Surveys show that if you display the salary on your role, it can provide valuable momentum, sometimes doubling applications.

Across the charitable and not for profit sector, we strive for transparency as part of our normal practice for good governance. It’s mandatory for us to work efficiently every day and to achieve our objectives.

We also value our staff. Without them none of it happens! No one charity is better than the team that drives it every day. This is shown time and time again by people working in the charitable and not for profit sector who go above and beyond, to reach the organisation’s goals.

CCI Executive Search / Charity Careers Ireland supports Show the Salary

At CCI Executive Search– the specialist recruitment consultancy that undertakes full search for all roles and is a sister company of the Charity Careers Ireland Jobs Board –  we see this in practice. We work with brilliant people and amazing charitable organisations to recruit and retain great people.

In 2015, CCI Executive Search was one of the first organisations to take a stand on Show The Salary, a movement to increase transparency in recruiting for the sector. Show the Salary was first championed by ethical recruiters, Bruce Tait Associates in Scotland and supported by CCI Executive Search in Ireland, Peridot in the UK, Crawford in Canada and the NNSC in the United States.

In 2020, it became a strong movement amongst UK Fundraisers, hundreds of charities and dozens of recruitment agencies signing a pledge to always Show the Salary.

By doing this, we not only make salary ranges in the sector visible but we also demonstrate our ongoing commitment to recruitment in a fair and inclusive way

Showing the Salary as part of your DEI Policy

Often when salaries are hidden, the salary offered is based on the successful applicant’s current salary. This means that groups that are currently underpaid, stay that way. It then feeds into the cycle of pay discrimination, especially for women and for people from minority and or ethnic backgrounds.

For example, when the discussion at interview begins with your current salary or matching it, it is unfair for people who are already underpaid to have to stay that way. When an appointment is made at a hidden salary level, it allows employers to pay people different rates for doing the same job and this has traditionally led to the gender pay gap.

Show the Salary strives towards better pay and more balanced pay.

In contrast, research has shown that pay levels for women are 8% higher when organisations operate a Show The Salary policy. Further research shows that salaries are also adversely affected for people of different races – white male and middle class being the strongest voice at the salary negotiating table. UK research showed that black male candidates had a 13% median salary increase when Show the Salary was applied.

Surveys show that if you display the salary on your role, it can provide valuable momentum, sometimes doubling applications. CCI has experienced this first hand.

Not showing the salary has lots of negative connotations. It can suggest that the job was not “benchmarked” correctly by the Board and that it doesn’t have a “considered” value. Equally, “Depending on Experience” is a term that is disingenuous; it usually has less to do with actual experience and more to do with salary legacy.

And who hasn’t had the awkward introduction of the “salary negotiation” at second round interview, when you have to wade through the question of what is the salary and is there room for negotiation. Negotiating through that quagmire can often leave you with a negative impression of the employer before you even start the role!

Written by Bruce Tait
Co Director, CCI Executive Search

At CCI we work directly with the Irish not for profit sector as well as people in leadership positions. If you would like to discuss any recruitment queries or opportunities you might have, please contact us on 01-5242807.

For more information click here

We were eager to reach out to Maureen Kavanagh to hear of her impressive career. We hope you enjoy her ‘Charity Chat’ as much as we did. We are currently recruiting a part-time Membership Support Officer and a Communications Officer to join the team at Active Retirement Ireland.


What is your current role and how long have you been working in it?

CEO of Active Retirement Ireland for 13 years


How did you get to where you are today and what influenced your decision to work in your chosen field?

I started my career in Microbiology and Biochemistry which I worked at for 5 years before leaving to have children. I began doing voluntary work in a local adult education group and proceeded advance through adult & community education on to paid work as co-ordinator of a women’s groups network. I loved being involved in women’s community education and this influenced me to move to a national organisation AONTAS to co-ordinate the first national programme for Women’s networks in Ireland. I advanced to manage a national programme for community education facilitators. I moved to become CEO of ARI in 2008.


What do you love/enjoy most about your job?

Working with older people, strengthening the national organisation and putting in place good policies and procedures


And what are the most challenging parts of your job?

