This is the most boring part of the blog, but if you are interested, this is why…
I started out wanting to be a field worker. I suppose it was the Africa thing that got me. I have no idea where it began. Maybe Daktari, maybe Tarzan, maybe any number of books about people living in strange and exotic places on the banks of the Congo. I suppose I never really wanted spend the school holidays building camps in the park. I wanted to be under the stars in Tanzania, listening to lions roaring in the night – all a long way from Lewisham.
This eventually ended up with me studying development studies at UEA where I received some sensible advice from someone who knew me better than I did myself and, as a result, I decided to get into charity marketing. After studying management science at Manchester, I got my first job at ActionAid, where for the next two years I learnt the fundamentals of why people give, much of it under the tutelage of Chris Roles. I count myself very lucky to have had the chance to cut my teeth at ActionAid.
I was always tempted by the agency world and decided to spend a couple of years on the other side of the fence. I left ActionAid and spent precisely 6 weeks doing one of the hardest jobs in the world – being an account handler. Realising I was never going to enjoy promoting credit cards and airlines, I jumped ship and spent the next 8 years at YMCA England. Another massive piece of luck! The YMCA was a sleeping giant where, under the guidance of some great bosses, Charles Donnington and Nick Nightingale, I was given the chance to experiment. With only around 8,500 decent donors, I set about building a massive base of supporters. I was very lucky to work with some great agency minds. People like Andy Blackford and Shaun Mcllrath shaped my thinking about creativity. But I also wanted to test my own ideas and I soon began developing my own award winning creative work.
After reaching board level, I knew I was starting to do a job I didn’t want to do, so that’s when I opened Bluefrog from my back bedroom. Not many people know that it was Sue Kershaw who helped develop those early pitches and presentations that won us so much new work. She deserves the recognition and my thanks.
Other people joined and Bluefrog grew to be one of the most successful fundraising agencies in the UK. We set about developing partnerships with other great fundraisers, the longest being with Home Fundraising.
Now in our second decade, Bluefrog has been able to pause and take stock. And with fresh blood and fresh ideas we are now tackling the difficult fundraising landscape of the 21st century with some of the best minds I have ever been able to work with.
The focus on the donor continues to remain central to my core belief and this blog is a means to share results, ideas, research with anyone who wants to raise more money for the causes they care about.
And the priority for the new Bluefrog? It’s not just quality that is important to me, it’s being totally bloody amazing.