful wife, fierce ally, occasional potty-mouth, cancer survivor, motivated mentor, loyal friend
and much of the time, totally winging it!
I've spent the whole of my 20+ year career in the For-Good sector - I've never known any different. And what an awesome place it is to be!
From my first job in 1997 at the fantastic Halle Orchestra, where I "wasn't quite ready" for the Sponsorship Manager role I'd applied for (straight out of university!) but they liked my passion, ambition and enthusiasm and created me a trainee fundraiser role;
Via management and leadership roles in some of the region's greatest Museums, Hospices, and Arts, Caring and Sports organisations;
To my career now, working with some of the UK's largest and smallest organisations, each with the desire to allow and enable their people to be the best they can be for as long as they can keep them.
All I've ever known is working a sector committed to securing the income needed to help others to change the world.
That's no over-dramatisation, that is what fundraisers and those in the charity & for-good sectors do every single day
And I am at my best and my happiest when with these like-minded people - my #squad
My passion for fundraising began in that trainee role at The Halle. My interest originally was the music - I was a student at Chetham's School of Music - but very quickly became the fundraising, the relationships and the Ask!
I was really lucky (I didn't realise how lucky until much later) that I had in my first boss, Kath, someone who saw the potential in me and created an opportunity for me - not only did I learn from the best on the job, my formal training was also invested in - in the first 7 years of my fundraising career, in addition to the Business & Management training & learning I gained in my BA (Hons) degree at University in Hull, I also benefited hugely from in-depth training with the Management Centre; Sponsorship Consultancy, IEG and Roffey Park Institute.
For many years, my primary focus was purely great fundraising. I had no interest in managing people - they just got in the way of my income generation. I had a successful career built on nurturing relationships with donors and supporters securing £millions to support projects, appeals, campaigns and all-important day-to-day running costs in arts & heritage, caring, sports and disability charities.
But at some point at around 15 years in, I realised that my true vocation lay in management and leadership, and in supporting and nurturing the skills, experience and opportunities of my teams, to enable them to maximise their learning and success and develop their own careers
So now, with 20+ years of practitioner, manager, leader and mentor experience and training in my armoury, I've created a career based on championing the need for those also working in the sector that I love to also access the same training, support, mentoring, guidance and opportunities that I enjoyed.
I LOVE, that I am now able to measure my own success by being instrumental in nurturing the talent and careers of other amazing fundraisers and managers who are successfully changing the world and leading teams of their own.
Following a period of significant illness in 2016/17, where I had to take a year out from working all together, I now work purely as a Consultant & Mentor. And now get that same total joy when a client achieves a significant 'win' as I used to do when I was securing those wins myself.
In 2018, I founded Charity Well, an initiative focussing on the wellbeing of fundraisers and others in the charity sector.
"The Charity Well project is one of the few activities I can think of where someone has decided to draw a line in the sand and say “no more”. Rather than waiting for permission or incremental change, and having enquired and found no other current activity around the topic,
Claire took it upon herself to make a better sector for tomorrow"
Extract from Shortlisted #ChangeCollective Award nomination 2020
So, who are YOU and what has found you here?
You're the newly appointed Manager (manager by role, not necessarily by title) of one or more people and you were promoted on the basis of your practitioner prowess but have never managed anyone before and have never had any training. You're now in post, and everyone is expecting you to magically be as amazing a manager as you were a subject specialist. And that terrifies you
You're a small team Manager and have been in post for a number of years and have learned what you know about management from examples (good and bad) you've experienced yourself, but have never had any formal training. You get by with the managing, alongside your own operational responsibilities, but there are areas you avoid: confrontation, feedback, poor performance etc and you're worried one day you, sooner rather than later, you may need to learn these skills and fast
You've read or at least heard about the headline findings of my wellbeing research, want to take a proactive approach to your organisational response and have identified that a bespoke management training
refresher project for everyone with line management responsibility would be useful and timely, especially with the new world order emerging post Covid-19 lockdown
You're the leader of a team, worried about losing that amazing "bright young thing" who has been working with you for a couple of years but who didn't have the skills or experience for the internal promotion you've just had to offer to someone externally. You know with coaching and mentoring the internal candidate would hands-down have been the better fit but you don't have time to add that coaching and mentoring to your already monumental workload
You're the bright young thing, from the example above, gutted about losing-out on the role and wondering how to get the skills and experience you need to get the next role while working in an organisation that isn't set up for development opportunities
You have just secured your dream role, the one you know is going to be pivotal to the rest of your career. It's a stretch role - everyone knows that and you're determined to make it work. But your inner critic won't shut up - s/he keeps reminding you of the bits that aren't yet in your comfort zone, not the many that most definitely are. You need to nail this first few months whilst not over-delivering and setting yourself up for burn-out, overwhelm and fear of failure
You're Head of Fundraising in a charity you love but sometimes your role feels a lonely place. Your CEO tries to be supportive but doesn't really 'get' Fundraising. Your colleagues are a mixed bag - some get it and others blatantly don't. What you really need is regular support and camaraderie with a small group of others who live the same struggles as you: who understand what you want to do with Stuart in Finance's triplicate carbon paper order book; who know just what you want to say to Andy in the outreach team who is telling clients' families they "don't want to be pestered by Fundraising do they" when filling in the GDPR consents; and who fear for Trustee Janet's life when she suggests just asking the rich footballer who lives on her street to fill the £six-figure shortfall
You're a Senior Leader in a charity where you just can't crack something about the culture - despite numerous attempts, the divide between departments / sites / locations just isn't being bridged and whilst not exactly toxic, there certainly isn't yet the One Team culture you crave
You're a super-committed passionate fundraiser or other charity sector professional and are struggling: with life, with work pressures; with a particular individual or set of circumstances; or with a cumulation of a number of these. You're not used to not coping and it is only in reading these words that you've admitted it to yourself. You know you need to make some changes or do things differently but you don't know where to start and don't want to admit to anyone else that you need help. You're possibly not yet in full-blown overwhelm, but you recognise that is your current direction of travel
You're the Director of Income Generation (or equivalent) in a large charity where you have multiple reports, each of whom have multiple reports. You would like to be able to provide additional support to your direct reports to, in turn, help them support their staff during these unstable and uncertain Covid-19 related times but you have no capacity to do so yourself (and, deep down, you're feeling a little lost and a little uncertain too but you don't want to admit that to yourself, let alone anyone else!)