Working with older people and managing a membership led organisation


What’s something you’re working on that you’re excited about?

Supporting older people to get back their agency after lockdown


How do you relax?

Reading, walking, meeting friends for a glass of wine or coffee


What skills and personality traits do you think are essential for a job like yours?

Leadership, teamwork, management, patience, clarity of role, vision


What’s your advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the same field?

Go for it, it is a great sector to work in


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t wait around for opportunities, seek them out


What has been the best moment of your career so far?

Bringing in two major partnerships to advance our work

Pulling together the stories from older people on how they felt during lockdown “Telling it like it was”


What are you looking forward to in the year ahead careerwise?

Leading the organisation in a transformational programme for older people.


If you’re a professional who works in the not-for-profit sector and you’re interested in taking part in the ‘My Charity Career’ interview series, please get in touch by emailing   We’d love to hear from you!


We were eager to reach out to Suzanne Delaney to hear of her impressive career. We hope you enjoy her ‘Charity Chat’ as much as we did. We are currently recruiting an Account Manager to join the team at FoodCloud, to find out more click here.

What is your current role and how long have you been working in it? I am Development Director at FoodCloud, I joined FoodCloud in June 2020 in the peak of the Pandemic but collaboration and my love for FoodCloud goes back a long way before actually joining the business. I am accountable for driving the financial growth of the business as per the requirements of the strategic plan, this involves interpreting and converting organisational strategies into fundable proposals and innovative programmes, revenue can come from corporations, private individuals, major donors, government grants or the general public. It involves leading a dynamic team of professionals to implement and deliver on complex and multifaceted corporate relationships that cover income, employee engagement programmes, cause-related marketing, sustainability programmes and food donations. How did you get to where you are today and what influenced your decision to work in your chosen field? I lived in Australia for many years and was a co-founder of a large digital agency that was successfully sold to Spike Networks. I returned to Ireland in 2006 and joined the Ogilvy & Mather Group as Head of Digital. One of the most rewarding aspects of my ten years at Ogilvy was working with the ISPCC and the HSE on behavioural change programmes to solve social issues, this work opened many doors to sector collaboration and meeting new passionate people with innovative ideas. I was invited on to the Board of Camara Education and went out to Ethiopia to discover firsthand how access to education and technology could change the lives of young people in disadvantaged communities. It was during this period, I met Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien who had just started up FoodCloud. They had just developed the technology platform and were in the early stages of trial with Tesco with plans to roll out with the largest food bank in the UK. They were also collaborating with Bia Food in Cork with plans to merge and extend services to Dublin. I supported them at this early stage to define a brand strategy and took great interest in their continuous growth and development. In 2017 I was invited to become a non-executive Board Director. In 2017, I also joined Business in the Community to focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, I managed a portfolio of twelve of Ireland’s leading businesses – integrating social, environmental, ethical and human rights concerns into their core business strategies and engaging their employees and key stakeholders into the various projects.  During this period I worked with a number of food industry accounts who were engaging with FoodCloud Services to reduce Food Waste. COVID 19 brought significant challenges for Food Bank operations globally. FoodCloud was no exception, from extreme peaks and troughs in the supply of food, limited volunteers and restrictive work practices. Demand for food increased by 75% more than in 2019 to over 650 charities and community groups across Ireland, which meant scaling up operations and funding to build business capacity, when the role of interim Partnership Director came up it was the perfect fit for me. What do you love most about your job? I am really inspired by FoodCloud’s vision, where no good food goes to waste, this is driven by a mission to transform surplus food into an opportunity that opens up ideas for creativity and kindness. This work is underpinned by a set of values that everyone buys into and got us through some tough times over the last twelve months. As a Board Member, I had great respect for the ambition and drive of the leadership team and their commitment to continuous improvement and growth in the face of adversity. I am really proud to be part of that team now and to have played a role during one of the toughest years when most companies were finding ways to keep their lights on, we were planning our vision for 2030 What’s something you’re working on that you’re excited about? We have several really interesting ‘blue sky’ projects in the pipeline at FoodCloud but one of particular note is Foodiverse, our new global technology platform that will support the redistribution of food at all stages of the food supply chain and empower food banks