Become a trustee

CFG board of trustees – have your say

We are able to have up to seven elected Trustees, and up to three appointed Trustees.

There are two vacancies to be filled at the Board Meeting on 23rd September 2019 as one Trustee has served their maximum of two consecutive terms of three years duration, and another stepped down last year. We have five candidates put forward for election.

Voting opens on 18th July 2019 and closes on 29th August 2019. Voting is by ballot via the internet only. As the membership belongs to the member charity and not to individual staff each organisation gets one vote. The details will therefore be sent to the Primary Contact of the member charity by the Electoral Reform Services.

We request that all voting members carefully read the criteria below, and where appropriate talk to colleagues who participate in CFG, before voting to ensure that they are aware of the illustrative skills and experience that CFG’s Nomination Committee has identified as being most beneficial at this stage. 

Please note that there may be other skills and experiences that candidates bring not included in the below list which is included for your guidance only:

Background and experience:

  • Current large charity FD
  • Cause related charity experience
  • International experience
  • Internal Audit
  • One senior and one early in their charity career

Skills and understanding:

  • Ambitious for CFG’s position as a leading voice in charity finance
  • Open minded and happy to listen, challenge (exec and fellow board members) and offer opinions
  • Brave and committed.

The personal characteristics we are looking for are the ability to:

  • communicate clearly and take an active role in discussions;
  • challenge sensitively and constructively;
  • engage and influence others;
  • stay focussed on CFG’s vision and mission;
  • maintain a level head in difficult situations


Please click the names below to find out more information about each of the candidates and why they want to join the CFG board.

(Candidates are given in alphabetical order by surname)

Avtar Boparai

Avtar Boparai

Candidate name: Avtar Singh Boparai, Head of Finance, Accounting & Shared Services, Barnardo’s

Proposer: Richard Moore, Barnardo’s

Proposer’s Statement from Richard Moore

I feel Avtar would make a great Trustee for the CFG as he is an established Finance Professional and he has a genuine passion for the not for profit sector as it is in tune with his altruistic nature. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge, and is not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Which of the background and experience criteria do you fulfil and how?

I work as the Head of Finance, Accounting & Shared Services at Barnardo’s.  We are one of the UK’s largest children’s charities, I am proud of how we transform the lives of children, young people, parents and carers.  I am very passionate about the charity sector.  I chose to transition from the corporate sector to the not for profit/charitable sector as I wanted to work for organisations that have a direct positive impact on society and desire to make the world a better place. 

This resonates with my core belief of altruism, helping others and making a positive difference to the world is what drives me as well as my self-development and learning. 

I have been fortunate enough to work in roles that have not limited me to a particular area of finance.   I have been involved in finance operations, internal controls, external/internal audits/governance and investments.  Therefore, feel I have good background and experience to do justice to the Trustee role.  

Describe why you want to be a Trustee for CFG and why your fellow members should vote for you

I enjoy being a part of the CFG and actively engage in events they hold and gain key insights from the magazine and articles.  It is an inspiring organisation and one that would be an honour for me to be a Trustee for. 

I feel that I have a genuine passion for the charity sector, and want to be part of the movement for the sector to develop and become world class compared to any other sector.  We operate for the benefit of others, and we can be just as commercial and savvy as the rest of the world.  At the same time we need to ensure charities are robust in controls and governance in a time of heightened scrutiny.

The way we do this is by allowing voices/opinions and challenges to be heard and given validity.  Change is amongst us, at such a hastened pace, as the exponential growth of technological advancements challenge us to keep pace and keep a pulse on what impact the future holds.

I feel I am an anomaly, I have intricate knowledge of technology but with a background in accountancy.  Having worked in both the commercial sector and not for profit/charity in various roles, I believe I can bring constructive challenge and valid input to discussions.  

I believe I can bring my calm and collective nature to the role and exemplify the aspirations of the CFG which are to inspire confidence in finance, and promote trustworthiness in the charity sector which is much needed at the moment.  In addition to champion change, authentic leadership and best practice.   