You're the CEO of a well-established local or regional £2m - £8m charity NOT based in a the Capital. You struggle to recruit staff with the skills and experience you need at the salary you are able to offer. Your staff turnover is higher than you'd like and you're struggling to see how you can make the strategic shifts and step-change you seek within the structure and the resources you have at your disposal and you'd like to reimagine the structure by which your organisation can deliver its mission
You're a proactive leader, already with organisational culture and wellbeing on your mind and on your agenda but are always keen to know what more could be done and what impact further small changes could have
You recognised a bit of yourself in more than one of these examples and are looking for an impartial professional to use as a short-term sounding board and mentor to help you through a specific period or challenge
You're a Senior Exec or Trustee of a charity and would like to formalise a system by which you can gauge what the feeling across your organisation is in relation to wellbeing, culture, management, leadership and staff morale and having done so, know what changes and additions to make to your current staff care manifesto and practices
You're a member of SLT or SMT (possibly even a CEO or Chair) and have recognised a need for some SLT and/or Trustee training and up-skilling around organisational / wellbeing / fundraising culture and would like someone with experience and research knowledge to work with you
You're a fairly new in post CEO, SLT or Trustee and as part of your discovery and learning process, would like an impartial review of the fundraising / comms / management function within the organisation
You're not really any of the above but have seen or heard about me, my mentoring, my consultancy and project work and just want to find out a bit more about how I could help you and/or your organisation
"Coming together is a beginning,
staying together is progress,
and working together is success"
What do you want to challenge / change / achieve yourself and for your organisation, and how can I help you?
I work with individuals and organisations in a few different ways:
I am a trained Mentor and work with individuals who want support, accountability and/or guidance through either a particular change or challenge and those who want regular ongoing external perspective.
My Coaching work is similar, although I'm usually engaged by the organisation rather than the individual, and I help people up-level into new or stretch roles.
This enables organisations to retain amazing people and support & train them on-the-job into roles they're not yet quite ready for. And increasingly, more and more of my coaching work comes from providing management coaching and training to those moving into their first management roles and for those who've been managing for some time but never received any formal training.
The Consultancy work I've become known for covers a variety of project areas, all mainly covered under the Fundraising, Management and Organisational Culture umbrellas. I've under taken Management Team reviews for Trustees; I've written People Strategies for organisations wanting to up their focus on and commitment to their staff; I've undertaken organisation wellbeing research and projects; I've done succession planning; I've led fundraising culture and organisation culture projects; I've facilitated away-days. And throughout, I've championed my mantra - People before Policy
I also have some off-the-shelf and customisable products and Training courses, specifically designed for those in Fundraising and Charity Management & Leadership, which you can explore here
Increasingly over the last 2 or 3 years, I've also taken on more speaking engagements, now regularly being asked to talk about charity and fundraiser wellbeing, and (totally differently!) about living with and after Breast Cancer (and the Facebook post that resulted in multiple national tv and newspaper interview requests)
And finally, there's my sector wellbeing initiative, Charity Well and my ongoing work to improve the wellbeing of all those working in the charity sector. My initial research study in 2019, secured the views and opinions of 700+ fundraisers and was shortlisted for an Institute of Fundraising Award in 2020. The headline findings of the study were featured in the June 2020 edition of Civil Society's Fundraising Magazine. My work with organisations on culture and wellbeing is based on my 20+year career experience; on the research I've undertaken into the links between productivity, performance and wellbeing; and on the 700+ strong voices within our independent study
In response to some of the issues highlighted in the research, I created Shine the popular, free 5-day wellbeing challenge for charity sector professionals, which is run quarterly. Sign-up to wait list for the next challenge here
I also have gained a number of wellbeing-focussed clients to my mentoring / coaching and consulting projects
There is much more work and campaigning planned under the Charity Well umbrella, keep checking back to find out our latest plans
Ready to find out more?
If you like what you've read so far, or it has at least piqued your interest, you can either read more about my Mentoring & Coaching, my Consultancy work or the Charity Well initiative & research on their corresponding linked pages, or you can fast-track that and we can have a chat
Click on the link, book a time and date that's convenient for you, answer a few questions that will help me prepare for our chat, and then 5 minutes before our call, grab yourself a cuppa (I certainly will) and lets see what might be possible