all over the world to redistribute more food. I am also excited about a project with Irish Growers to access fresh fruit and vegetables that have previously been left unharvested and in most cases go to waste. The project will explore the potential for increasing surplus food and ways to overcome the financial barriers and complexities of working with growers. Similar projects in overseas markets have been very successful in raising funds to support farmers and ensuring communities get access to healthy and nutritious food. What are the most challenging parts of your job? I started working for FoodCloud in June, three months into the COVID 19 pandemic, when we saw some of our highest and lowest volumes of food amid panic buying and the closure of the hospitality sector. Working with remote teams to meet challenging targets, motivating others to stay the course and onboarding new colleagues was not easy, but getting partners or a philanthropic donor on board to support our work or a programme is very rewarding. Knowing that we have enough funding to achieve our strategic objectives and financial stability makes it all worthwhile. How do you relax? I enjoyed reading, walking, gardening, cooking and entertaining friends. Being a daughter, a mother, a sister, a wife, a dog owner and escaping from them all to remote places is good too What skills and personality traits do you think are essential for a job like yours? Cultural fit is one of the most important aspects when working in the charity sector and a commitment to mission-driven work. FoodCloud’s core values are – we are role models, we are enterprising, we are in it together, we are doers and we are driven by kindness, we demonstrate these values through our work and weekly meetings to ensure everyone feels part of a great team. Skillsets like the ability to collaborate with diverse groups, resilience, adaptability, creativity, being well organised, lots of patience and being a good listener are the core skills needed for development or fundraising professionals. What is your advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the same field? The charity sector is full of people from all walks of life, who are driven by a desire to truly make a difference. They work with organisations that are dedicated to a cause that is meaningful to them. So the first step is to consider the type of charity you would like to work for, what are you passionate about – Climate Change, Mental Health, Education? Narrowing down the causes will help to find an organisation that you are sincere and genuinely care about. There are plenty of skills that are transferable to a fundraising role – sales, communication, project management, team building are all beneficial to business development and relationship management. Soft skills are important also being self-motivated, good written and verbal skills, and of course multitasking is a prerequisite for the charity sector Spending some time volunteering for a charity is a good opportunity to see how charities operate and understand the various revenue models. The Wheel (National Association of Community and Volunteer Organisations) offers several certified training programmes which are well recognised, they also have a great blog and podcasts for staying on top of trends and industry news What is the best advice you have ever been given? The best advice I ever received was from my mum ‘Give more than you expect to receive’ this was her religion, she was the kindest person I know and my husband is the second. It has been the foundation of my personal and professional life. In life, we often seek out situations that are beneficial to us, and that will help us be successful. I have taken a different approach and look for ways to make others shine. I find joy in supporting others and providing them with the tools to achieve their goals. Leaders create leaders and when you support people they, in turn, will help you when needed, whether it is building a brand or looking for funding, kindness always wins. What has been the best moment of your career so far? There have been many moments in my career that I am very proud of, from building businesses, working with leading brands, and winning awards for great work, but the decision to change direction in my career and work in the not-for-profit sector has been the most rewarding.  Having a sense of purpose and passion for improving societal conditions and impacting the lives of others has brought great meaning to my own life. I love the creativity, the constant challenges, and working with people who are truly driven to make the world a better place. What are you looking forward to in the year ahead careerwise? We have just completed our next three-year strategy at FoodCloud with a big vision for 2030, I am excited about my role in driving financial growth and building partnerships to help us increase our impact. I am also looking forward to deep diving into a new framework for our social impact measurement and completing my Masters in Sustainability at DCU.

If you’re a professional who works in the not-for-profit sector and you’re interested in taking part in the ‘My Charity Career’ interview series, please get in touch by emailing   We’d love to hear from you!

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We were eager to catch up with former CCI candidate Carla Ankiah to hear of her achievements and challenges as Head of Fundraising with Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland. We are currently recruiting a Corporate Partnerships and Philanthropy Manager to join Carla’s team, to find out more about this exciting opportunity click here.

What is your current role and how long have you been working in it?

