top of page

CHLOG: Chunterings

Ok, CHLOG may not be a word, but #YSWIDT

I wanted at least a corner of this site to be is a bit more personal and random. Some kind of micro blog? 

Every entry to start with the same initials. Not surprisingly, CH (#brandmatters). A challenge*... 

These will be occasional thoughts: the alphabet of life, but only from C to H.

We'll see if any good comes of it. Let me know what you think.

(*but a suitably micro challenge, vs Gadsby). 

  • Cha-Cha-Cha - or Dancing with selves: making a new website and reflections on personal branding

  • Chat Amongst Yourselves - or Tips from geese: 'stepping up, falling back' and collective endeavour 

  • Charm Offensive - or Fundraising's biggest secret: above and beyond a lifetime of professional skills

Charm offensive - or Fundraising's biggest secret

23 October 2019

Smiling Professional Looking Woman

Do you feel the urge to say Thank You to Siri? Or Alexa? Or 'who'ever is your preferred (or hated) digital assistant? I once read a great 1843 magazine article about this (which I now can't find). I do. I'm tempted to hashtag this #wellbroughtup. As kids, we spoke when we were spoken to, and always said Please and Thank You. 


Forgetting to say Thank You is the first cardinal sin of fundraising - and the easiest to commit. Amid all the excitment of the chase, and the thrill of the gift, being grateful - not just now, but for ever - can get lost. I learnt this lesson taking over in a new role, kicking off a major fundraising campaign where previous extremely generous donors had been left out in the cold for years. They weren't thrilled to hear from us again, popping up only when a tin was rattling. Fundraising is 'friendraising', and staying friends is good to do. In the jargon, it's 'stewardship', and it's vital.

It can be tricky to find good, or at least experienced, fundraising managers. They're a rare breed, and sought after. I first heard "Recruit for attitude, train for skills" from a boutique hotel entrepreneur, talking about the art of a being on Reception. The same applies to fundraising. 


Looking for good manners goes a long way. All the great fundraisers I know have them. And beyond manners, they have charm. An old-fashioned value. Within their own style,they all have courtesy, empathy, interest in others, articulacy, enthusiasm, humour, patter. In management speak, it's emotional intelligence or EQ. Whilst fully formed 'Development' is a sophisticated professional skill, honed ny years of training and experience, manners and charm are a great starter for ten. And you can always ask an experienced consultant to help.... 

Everyone can be (and should be) a fundraiser for your organisation - in their own particular way. This might be frontline charm: in reception, on the phone, on social, on a speaker platform. Or it may many other things: terrier-like research skills, five-star data geekery, assiduous membership processing, scrupulous accounting, inspired copywriting, a great eye for design. I've created a workshop called Fundraising for Non-Fundraisers: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway [and AMA article on Culture Hive] which helps staff find their own fundraising mojo.

other title

XX month

space hopper.png

other blog blurb 


We built a workshop exploring psychological models like facades etc - and the tools of classical marketing training. I've found they are highly relevant to planning fundraising and organisational change too. All fascinating stuff to explore and resolve: socially and psychologically, creatively and analytically. It's what has drawn me to do what I do.

keep your customers up to date with what's happening.

LINK FROM ABOUT bullet: ...or, for light relief and randomness, read my blog.

ADD A WIX BLOG INSTEAD? allows like, comment, share - but looks bad if no reponses... and need to monitor comments...

keep your customers up to date with what's happening.

Chat amongst yourselves - or Tips from geese

21 October 2019

Snow Geese Migrating

Every year, around this time, V-shaped skeins of geese fly over our house. You hear them honking to each other long before you see them. They're heading south, from Iceland and Greenland, to over-winter and nest on moorland nearby. Karine Polwart, an award-winning singer who lives and works in the local village, wrote a beautiful song about these geese. It's all about... their collective endeavour....  'Stepping up, falling back. Labouring and resting' This was the title track of A Pocket of Wind Resistance: an album which grew out of a theatre piece for Edinburgh International Festival. It's now on tour - amazingly sending the age-old natural and human stories of Fala Moor, a tiny scrap of peat bog, around the world.*

film through from Leadership course at Ashridge Business School (thank you to NHM and super-boss Sharon Ament for this).

I was reflecting on support and pacing this morning, seeing the geese and starting cycling again, on an e-bike loaned by the brilliant Greening Gorebridge initiative. Our lanes are pretty hilly, so I needed every gear from 1-8, plus the magical tailwind of electrical assistance. It's still cycling, Captain, but not as we know it. And with this nudge of help, getting out there is so much more tempting. In my full-time roles I felt I should be performing at full throttle all the time. I wasn't alone. It's easy to feel you have to do it all - and the rest of life takes a back seat. But today I revelled in the chance to vary the pace, to call on help, to use energy wisely and save it for when you need it. Probably obvious to you, but a lesson it's taken me until now to appreciate.

* Do catch Karine on the radio or stream her music - a heavenly voice and haunting lyrics. For instance, check her out at Celtic Connections tackling Trump in I Burn But I Am Not Consumed, which just won Best Original Track in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Cha-Cha-Cha, or Dancing with Selves

website launch day

XX October

10 am

Smiling Professional Looking Woman

I've worked with brands for decades - but this, this website, this self-promotion mullarkey, is the trickiest yet. We're our own harshest critic, our own toughest client.

A year or two ago I was asked to run a session on personal branding for a network of senior leaders who've 'gone portfolio': managing independent consultancy for multiple clients, alongside pro bono non-exec positions, maybe caring roles, a better work-life balance. Like me, they were tussling with how to present themselves. 


Who are we, what do we offer? What is unique about us, or at least distinctive? What is common to all of us, but none the less useful to others? How do we express this? And who are we talking to?


It can be hard to step back and get a clear view from the inside. As Rabbie Burns wrote “O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us. It wad frae mony a blunder free us."

It turns out the questions classically raised by branding and marketing (and by Rabbie) throw a valuable light on personal presentation and career planning. I've found they're highly relevant to fundraising and organisational change too. All fascinating stuff to explore and resolve: socially and psychologically, creatively and analytically. It's what draws me to what I do.

So here I am with a new website. Does it work? I'm conscious it's quite neutral, a bit corporate - but I'm endlessly grateful to the invisible tribe at whose simple templates let me build one at all. I'm asking trusted friends and colleagues for their feedback. Your throughts are welcome. Unlike a brochure, it will evolve. As we all do. Satisfaction comes from progress. "Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Fail again, fail better."

Charm Offensive
Chat Amongst Yourselves
bottom of page