Meet Team IFC: Helen Maynard-Hill

helenThe latest Meet Team IFC blog introduces the lovely Helen Maynard-Hill. Passionate about the not-for-profit sector, she’s someone you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of! 

Role within IFC

I’m the IFC Director for the Netherlands.

Your career in a snapshot

I studied stage management and theatre production, and after a short spell working in TV, decided to use my organisation skills for a greater good in fundraising. I worked at ChildLine as the schools and overseas fundraiser, then took a sabbatical with Raleigh International and went to volunteer for them in Belize after fundraising to ‘earn’ my place.

Once back in England, I worked for Charity Challenge, what was then a new and unique way for people to fundraise by completing overseas challenges. In 2007, I moved to the Netherlands where I worked for several different not-for-profit organisations. I then applied for and won the rights to the International Fundraising Consultancy Netherlands.

What led you down this path?

It sounds a bit moralistic, but I want to genuinely help people. The nature of the work we do means I can help a lot of people with many different things. If I can get up in the morning knowing that I am helping someone be it through proposal writing, pitching to a corporate business or helping to organise fundraising event, then I am happy. 

Why IFC?

IFC is a lovely organisation to work for. Led by John Baguley, with his boundless knowledge and good advice, as well as all of the other consultants with their continual support, guidance and wealth of experience, I don’t think I could have picked a better agency. I am proud to be an IFC Director.

Tell us about a fundraising success?

I helped secure corporate sponsorship for a charity’s major fundraising event in just under four months.

What do you see as the biggest fundraising challenge facing charities?

Specifically for The Netherlands, I think that there is a lack of understanding and respect for people who work in the not-for-profit sector. It is a misnomer that people who work for a not-for-profit should do so voluntarily or are expected to get paid very little for the work they do. Working for a charity should be no less respected than any other profession. At the moment I think is it seen as a nice thing to do, but not really a profession.

Whilst reduced government funding to charities throughout the Netherlands poses a challenge for many, it as also an opportunity for innovation and re-looking at how charities function. Charities need to rise to the occasion and themselves become more professional in their organisation. There is a lot that can be translated from the business world to running a not-for-profit but many times charities hide behind lack of resources or funding to explain the sometimes lack of proficiency. Of course there are more limitations in the not for profit world, but that doesn’t mean that there also needs to be less creativity or professionalism. 

Where would you like to see charitable fundraising be in the next 5 years?

I would like to see and encourage a better level of professional standards in the not for profit world (as I have mentioned!). Also it would be great to see more not for profits becoming self-sustainable, not relying on hand outs from the government and also being creative and innovative with their fundraising campaigns. Attractive and imaginative campaigns retain and often attract new donors. If charities can take on board what their business counterparts are doing creatively I think in the next 5 years we will see a different profile of the charity sector.

You’re voted in as the next Prime Minister, what’s the first thing you do?

Introduce clear guidelines for tax relief for businesses and personal donors.

I would introduce a clear simple auditing commission for not-for-profits in the Netherlands. There has been scandal in the past about where donated money is spent. Creating open and transparent auditing reporting would dispel any conspiracies or feeling that funds are being spent in an unorthodox way.

I would also simplify the tax system for corporate and personal donors. At the moment it a complex system but simplifying it may encourage more charitable donation, even if it is just for tax purposes.

Tell us a fun and interesting fact about yourself

I am a black belt in Qi ‘kwan Do.