Clarifying a CEO's needs and expectations

london institute of contemporary christianity (LICC)

"I found my session with David Saint extraordinarily helpful. When I’ve talked to fundraising specialists before, I’ve just felt they were putting me in a grid. With David I didn’t feel that because he listened and listened well. He got a sense of my strengths and weaknesses and a sense of the organisation. I felt the advice put to me was bespoke – appropriate to me. It was also framed around prayer, which is important to us."


LICC is a charity dedicated to helping Christians live out and share the way of Christ and make a positive contribution to the places they live, work and play. It raises funds to provide resources and training for beneficiaries at different stages of their working lives and for church leaders. LICC was familiar with the work of Action Planning, having engaged us previously to carry out some fundraising and finance work and to put together a Case for Support for a fundraising trip to the US. Although the Charity had successfully raised funds for a budget that had steadily increased every year for 17 years, the challenge of increased missional opportunities led to a desire to expand the operation and for the need for a step-change in income generation. The Head of Fundraising, Brian Ladd, and CEO, Mark Greene, felt the charity might be able to raise more money if Mark received some coaching in ‘how to make the ask’.

David Saint was asked to come and train Mark in some techniques for making more effective conversations with people who might want to support the charity.

David began with a one-hour one-to-one session with Mark, during which it became evident that the question needed to be reframed from ‘How do we make Mark better at raising money?’ to ‘How do we equip Mark so that he can ask for money more confidently and more deliberately?’ This meant looking at a much bigger picture than the skills Mark needed, to encompass a more detailed fundraising plan: How precisely do you evaluate fundraising targets? In what order would you spend the money? Do you have enough money in your base fundraising pot? Do you need to split your fundraising around your various budgets?

David prepared a set of slides and spent a further hour going through them with Mark, taking him step-by-step towards a clear, costed plan of action, which would give him more confidence in approaching potential donors and clarity in what exactly his part in the fundraising process should be.

Mark came out of the session saying he felt ‘really liberated’. He had established a clear, collegiate way forward, had identified his areas of concern and come away confident that he would never find himself fundraising for projects that he couldn’t deliver. The outcome was a clear, step-by-step plan not only for Mark but for the whole team. As a next step, Mark and Brian expressed a strong interest in having a joint fundraising session with David, together with their new MD, Richard Montgomery.

Consultant’s insight:
As is so often the case in consultancy, the question the client ‘presented with’ was not really the question that needed answering. The initial fact-finding hour with Mark was an essential step in understanding what was really needed, making it much easier to deliver the coaching session which, thankfully, seems to have hit the spot!

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