Head of Fundraising, Partnerships & Supporter Relations. I have been in this role for 2 years and spent a year prior to this working for the same organisation as the Community Fundraising, Volunteer & Events Manager.

  How did you get to where you are today and what influenced your decision to work in your chosen field?

I previously worked in the commercial sector in business development and operations management. I was looking for a new challenge and stumbled upon the role at AADI advertised by CCI. After a lovely chat with the recruitment manager at CCI I was convinced that a role in fundraising would be perfect for me and I got really excited about the possibility of working in the non-profit sector, something I had never previously considered. 

 What do you love/enjoy most about your job?

I get a huge sense of achievement and rush of adrenaline when I see the organisation’s revenue growth. I am very results driven but knowing ultimately the revenue I bring to the charity is literally transforming the lives of children is incredibly rewarding.

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What are the most challenging parts of your job?

The most challenging part of the role has always been speaking to the families that have received an assistance dog and hearing of all the wonderful benefits the dog has brought to the family and knowing that there are so many more families out there needing our support. The demand for the charities services does outstrip our current capacity but with the growth in revenue over the last few years we are helping gradually increasing our operations to support more people each year. 

 How do you relax?

I wouldn’t exactly call it relaxing but to switch off and clear the head I ride my horses. In the evenings I do also enjoy winding down by reading or watching Netflix. 

What skills and personality traits do you think are essential for a job like yours?

I think being results driven is important and an interest in the cause the charity you work for is supporting. I also think it’s important you are very personable as most roles in fundraising require you to regularly communicate and work with a variety of individuals from various backgrounds whether they are colleagues, volunteers, service users or corporate partners. 

What’s your advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the same field?

Develop a variety of transferable skills and reach out to companies like CCI for advice on roles that may suit your skill set and experience. I would also suggest volunteering for organisations and causes that interest you so you can experience what it is like to be involved as a volunteer for different organisations. Whilst participating in the recruitment process for my first role in fundraising I volunteered for the charity at an event and I learnt so much about the organisation, its work and current fundraising practices  in that one day it really was extremely valuable.. 

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What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Accept that you can’t do everything and the most important decisions you will make are prioritising what to do when. 

What has been the best moment of your career so far?

Winning the ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ award at this year’s Charity Excellence awards was a huge highlight. In all honesty though every time I speak to the families the charity has supported and I see the difference my work is making to individuals it is a highlight. 

What are your career aspirations?

I hope to continue my career with AADI for the next few years and help them reach a point where they are better meeting the demand for their services. Long term I would like to continue to develop my skills with the goal of moving into a C level, strategy focused role that not only allows me to develop fundraising strategy but also develop and implement team management, and operational strategy. 

  If you’re a professional who works in the not-for-profit sector and you’re interested in taking part in the ‘My Charity Career’ interview series, please get in touch by emailing   We’d love to hear from you!

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Earlier this year CCI Executive Search were delighted to work with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre to recruit their new Head of Fundraising, Kirsty Cawthron. Kirsty joined the DRCC in June of this year, and we recently caught up with her to find out more about her current role and her career in the Not for Profit sector.


How did you get to where you are today and what influenced your decision to work in your chosen field?

I have worked in the charity sector for 14 years, predominantly in the UK. I was fortunate to meet a number of not for profits through my MA studies in Global Citizenship, Identities and Human Rights, which inspired me to seek a career in the sector. It has always been important to me that the work I do does more than generate money and the charity sector has been a perfect – and rewarding – fit.

I began my career at a large, established UK charity, The Prince’s Trust, where I worked as Executive Assistant to the CEO and Senior Management Team. This role was the perfect introduction to the charity sector; I got a great insight to every department of the charity as well as how differing priorities both compliment and contradict each other. It also gave me the opportunity to experience how different departments function, which showed me that fundraising was the path for me. I moved into Major Donor fundraising in 2010 and have broadened my fundraising experience across roles in several charities since to also include statutory, trusts, grants and foundations, corporate partnerships and capital projects. I have worked independently to launch new income streams and led teams to manage income targets of £14m+.

