About me

I’m a writer and freelance trust fundraising consultant.

My background:

I graduated from Cambridge University in 2006 with a degree in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic. After that enjoyable but rarefied experience, I wanted to experience something real world and gritty. I signed up to be a street fundraiser for Greenpeace, and lasted a year, in which time I learned a huge amount about fundraising and social activism.

I then felt the need to find an indoors job, and ended up writing tenders for an events management company. After that, I found a tender-writing job at a DJ school in Hoxton. I was made redundant after a year, which ultimately propelled me into my first trust fundraising role at St Mungo’s, the London-based homelessness charity.

I was at St Mungo’s for four years and was promoted to Trust Fundraising Manager. After a brief stint at SSAFA, the armed forces charity, I worked at Tommy’s, the pregnancy charity, for nearly four years, during which time I grew the trusts income significantly; my final role was Head of Trusts and Major Gifts. I left Tommy’s in June 2019.

Why am I sceptical?

Firstly, I don’t see “sceptical” as a negative word. The ability to examine ideas critically is healthy and important.

Secondly, I’m not sceptical about fundraising as a profession. I’m passionate about it and want to see it done well and ethically.

Thirdly, I feel that there sometimes isn’t enough scepticism in the fundraising community. We are very supportive and positive, but sometimes I think we fail to appreciate how the outside world sees us, and we can get defensive if challenged. I believe this attitude is at least partly behind some of the recent fundraising scandals.

I’m an avid reader of fundraising blogs. Most, I’ve found, are instructional, motivational or academic. These approaches are all valuable and I’ve gained a great deal from reading them. However, I felt there was a gap in the market for a blog that attempts to explore some of the challenges facing our profession – including structural challenges such as diversity – in a readable but in-depth way.

Hayley Gullen