Fundraised income at the RI has traditionally relied heavily on corporate supporters but there was a clear need to seek to grow income and the base of support. There was an appetite amongst Trustees and the Senior Executive to adopt clearer protocols and processes around fundraising and Fiona Kirk advised and gave practical help in a number of areas.
These included: advice on crafting the over-arching case for support that reflected the agreed Institutional vision; support and counsel on a specific solicitation and negotiation, including a suggested framework for acknowledgements; attending a number of internal meetings to increase understanding of the fundraising process and the role that all parties can play; reporting at a Trustees meeting on the steps needed to prepare for a future campaign that would include an endowment element; and, importantly acting as a mentor and sounding board for the then Head of Development, Haseena Fareed.
“Fiona’s many years of experience in the development world is both broad and detailed. She is a consummate professional who brings clarity of thought to all of the issues and challenges we discuss and is the most supportive of mentors. She is thoroughly trustworthy and deals sensitively with key personnel and volunteers. It’s always a pleasure to speak to Fiona because of the depth of her expertise and her commitment to results. Whilst always professional and thoughtful, she is also great fun to work with.” — Haseena Fareed, Head of Development
“Fiona’s inputs and thoughtful advice were tailored to the specific environment of the RI – she was a calm and professional presence whenever she was working with us and brought knowledge, understanding and experience to our table.” — Chris Rofe, then Chief Executive
Since her initial work at the RI, Fiona continued to mentor the Head of Development. Following Haseena’s departure to a new role in 2017, a Marts & Lundy affiliate took up the position of interim Development Director with Fiona staying close to the action and on-hand to advise Gail Cardew, the RI’s Director of Science and Education, as required. Fiona was on the interview panel for the appointment of a new Director of Development in 2018.
“Fiona has been the guiding hand behind our fundraising efforts for many years. She’s helped us at the strategic level during our transition from a small, new team to a larger, more experienced one. Along the way she’s helped us keep focused on the longer-term successes, while helping us move smoothly through short-term staff issues and other unexpected wobbles. I’m not sure I could have done any of this without her outstanding advice, constant support and jolly good humour.” — Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education