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  • Writer's pictureCharity Chat Podcast

E147 - The Future of Fundraising with Ikhlaq Hussain, Richard Lee and Nick Billingham

“The pandemic has made us actualise and realise the human side as well, managing our teams during these difficult times.”- Ikhlaq Hussain

In this episode, we speak with Ikhlaq Hussain, Head of Philanthropy and Partnerships at Orphans in Need, Richard Lee, Director of Fundraising at Crisis, and Nick Billingham, Managing Director at Charity People.

We discuss their journey in the charity sector and what motivates them, the impact of the pandemic, how organisations can support and look after colleagues with their mental health and emotional wellbeing and what actions organisations need to take to achieve genuine Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) within workplaces.

1. Impact of the pandemic

Richard Lee shared that Crisis has been working at the same pace as before pandemic. Before the pandemic they were a face-to-face service, so their provision has become much more digital. The Christmas service provision used to be about getting people into one space however there are many people who want to engage digitally. Richard believes the organisation is now braver in trying new things. The pandemic has given them the motivation to take risks and change work patterns.

Ikhlaq shared that during the pandemic Orphans in Need has faced challenges, but in some countries didn’t have any regional lockdowns so didn’t have the same difficulties in reaching beneficiaries. As an organisation they have also learned how to be braver at trying new things. Orphans in Need have had a phenomenal response to digital fundraising during Ramadan, so taking risks for the sake of your beneficiaries has been beneficial. They have learned a lot from remote fundraising during Ramadan.

Nick said that from what he has seen, and the many charities Charity People have worked with throughout the pandemic, there are many inspirational stories. He highlighted the British Exploring Society as one example of a charity who has adapted very well to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

2. Looking after colleagues

Nick made the point that a survey that Charity People and Charity Comms worked together on was that 34% of the 500+ respondents felt that their job was negatively impacting on their mental health. And that we must acknowledge that we are living in a mental health crisis, and that leaders need to realise that and put plans into place to support their colleagues.

Orphans in Need have been practicing more empathy during the pandemic. Another learning has been a shift in mindset, not everyone needs to work 9-5. The organisation has become flexible in expectations, and timelines as some colleagues are homeschooling.

Richard believes that it's no longer about a small number of people speaking out in the charity sector, but more about a wider conversation. Work is not about 9-5 anymore, but about flexibility so people can bring their best selves to work. Large corporations are also reaching out to support people during the pandemic, so this has added another element to civic support. New approaches during the pandemic had provided flexibility in how supporters engage with the cause. Checking in with pre-Covid practices is important as we move out of lockdown, such as smaller meetings, rather than cc’ing all colleagues into meetings as they already have a large workload.

Richard added that Crisis is a values-led organisation which has been reflected in their decision making. And they were able to be flexible as the situation changed over the pandemic. He feels that internally they have done well to acknowledge the challenges. In terms of furlough, they have provided full pay, which has given people certainty during uncertain times. Internally, Crisis gave staff the time and space to adapt to new technology. Richard also made the point that among the staff at Crisis, that the kindness shown between colleagues was really powerful.

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

This episode is brought to you by our platinum sponsor Charity People.

Related episodes that you may be interested in:

E87: COVID-19 and its impact on BAME communities with CharitySoWhite

E75: Culture Change with James Atkins

E58: Monitoring & Evaluation with Regine Skarubowiz


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