CDE project 15 appen­dix 1 & 2

Written by
The Commission on the Donor Experience
May 28, 2017

Appendix 1

Case studies of organisations that ensure their board meetings are donor focused

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Make an impressive statement at the start at every board meeting, which instantly concentrates minds:


This charity initially began its board meetings with an empty chair at the board table to represent their beneficiaries who, although they couldn’t be there, are all hugely interested in the discussions that might take place round that table.

Further chairs were added for supporters and for staff, which soon became impractical.

Eventually, the boardroom’s wall was adorned with the image of three empty chairs, each representing a donor, a beneficiary and staff. The point is that these empty chairs are a physical and welcome reminder of the key stakeholders who are not in the room.

Appendix 2

Preliminary recommendations for the sector and sector bodies

  1. We need to encourage and support trustees. When we hear an experienced trustee say, ‘If I were not deeply immersed in the sector, I would worry about being a trustee’, we can anticipate that recruiting trustees may be more difficult in the future. Sector bodies need to ensure that we provide a balanced picture and ensure potential trustees know they will be supported.
  2. There is a necessity for the sector to fundraise and invest in fundraising. This message feels lost in the criticism of trustees – the sector and sector bodies need to be loud and clear about this. We do need to ask for donations and support.
  3. There is a lack of awareness of the extent and availability of fundraising training for new and existing trustees, and specifically for people who are concerned that fundraising governance is largely absent.
    1. Confusion surrounding the boundaries between governance and executive control in the fundraising area
    2. Trustee inductions and preparation for fundraising governance
    3. A sense that there is little specific fundraising training for trustees that focusses on what they need to know to exercise governance
  4. Maintain the drive to raise awareness – even boards that have looked at CC20 have not yet ‘internalised’ it. It will take time to change behaviour, and sector bodies have a significant part to play in maintaining focus on fundraising governance over time.

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About the author: The Commission on the Donor Experience

The CDE has one simple ideal – to place donors at the heart of fundraising. The aim of the CDE is to support the transformation of fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. It is based on evidence drawn from first hand insight of best practice. By identifying best practice and capturing examples, we will enable these to be shared and brought into common use.

Related case studies or articles

CDE project 15 summary: the role of trustee boards and senior managers

Fundraising’s evolving future will inevitably have profound implications for volunteer boards and senior management teams. This project will help them to understand the changes in their roles and to prepare for, contribute to and respond to fundraising’s new agenda.

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CDE project 15 appendix 3

A series of conversations with trustees, CEOs, fundraisers and others close to the sector about governance.

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CDE project 15 appendix 4

Literature Review by Angela Routley

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CDE Contents

List of all the CDE project summaries and where to find them on SOFII.

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