Kevin O’Brien

Kevin O'Brien

Candidate name: Kevin O’Brien, Director of Corporate Services, CLIC Sargent

Proposer: Nicki Deeson, CFG & Amnesty International  

Proposer’s Statement from Nicki Deeson

Kevin is currently a Finance committee member and co-opted member of the CFG Board. He got up to speed quickly on Board topics and is a thoughtful reflective member, adding input and providing a new perspective. He seeks feedback and gives suggestions for improvement. I heartily recommend Kevin for the CFG Board of Trustees.

Which of the background and experience criteria do you fulfil and how?

I joined the not for profit sector three years ago as Finance & Corporate Resources Director at CLIC Sargent – the UK’s leading cancer charity for children, young people and their families. My key areas of responsibility are finance, technology, retail, property & property development, facilities, and data governance. Part of CLIC Sargent’s activities involve campaigning and influencing on better care and support for young cancer patients.

I joined the CFG Finance & Audit Committee as an independent member in 2017 and was co-opted to the Board of Trustees in 2018.

I am also a member of the Finance & Resource Committee of The Lullaby Trust, which I joined in 2015.

Before joining the sector, I held various finance roles in several large, global and multinational corporates (in manufacturing, trading and property), most latterly as Head of Finance for Grosvenor’s London Estate across Mayfair and Belgravia.

Describe why you want to be a Trustee for CFG and why your fellow members should vote for you

The not for profit sector is a key element of the economy that all-too-often gets overlooked. We don’t have the same financial resources as the public sector or the private sector, but we do have the passion and ingenuity to make a disproportionate difference beyond our financial size. By working together, we can leverage all of the capability within the sector – and across our networks in the other sectors – to deliver excellence in financial management for member organisations.

I have been so impressed at the generosity of spirit I have seen from CFG member organisations since I joined the sector and I would like to be an even bigger part of this.

CFG is uniquely placed to drive better financial leadership across the sector and I would love to be a part of this.

Saf Rahbour

Saf Rahbour

Candidate name: Saf Rahbour, Head of Project Finance, BBC Media Action

Proposer: Lesley Baliga, Independent Consultant/Interim Manager

Proposer’s Statement from Lesley Baliga

Saf is a highly professional person with a passion for the charity sector. A key strength is her ability to clearly see the bigger picture whilst at the same time understanding the detail. Saf had a calm and pleasant personality but is not afraid to challenge opinions and question issues she does not agree with.

Which of the background and experience criteria do you fulfil and how?

International Experience: As a qualified Chartered Accountant, with over 15 years’ experience working within the Non-Profit and INGO sector, I have a proven track record of supporting senior management up to Director and Board level providing strategic leadership and operational support.  Key achievements have included delivering financial information on divisional performance, leading on the annual planning, budgeting and forecasting cycle, leading on donor and statutory audits, and establishing reporting during the implementation of finance systems and change management phases at International Organisations.

In my current role at BBC Media Action, I have managed and led teams during a significant Finance transformation project.  This has included enhancing capacity building through delivering Financial Management training to Country Directors and staff based across 14 country offices within Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa regions, and supporting the Regional Directors with strategic planning, business development, compliance and risk management.

Describe why you want to be a Trustee for CFG and why your fellow members should vote for you

The overall aim and vision of CFG is one that I am passionate about, especially the essence of shaping and influencing policy makers, and championing best practice.  Helping to build a better operating environment for all charities, and inspiring financial leadership is a powerful and rewarding goal and one that I am passionate about taking forward with the team.

As an Independent Member of the Audit & Risk Committee at UNICEF UK, I support the Senior Leadership Team by providing guidance and making recommendations for the Board on a range of policies and procedures including oversight on financial reporting, HR, governance, and internal controls.

In 2016, I delivered a presentation on “Cost Recovery Principles” at one of the CFG member events held at the BOND headquarters in London.  It was truly inspiring to see how colleagues from a wide spectrum of charities, were keen to share their experiences and engaged in panel discussions leading to valuable knowledge- sharing with fellow members.

Having a determined and proactive work ethic, fellow members can be assured that I will strive to ensure the Board fulfills its responsibilities and support in developing CFG’s reputation across the sector.  I am currently looking for an opportunity to use my expertise to offer my skills as a trustee in an environment where I can bring real value to a board, hopeful that members will support me on this journey.

