Who’s behind a dynamic organisation like the International Fundraising Consultancy? Over the coming months, our Meet Team IFC blog series will introduce you to IFC’s leaders around the world, kicking off with IFC’s CEO, John Baguley…
Tell us about your career in a snapshot.
I worked my fingers to the bone for Oxfam, Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International and Freedom from Torture, then set up my own fundraising consultancy in 1999 and the rest is history.
What led you down this path?
My earliest experience of the sheer excitement of fundraising was putting old pennies into a RNLB counter box and watch it launch a model life-boat. In those days I lived by the sea and could hardly reach the counter, but the real commitment came through realising the starvation and suffering caused by the Biafran war in Nigeria, which later on prompted me to work for Oxfam.
International because I want to change the whole world, Fundraising because that is key to change on any scale, and Consultancy because I like explaining to people how to solve their financial problems.
Tell us about a fundraising success?
At Friends of the Earth I raised enough funds for many new posts and these people directly challenged companies to amend their practices and shortly after, those practices changed, which was really exciting. Actually raising large sums is only half the fun, the really satisfying part is in seeing that result in change, whether it is in the building of a new Centre that will help many more people, or enhancing the power of pressure groups or direct help to those in need.
What do you see as the biggest fundraising challenge facing charities?
For many charities it is reaching the very wealthy people who now control immense amounts of money which could really make a huge difference. Most charities are really rubbish at it and their results are a fraction of the fund that could be raised.
What does the future hold for charitable fundraising?
According to William Gibson the future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed, and I think we can see this with the extraordinary possibilities of online and mobile fundraising – some charities are exceptional at it and others are still using typewriters.
Where would you like to see charitable fundraising be in the next 5 years?
I would like to see a tithing movement spread virally so we all begin to give back a tenth of our income to solve some of the serious issues with which we are all faced. We should adopt the Muslim practice of zakat.
You’re voted in as the next Prime Minister, what’s the first thing you do?
I’m tempted to say resign, but assuming I have already developed a strategy which the voters agreed with the country would become a very different place. For example 10% of all legacies would go to pro-social organisations, the recent cuts to the incomes of the poor and disabled would be reversed, which would boost the economy as they spend all their money and asylum seekers would have their cases decided on merit not on the basis of pandering to the prejudiced.
Tell us a fun and interesting fact about yourself .
I am glum and uninteresting but I happened to be in the Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet in 1999 seeing in the Millennium when I decide to set up the IFC.