Introducing our new Director
One month in to his role, our new Director Christopher Walker reveals what attracted him to the position, and shares his own take on the charity's future priorities.
Eighteen years in fundraising, 11 of them in management, have given Chris a clear understanding of how to succeed in an increasingly crowded marketplace and are proof of his commitment to the idea of charity per se.
Chris doesn’t need prompting when asked what attracted him to INTO Giving. “It is a small, almost family-style charity that wants to grow over the next few years - just like the mental health charity YoungMinds – my previous employer. In fact, the parallels between the two are really quite uncanny. Taking something that is under £100,000 and wanting to grow it to in excess of half a million, if not a million, over a short period of time is ambitious, but I like that,” he says.
He is also passionate about working for a charity that enables children in some of the poorest countries to attend and benefit from schooling, as he feels that education is the only enduring way to effect change in any society. “Having grown up in an academic household, I identified immediately with INTO Giving’s mission about everyone having access to education despite coming from poor situations.”
The seven projects that are currently supported by INTO Giving are just the start, he says. He would like to grow the numbers of projects through partnering with, and fundraising for, small charities on the ground in those countries where education – let alone high-quality education – is very far from a given for children.
“Long-term, I would also like to see us running our own projects, either starting them from scratch or by taking over existing ailing projects that need our help. I would also like to see any of our projects, whether we’re supporting them financially or actually running them, to become self-sustaining, or to hand them over to an external source to run – like the Poonsab Mercy School project in Bangkok, which was taken over by the state - a wonderful outcome.”
“Some projects will need our help year on year before they’re self-sustaining; ideally you want to make them as independent as they can possibly be before too long.''
Communication, too, will be key to raising funds, he says: “We need to continue to make sure that everyone’s efforts for INTO Giving – no matter if it’s a quick, one-off donation, or a fiver a month or a big event or road race – are appreciated, and that they feel like the philanthropists they are. We also need to keep everyone informed about our work through face-to-face contact and written and social media.”
Key to all the above is to come up with what the marketing wizards dub the charity’s USP – or unique selling point. So, just a few days in to the job, what does he see as INTO Giving’s? “It’s the fact that, due to being supported by INTO University Partnerships, every penny raised goes to the projects – unlike at larger charities where a lot of money is spent on advertising and bureaucracy. Every penny and pound counts with us. And, all funds raised by INTO staff and students are matched by Andrew Colin, INTO's Founder and Owner, meaning that every £1 we donate or raise is really worth £2.” says Chris.
“Of course, my view of what INTO Giving should be doing, and where we are heading, will evolve,” he says. “If you have ideas about INTO Giving – it could be now, it could be next month or sometime next year – I hope you’ll please get in touch. But even as things do evolve and grow, my commitment to communication certainly won’t and, no matter what, I promise to keep everyone informed of how INTO Giving is helping children worldwide – so watch this space!”