My move to DRCC was inspired by my relocation to Dublin – and I was very lucky that a perfect role was available with a charity that spoke very clearly to me as being increasingly relevant and important.


What do you love most about your job?

The wins in fundraising are very rewarding! Nothing beats the feeling of a new partner confirming that they want to fund your work. But for me, there are 2 things I love most about my job. One is knowing that you can directly create change for people that need help – in my current role, the more I raise, the more DRCC can do to prevent the harm and heal the trauma of sexual violence. Secondly, it is the relationships I am able to build with funders/prospects – amazing individuals from very different walks of life who see the value in the charity I represent and choose (financially or otherwise) to make a difference.


What’s something you’re working on that you’re excited about?

My relocation to Dublin and joining DRCC coincided with a global pandemic and local lockdowns – it hasn’t been easy! DRCC’s existing fundraising is largely statutory and events based and the latter has demanded boundless creativity and innovation this year. As a result, we are launching DRCC’s first large scale digital fundraising campaign from 25th November to 10th December.  This is a first for me! But I am really excited by what the campaign could deliver for DRCC and it has been exciting to work with the team and adapt our fundraising skills.

DRCC’s campaign is called Sexual Violence: #16stats in 16 days and will raise awareness about the reality of sexual violence across Ireland, as well as replace lost funds elsewhere. Every day for 16 days, DRCC will post a different statistic about sexual violence across our social channels. Everyone can help by sharing these, using the hashtag #16stats, to spread our messages far and wide and help DRCC’s first digital fundraising campaign succeed!

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What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Covid-19 is has definitely presented the biggest challenge in my career to date! While many funders and the public have continued to be very generous, the pace of new business (bringing on board new corporate and philanthropic partners) has definitely slowed down. Before covid, I would say the biggest challenge is keeping yourself and the team motivated when you have a run of declines or “no’s” from potential funders. Sometimes they come thick and fast – so celebrating the wins is hugely important.


How do you relax?

I work at a fast pace and I like a busy environment, so it is important that I find a way to unwind! I love running and have completed a few marathons in the past. I ran Achill half in 2018 and I have a place booked for Connemara half when it is reinstated post Covid!


What skills and personality traits do you think are essential for a job like yours?

In my opinion, the best traits of a successful fundraiser are tenacity (to continue pursuing funding leads relentlessly until they say either yes or no) and adaptability. You need to listen to your prospects and funders so that you can firstly draw on your knowledge of the charity to present the elements that they would be interested in, and then to build a relationship that delivers what they are looking for.


What’s your advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the same field?

My early experience in an admin role really helped me to succeed in the sector – I can’t emphasise enough how helpful that broad understanding of a charity has been in every subsequent role. I would also encourage people to hold out for a cause that they believe in – in fundraising you are selling that charity every day so it is important that you are sincere and genuinely care about the cause.



What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

A former colleague, and a good friend, shared the OAR / BED model with me several years ago. It is a great way to quickly consider the behaviours you want to enact or see in others (“above the line”) and those that you don’t (“below the line”). The idea is that under the line, we find other reasons for what has happened, but above the line we look to what we did/could have done. I try to live above the line and encourage my teams to do the same!



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What has been the best moment of your career so far?

My proudest fundraising moment was establishing a new major donor income stream at Young Enterprise where I worked for 6 years – the day it reached £1m was a big achievement – and when it sustained £1m for another 2 years, it felt even better! Although the stand out highlights for me are the people I have met during my career. In the UK I predominantly worked for youth charities and there are 2 young people that I will never forget. One who became homeless as a single parent but went on to start their own successful business with the support of the charity. Another who moved through several foster homes before moving into independent living while caring for their siblings; they got involved with numerous youth groups despite the huge personal responsibilities they had at a young age. Seeing the difference that charities I worked for made to 2 amazing people like these remind me why I go to work every day.



What are you looking forward to in the year ahead career wise?

My role at DRCC is a new position. In one year’s time, I hope to look back at a number of new funding partners that have joined DRCC and feel proud of the improved diversity of our funding. Equally, DRCC is launching several new projects to support victims of sexual violence and it will be very exciting to raise money for these projects as they improve access to therapy and counselling.



