It may have been a year of great change, but looking back to last December, I see that as a sector we are still asking for some of the same things, having the same debates, and opinions don’t appear to have moved on. Within the restrictions of this introduction, let me share a few thoughts.
As an organisation we’ve experienced great change and huge shifts at CFG HQ, with new faces, a new approach and new activities. Whilst some of that was bumpy, I have been impressed by the hard work and commitment of the CFG team. I hope that you have noticed the shift in our products and support, and have continued to receive good personal service.
If you missed the annual London member meeting, or the regional equivalents, do take a few minutes to read our mid-year summary, and the member survey results. At our annual conference this year, I was struck by how far we’ve come as an organisation. It was a sell-out. The final plenary commanded the presence of some major players in the sector and government, and it was interesting and engaging enough to have kept several hundred CFG bums on seats right to the end. Recent investment in our policy and public affairs work has paid off. We’re enjoying real influence in a number of areas and are helping to shape the operating environment for charities.
One particularly pleasing development is that charity pensions issues are finally on the political agenda. In the run up to the next general election, we hope for progress on the question of section 75 exit debt. We’ve been banging the pensions drum for many years so it is gratifying that our calls for change appear to have finally been heard. November was the month of our annual fundraising dinner. I can barely believe that it was my fifth. This year was a particularly satisfying event with record table sales and over £3,000 raised, courtesy of our American-style raffle. The money we raise helps us to reach beyond our core membership and support the sector as a whole. Some things don’t seem to change though.
We’ve been reminded throughout the year that the public still have a patchy understanding of how our sector works, what we do and how we are funded. This year saw the executive pay scandals, the Panorama expose on charity investments, and a number of other challenges. The lack of movement on some of these issues won’t dampen my appetite; I face 2015 with renewed energy and enthusiasm for a fantastic sector. Have a wonderful Christmas and a positive New Year, and see you in 2015! Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive, CFG
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