Caron Bradshaw – Charity Finance Group Annual Fundraising Dinner Speech 2017

November 10, 2017 at 09:30

My Lords, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our annual fundraising dinner.

This continues to be a very important date in our diary, contributing significant sums to support our work with individuals, organisations and the wider social change sector.

We thank each and every one of you for continuing to make this event successful and hope you will dig deep for our raffle.

Which, as a quick reminder, is an American style raffle; with some great donated prizes. Please remember when you buy your tickets to retain one half – if you put both parts in the buckets you won’t be able to win!

2017 marks CFG’s 30th anniversary.  Tonight I am honoured that we are joined by friends who have contributed to the development of CFG’s work over the last thirty years.  Trustees past and present, staff and former staff, corporate supporters, members and a past Chief Exec.

We had hoped Shirley Scott, CFG’s first CEO, would also be able to celebrate with us, however, sadly, Shirley is too unwell to be here.  Our thoughts and best wishes are with Shirley and her husband, Nigel, during her illness.

I’d like to pay tribute to both Shirley and Keith as past CEO’s and to the many former trustees and staff here tonight.  If I can ask you to raise your glasses in a toast to the CFG team past and present.

Over the last three decades CFG has evolved from an organisation focussed on technical excellence to having a strong voice in matters related to charity finance.

I am personally proud to have been part of the chapter that has moved the narrative from one of compliance to looking at finance as an enabler.

Looking forward we have an exciting agenda for the next three years.  Our newly agreed leadership strategy will see us focusing on three areas;

Firstly we want to expand our scope – not to depart from our core purpose but rather to recognise that you can only take the conversation so far by engaging only with finance professionals.  So we will be seeking to equip all leaders with finance skills as well as continuing our focus on leadership skills for finance people.

Secondly, as a charity too, we share a common purpose with you.  We must walk the walk not just talk the talk.  We believe it is our duty to explore difficult topics and push the boundaries in areas that have tended to vex our members, like embedded risk management.  And to explore stronger, more effective leadership in the sector. Many of you will have heard Sacha Romanvitch speak inspiringly on the topic at our annual conference.

We will strive to be an exemplar of efficiency and effectiveness; sharing our learning (good and bad) with our members and playing our role in pushing the sector forward.

And thirdly whilst we have increased our voice and influence we believe we can go further.  We can make CFG the go to body for the wider social change sector when it comes to all things finance.  We will not be reticent in voicing our opinions, even when they may not be popular.

But we will always seek to base them on evidence and the public interest.  Being a critical friend to our peers and our regulator, seeking to advance the sector and not ourselves.

We will be bold, working collaboratively whenever we can but being brave enough to stand out from the crowd when we need to.

There is a metaphor that you will all be familiar with about opinions. That they are like a certain part of the body; in that we all have one.

The brilliant Tim Minchin, an Australian musical comic, built on that metaphor when he was asked to address the graduation of UWA students.  He said yes the metaphor was true – but that the two things differ significantly in one respect…that opinions should be constantly and thoroughly examined!

I agree  – opinions and positions should never be fixed and we should always be open to new points of view, acting without fear or favour.  And that is what we will do at CFG.

We believe that this leadership focus will set us up for the next thirty years and drive us towards that vision of a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy sector.

Thank you for joining us on this journey and for using your skills to change society for the better.

Thank you again to our tremendous table hosts and to our sponsors, Price Bailey and Ecclesiastical without whom this event would not be possible.

I am delighted to welcome David Britton, from Ecclesiastical, our main sponsor, to say a few words.