If you’re a professional who works in the not-for-profit sector and you’re interested in taking part in the ‘My Charity Career’ interview series, please get in touch by emailing Laura, our Head of Recruitment at   We’d love to hear from you!




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My first day of work as Development Manager with Irish Chamber Orchestra was Monday 25th May, nearing the end of the country’s first lockdown. Needless to say, it wasn’t a usual first day! I introduced myself to my colleagues from my sitting room over Zoom and it would be some time before we got to meet each other in the flesh. For a while, there was a running joke as to whether or not I was a real person!

Very quickly I became part of the ICO Family; a testament to the lovely people I get to work alongside. My colleagues are warm, supportive, creative, and incredibly funny, all of which have made my first few months working in a new role – especially during a pandemic – considerably easier and extremely enjoyable.

Some of the highlights over the past six months include our daily online team meetings, our weekly social media planning meetings in which we develop our online content including, ‘Magic Moments’, ‘During the Interval’, ‘I Create Online’, ‘Oboe Windfree’, ‘My Instrument and I’ and, of course, our online concert streams. Hearing the orchestra play live for the first time in Kilkenny and thereafter in the University Concert Hall, Limerick, as well as getting to meet some of the inspiring participants of the organisation’s Community Outreach programmes have had a profound effect on me both personally and professionally. I’ve been deeply moved and further inspired by both arms of this incredible organisation.

As a fundraiser, taking part in the RAISE programme and learning from and being mentored by the trailblazing Mary O’Kennedy has been a particular highlight for me professionally. Within a Covid fundraising context, there have, of course, been challenges, particularly when many businesses and companies have been closed or are struggling financially. However, over the years, I’ve learned the power of patience and perseverance. We were delighted to recently welcome KMPM Property Management as a new Corporate Sponsor. From a development perspective, there are a number of exciting campaigns and projects coming up and in development, including our upcoming Christmas Campaign and our call to action online series, ‘Strike a Chord’.

As an organisation, Irish Chamber Orchestra represents and embodies great leadership, collaborative team work, pioneering creativity – both online and in terms of live performances – adaptability, excellence, and an immense curiosity to try new things. The people who make up the organisation are experts in their respective fields, are fearless in their execution, and are both inspired and inspiring beyond measure. Despite primarily working from my sitting room these past six months, I have been exposed to and experienced all of these life and work-enhancing influences. In the months ahead, I look forward to experiencing them first hand in our beautiful ICO Studio in the University of Limerick. I can confidently say, I have found my Tribe.


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Monthly career interview with professionals in the not-for-profit sector

My Charity Career

What is your current role and how long have you been working in it?

I have been Director of Development with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland since March of this year having joined SEI as Development Manager in April 2019.

How did you get to where you are today and what influenced your decision to work in your chosen field?

I graduated with a languages degree from the University of Edinburgh at the height of the last recession. I returned to Dublin and began temping at a fast-growing field marketing company. Luckily for me, after a month there I was hired permanently as an account executive working on national FMCG accounts. This was a steep learning curve for me coming from an arts background, but I loved the challenge and the business environment.

Soon after, I joined a semi-professional choir in Dublin and began acting as their manager in a voluntary capacity, alongside my day job. After a year or so, it became clear to me that I wanted to apply my business development skills in other sectors, which led to a Masters in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at University College Dublin. I then spent half a decade working in development and production roles with Tenebrae Choir, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin.  I loved the variety and creativity of the music business, and how passionate and committed my colleagues were to their work even though a career in this industry can be full of risk and uncertainty.

In many ways this made my move to Social Entrepreneurs Ireland a natural next step – working with another community of inspiring, creative people who are committed to taking action despite the journey being risky and lonely.

What do you love/enjoy most about your job?

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland believes that people can solve Ireland’s social problems. As a result, the SEI community is made up of some of the country’s most inspiring, dedicated and socially-minded individuals. Getting to work collaboratively with people from across all aspects of this community – social entrepreneurs, supporters, the SEI team and our board of directors – fills my days with interesting, ambitious conversations where I am inspired, challenged to think bigger, and always learning.

