I was an earnest child and began fundraising at the age of ten, in primary school, when I recruited two sub-editors, and edited a school newspaper and sold it in the playground for 1d.
I then set up an increasingly successful Oxfam group at secondary school.
In 1962 aged 12, I organised a jumble sale that raised £80. (£1,000 in today’s money.)
I received a personalised thank you letter from the then Director of OXFAM, H Leslie Kirkley, and hand signed. It was transformational. I still have the letter, and show it to any-one interested. (It hasn’t been beaten as a thank you. 55 years later.)
It was that that inspired me to do more; much more.
When I was 17 I led a team of school friends, between school and university, to organise “Oxfam Walk ‘69”, the biggest-ever sponsored walk.
PATHE news. Classic, and of a bygone era.
I went on to study logic at University and on leaving was head-hunted by Help the Aged leading a department that raised money in secondary schools, from ‘Big Town Walks’. In 1973, it was hard to choose this over a conventional graduate traineeship. I chose Help the Aged, because it would give me three years’ experience of management, before getting what my mother called ‘a proper job’. This was fundraising in 1973.
I joined the NSPCC as Appeals Director at 29. I continued as Appeals Director at the NSPCC until 2010 when I left to become a consultant.
I have recently been vice-chair of the Commission on the Donor Experience, an initiative aimed at transforming fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. I have now become co-founder of the Donor Experience Project, to implement the Commission’s output.
I am also a trustee and fellow of the Institute of Fundraising.
I greatly enjoy the process of thinking about donors and volunteers, and the science and art of how to inspire them to want to make a difference to the world.
I was appointed a CBE in 2011.
My interests include food, Burgundy and music.
A total fundraising strategy Where to start.
A major appeal An extraordinary opportunity, that every charity should consider.
Mentoring potential star future fundraising directors, or indeed you, if the chemistry was right.
A Particular project I am totally flexible if I have the right skills
“I still feel fortunate to be one of the many fundraisers who worked in that special, donor-focused environment Giles created at the NSPCC, which was different from anywhere else. It shaped my understanding in so many ways, not least in terms of how vital it is to get the fundamentals right in how we build relationships with donors.”
Rob Woods, Fundraising Trainer, Author and Coach, Bright Spot Fundraising