John Robinson

John Robinson

Candidate name: John Robinson, Finance Director, The American School in London

Proposer: Paul Norris, Institute of Cancer Research

Proposer’s Statement from Paul Norris

I strongly support John's application to be a trustee of CFG. He will bring extensive experience as a finance director in large charitable organisations, particularly in Education, his experience from other trustee boards in both education and culture and a desire to contribute to raising finance standards in the sector.

Which of the background and experience criteria do you fulfil and how?

Significant large charity and international experience: I am the finance director at the American School in London - an international school, £45 million revenue and a US 501(c)(3) Foundation- and was previously FD at Brunei University, £200 million revenue, 20% international students, £?million EU research funding.  I have commercial, international experience including as international financial controller at Clifford Chance law firm supervising 20 different offices worldwide.  On a personal level, I studied in the USA for my Master's in Public Administration, have a home in Brazil and was born in Singapore.

Some cause-related and internal audit experience: I was trustee of the Higher Education Academy to champion excellent teaching in universities, celebrate and disseminate good practice, and raise teaching by university academics to same status as research.

I joined the Corporate Audit Group of ICI working on internal audits from distribution depots to IT security when I began.

Describe why you want to be a Trustee for CFG and why your fellow members should vote for you

I thoroughly enjoy working as a charity finance director and as a trustee and would like to contribute to, and learn from, the Board of CFG.  I believe that CFG provides a much-needed, central role in raising standards of financial governance and management across charities and would love to join this high-performing group to extend its impact even further.  I bring my experience of being a trustee of organisations of different sizes and stages of their life-cycle, and as a beneficiary of BUFDG, which also provides excellent resources comparable to CFG but to the university sector.  I am also committed to mentoring and, if appointed, I would like to bring a mentee from an under-represented group to accompany me to Board meetings.

Current: I am trustee treasurer and an enthusiast for the Bloomsbury Festival - dependent on fund-raising, goodwill and a talented team generating inclusive activities for a population covering some of the wealthiest and most impoverished in London.  All from resources of £150k from local donors. Do come and enjoy October 2019!

Closure: I was nominated as trustee for the Higher Education Academy by HEFCE which withdrew its full grant (£20 million) over 3 years - ironically, to ensure financial sustainability. Ultimately the increased charges and cuts meant that there was a forced merger with two smaller charities in similar positions.  I was, latterly, Chair of the Finance Committee ensuring that we closed with sufficient reserves, complying with our governing documents.

Formative experience: I joined the Board of AQA (exams) which was large, disciplined and inclusive of stakeholders from school heads to union representatives, from universities to industry, with mutual respect and provided great board induction, ongoing training and regular updates. My trustee term was extended to continue chairing the Finance Committee through the appointment of new investment advisors.

David John Smith

David Smith

Candidate name: David John Smith, Finance & Trust Officer – URC Eastern Province

Proposer: Gilbert Heathcote, URC Eastern Province

Proposer’s Statement from Gilbert Heathcote

David is an FCCA of long standing, and joined the Eastern Synod of the URC at a testing time, which he dealt with admirably. David is a very valued member of our Head Office team and I have no hesitation in recommending him as a Trustee of the CFG.

Which of the background and experience criteria do you fulfil and how?

I am the Finance Officer of a Charity with income of over £1.5m and investible assets of £18m. I also have extensive internal Audit experience within a Private Ltd Co with a T/o in excess of £30m

Describe why you want to be a Trustee for CFG and why your fellow members should vote for you

I have worked in Finance for over 45 years. I qualified as a Fellow of The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants in 1985 and worked in Industry as a Director of a multi-million pound Commercial Vehicle equipment manufacturer for around 25 years. I then worked as a software consultant and owned my own ERP Software Company for around 10 years. I moved into the charity sector in September 2017, and have found it extremely rewarding. I feel that becoming a Trustee within CFG would benefit CFG with my extensive Financial knowledge within a Commercial environment. Within the Charity I work for I sit on both the Resources and Trust Committees and feel that my experience of Committees and Board Meetings would greatly benefit CFG.

I am very passionate about my work and feel that CFG benefits the Charity sector with the work that it does and really look forward to helping CFG grow during these challenging times.