Team IFC: John Baguley

Group IFC has an amazing family of individuals situated all over the world, with a wealth of local, national and international fundraising expertise. Our new Team IFC series gives you an insight in to the people that behind Group IFC. Kicking off the series is IFC Founder, Chair and all round fundraising guru, John Baguley…

Tell us about your career in a snapshot

I started fundraising as a volunteer many years ago by running events such as rock concerts, sponsored walks, etc to fund a mediaeval faire called Hood Faire in the county of Devon in England which in turn raised money for local charities.

My first charity job was to run seven Oxfam thrift shops in Central London, which I did for five years. Soon becoming the Head of Fundraising at Friends of the Earth then at Amnesty International UK, and their first Director of International Fundraising at their International Secretariat, travelling the world to help Amnesty’s Sections to fundraise. My last fundraising role was as Director of Fundraising at Freedom from Torture, where I ran a successful capital appeal to fund their new purpose built treatment centre.

I set up IFC in 1999 to change the world, not just one organisation, and we rapidly grew a strong team of excellent fundraisers taking on IFC’s first clients in 2000.  I can’t quite believe we now have IFC Directors in 14 countries! And we have raised millions of pounds to strengthen brilliant organisations around the world.

Indeed together we are changing the world!

What led you down this path?

I was born in Cornwall near a small fishing village, and when a fishing boat hit the rocks everyone would do their bit to help, whether putting out to sea in lifeboats or giving help to the widows. I could never see why everyone everywhere didn’t think like that.

Why IFC?

My PhD is in the Global Development of NGOs and Non-profits. I could see that this brilliant sector needed both professional fundraising help to accelerate its growth, and people on the ground to help raise funds locally or from other countries.  I could also see there was no other organisation with offices around the world.

What is your role with IFC?

Founder and Chair of the Board

What are the fundraising challenges in your region? 

UK is a very competitive market for fundraising, and fundraisers have been under intense scrutiny in recent years leading to tighter legislation. Direct marketing, which used to be the mainstay of charity income is in decline and, though fundraisers have adapted to technological change and vast wealth moving into the hands of relatively few people, we haven’t quite replaced the assured sustainable flow of income we were used to for many years – we face challenging times!

Tell us about a fundraising success?

I love capital appeals and my first one for Freedom From Torture succeeded despite the cost of the new building rising to three times the target sum. It is an impressive treatment centre and the donors really deserve to be remembered for all time.

What does the future hold for charitable fundraising?

There have been too many years of austerity in the UK and I can finally sense that a social change is on its way where a new government will begin to redress austerity’s appalling social consequences.  This will be a change in social attitudes too, which I think will see greater generosity towards charities and make fundraisers more respected as agents of positive change.  We have seen in Brexit and in the US etc the results of ignoring the plight of large swathes of the population.

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

I would like it to be the number one profession for young people with a social conscience.

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

Call Barak Obama and say, “help!”

Tell us a fun and interesting fact about yourself

When I tell my grandchildren I am writing my memoir they behave themselves!