And what are the most challenging parts of your job?

Many people would rightly say that fundraising is one of the most challenging aspects of any organisation, and the current economic climate adds more truth to that statement. However, SEI has for many years lived by the motto that ‘impact drives income’ – and the impact of our community over the last fifteen years has attracted an incredible network of visionary individuals, businesses and charitable foundations to be part of SEI’s work.  Our relationship-based funding model allows time for our supporters to build deep understanding of our community and create significant and lasting impact across Ireland by engaging not only as funders but as contributors, advisors and active participants in our work. Our supporters walk the path with us – that has never been more true than over the last six months – and face these challenges side by side with us on the journey.

How do you relax?

While a few things are always part of my day – playing music, walking, cooking, listening to podcasts – I firmly believe in the saying ‘a change is as good as a rest’!  I am always looking for something new to occupy and challenge my mind. At the moment I’m taking an online French language course at the Alliance Française.

What skills and personality traits do you think are essential for a job like yours?

The SEI organisational values are Visionary, Authentic, and Impact-driven – so we aspire to emulate those as a team. In addition I think the important skills and traits for any development professional are: curious, resilient, supportive, problem-solver, reflective, collaborative and active listener.

What’s your advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the same field?

One of the things that amazes me about the not for profit sector is that almost no two people ever have the same experience or career path. At SEI I have colleagues that have backgrounds in the arts, teaching, finance, sales, advocacy – this diversity brings together an incredible pool of knowledge and experience and directs it towards a shared vision.

If you are looking for a career change into this field, don’t underestimate the value of your transferable skills, especially sales experience as building a sustainable revenue model is crucial; charitable organisations are businesses too. It’s always good to bear in mind that not for profits very often run on a leaner team relative to the impact they deliver, so roles tend to be much broader in remit and therefore strong teamwork is essential!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Years ago a good friend said to me ‘How you spend your days is how you live your life’. It’s a reminder that tomorrow is never guaranteed – so spend today with good people, do good work, and have fun along the way.

What has been the best moment of your career so far?

One of the most memorable moments of my career was arriving at Carnegie Hall in New York on St Patrick’s Weekend 2019 for the Choral Scholars’ debut performance there. After more than a year of fundraising, planning and co-ordinating the tour arrangements for an ensemble of 35 singers, musicians and crew – seeing this group of young singers finally take to that legendary stage for a sold-out concert was a very emotional moment, not only for me but for the hundreds of diaspora, Irish-Americans and New Yorkers who came to hear them that night.

What are your career aspirations?

I feel very privileged to have been entrusted with a leadership role at SEI earlier this year. I’m energised and focussed on developing my skills in this role to support our fantastic Development team to increase SEI’s impact by growing our partnerships and income over the coming years. I would love to do more professional qualifications and further study in the future as well. At 75 years old, my grandaunt graduated from UCD with a PhD, having left school at the age of 12. She is the epitome of lifelong learning and a great example that everything is possible!

If you’re a professional who works in the not-for-profit sector and you’re interested in taking part in the ‘My Charity Career’ interview series, please get in touch by emailing Laura, our Head of Recruitment at   We’d love to hear from you!

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Last month we created a Covid-19 Staffing & Recruitment Survey in collaboration with Charities Institute Ireland (Cii) and we are pleased to report that 47 charities of varying size and purpose responded. We hope you will take a moment to read over our findings as we believe they can provide you with useful insights into the best path forward in terms of staff engagement and recruitment in the months ahead


Firstly, respondents reported that the Covid19 wage subsidy scheme helped many organisations through the initial shock of the pandemic, with 47% of those surveyed availing of the scheme. As we know, many businesses around the country have had to resort to laying off staff due to the loss of income so we are pleased to report 85% of our respondents have been able to retain all of their staff, with 8.5% having to implement temporary redundancies and 6% requiring permanent redundancies. Whilst it is encouraging to see that the majority of organisations surveyed were able to maintain pre-Covid staffing levels, this has for many come at the cost of hours or salary cuts; with 15% reporting the need to introduce 20% pay cuts whilst maintaining the same level of work output and others mentioning the need to reduce hours by between 20% and 40% based on a reduction in workload (this was largely concentrated in events and community fundraising roles). Although these wage cuts and reduced hours are not something any industry wants to implement it is important to note that many of these decisions were necessitated to maintain sustainable work for employees and the implementation of such policies are ultimately preferable to closures or redundancies.


