Laura Treneer

May 22, 2024, 9:00 AM

Taking the long view on Christian charity leadership

We are all aware of the pitfalls and minefields of leading a Christian charity. As one put it, it can feel like there’s a target on your back. You may have the most compelling sense of calling, powerful motivation, strong community, but there is plenty that can drive us to our knees, even if in prayer. Two recent events have delved into this in more depth.


At the HTB Leadership Conference, Anglican priest and author Nicky Gumbel spoke to the Royal Albert Hall on the need for “integrity, what you really are, rather than image, what people think you are”; on the need for perseverance and resilience (“leadership is the price you pay for achieving something in life”); and the crucial importance of passing on the baton.

Succession and legacy have been a feature for this movement in the last two years, as he spoke about Global 2033, two millennia since the first Easter, and a focus for many faith leaders including the Pope, who gave a video address to the conference.

The MD of Innocent Smoothies, Sam Akinluyi, was there as one of the panellists at a seminar on leadership of teams. He talked about building safe connections, “followership”, so that people want to work with you. “My leadership team don’t need managing. If they did, they’re not leaders,” he said.

Motivating others

This sense of joining a cause is increasingly important for young recruits to charities. At the FICO (Fundraisers in Christian Organisations) conference, new research was presented from Christian Jobs on the motivation for people to join charities as fundraisers. Some key findings:

  • When Christian fundraisers are looking for a new role, the most important things in a job advert for them are salary, mission, benefits and clear goals
  • Home-based jobs with clear progression opportunities are most likely to be popular. Two thirds will stay with you no more than three years.
  • Gen Z and younger millennials have expectations for constant growth in people culture and digital transformation. If the leader doesn’t invest in these areas the organisational environment could start to feel stagnant and a reason to move on.
  • There is a shortage of entry level jobs in fundraising, but potential to train the right people – those with the right level of self-drive, understanding of the fit and desire to perform – through conferences and mentoring.

This presentation – and the other excellent presentations on retention and resilience,– have helpfully been made available to watch here.


For Christian charity leaders, good self-leadership can create a culture where people want to stay. It can enable your team to thrive. It can enable you to recruit and retain people. If you want to leave a legacy for the long term, it starts with you.

There are ways Action Planning can help. We can listen to your team, guide you on culture and HR strategies, and help your team think about how to instil your culture and implement your long-term vision. Ultimately it’s the hidden personal work which will give you the strength for the long haul. If we can help in any way, please get in touch. In the meantime, do consider coming to our free Action Planning Hour webinar on 26th June.

You can enquire about our legacy services by emailing office@actionplanning.co.uk or calling 01737 814758.


Laura Treneer

Laura Treneer is a communications strategy consultant. She started her career as a brand manager in educational publishing, developed networks for The Prince’s Trust and is the former CEO of communications charity CPO, where she published a series of books on church communications for BRF. Recently Laura has provided research, strategy insight and training for a wide range of charities in the Christian sector.

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