It’s all too easy to forget the historical importance of philanthropy and its impact on the present day. When I was at university, I realised I was the beneficiary of many previous generations of philanthropists, which made me determined to contribute myself.
Many of the institutions and opportunities we take for granted today simply won’t exist in the future unless we are prepared to give in our turn.
I studied engineering at Oxford and practised for five years before doing an MBA and going into consultancy. After that, I joined a multi-national industrial company. Since then, I have been taken over and been part of a buy-out, followed by a flotation… and another take-over. Today, I’m Chairman of a number of companies alongside my charity and advisory work.
The skills I bring to More
I certainly wouldn’t position myself as a fundraising expert. Most obviously, I offer strategic experience and my perspective that business is all about organising resources effectively. Having said that, More Partnership is a small group of highly intelligent people with a strong value system and “esprit de corps”, so the firm is in a very strong position to succeed.
Other organisations I work with
Why I work with More
I believe that charities can benefit greatly from business disciplines. That’s what I offer the charities and institutions that I’ve worked with most closely and I believe I can provide the same benefits to others – if indirectly – through my support of More Partnership.
My philanthropic interests
I’m the chair of a child-literacy charity, Beanstalk, which I’ve encouraged to adopt business thinking to manage its branches and volunteer network. I’m also on the UK Council of INSEAD, where I did my MBA. I give to such a wide range of causes – from emerging economies to my local parish council – that it’s hard to generalise. However education and overcoming disadvantage are major themes. I believe philanthropy has both an economic and a moral component: I give to the needs that the State cannot cater to, but also in order to feel connected to society in its widest sense.
My advice to fundraisers
Don’t take it personally when you get pushed back. Asking can sometimes be a thankless job (as I’ve experienced through my own modest amateur fundraising), but you have to stay determined and believe in yourself and your cause.