We have all had to adapt to changed work practices – prior to the pandemic the majority of us could not see ourselves being able to maintain our work output outside of the office environment. However, the survey results show that the charity sector has been able to pivot into a new daily routine; with 83% of charities noting that they would continue to allow their staff work remotely post lockdown. CCI was pleased to see this result as we often have interest in roles from high caliber candidates outside of the major cities who are seeking remote and flexible working arrangements. When much of the conversation surrounding Covid19’s impact on employment has been negative, it is important to highlight the positive outcomes; charities are learning that a traditional office environment is no longer essential for all workers. This is particularly important when it comes to the new reality and that many employees will be balancing family life and work commitments to a greater extent as Ireland navigates its way into a changed future.


Of course there are many roles that operate less effectively on a remote basis and the office environment will still have a key role to play for these groups. The sector had made strides in catering for a more flexible work schedule prior to Covid19, but many were nervous to implement the change; with concern over reduced productivity when staff were given a degree of flexibility holding some back. Prior to Covid 19 lockdown, 47% of respondents had a flexible work policy in place, and these organisations saw no reduction in productivity. Lockdown forced other charities to implement a more flexible work ethos given the requirements to work from home 38% of the remaining respondents noted increased staff productivity during the pandemic. The remaining 15% noticed an overall decrease in staff productivity, with many noting that certain roles are less easily transferred to a home environment and that while some individual staff struggled with the transition, most transitioned well. These statistics are welcome news to CCI and we would encourage those who have not done so yet to look into creating a flexible work policy, where possible, as it can help you secure the best candidates in future recruitment campaigns and helps boost employee productivity as confidence comes with a little more control of their time.




Specific areas that have been negatively impacted by Covid19 


As the yellow graph above shows; fundraising departments have been majorly impacted by the pandemic. In what has been a hugely challenging time for many, maintaining productivity and adapting to new ways of delivering services will require diversifying employee skills. We have seen an increase of recruitment of staff with strong digital skills, and whilst there are specific roles that may require new recruitment campaigns, such as sourcing experienced digital marketers or IT specialists, many of our respondents mentioned that they are using the extra time their staff may have to repurpose their employees’ roles and are helping them to learn new digital skills. The ability to diversify your staff is imperative in order to regain income streams that have been lost. We noted that some organisations are moving away from traditional community fundraising and increasing their emphasis on grant applications, corporate fundraising, and digital campaigns. The not for profit sector, now more than ever, needs to focus on modernising their fundraising strategies and supporting fundraisers with a proven track record of innovation.


For some, a recruitment freeze has been put in place due to the reduction of funds. With organisations noting that their ability to recruit in the future is strongly linked to their fundraising department’s success. However, the responses showed us that 58% of organisations have been using recruitment to diversify employee roles during the pandemic (the specific areas of recruitment can be seen in the gree graph above).


Over 38% of respondents postponed or canceled recruitment plans due to the pandemic. However, looking forward, many organisations have plans to recruit in the latter part of this year; with 57.5% stating that they plan to recruit in quarters 3 and 4 of 2020.


At CCI we have been working on online recruitment strategies and have successfully completed processes for charities recruiting at all levels for all types of roles. We are encouraged to see that almost 70% believe that online candidate screening, shortlisting and interviewing can play a useful part in their recruitment processes. Whilst shifting your recruitment strategies online may seem a daunting experience, we are here to help and advise.


If after reading this,  you have any questions regarding online recruitment or what strategies would best suit your organisation we would love to hear from you. Call us on 01 5242807 or email us at

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The world around us is unrecognisable but the great success story of the human race is that we adapt to change, sometimes for the better.

Shutdowns and social distancing guidelines in response to COVID-19 have led a vast number of industries to move their operations to virtual overnight. Most have done this very successfully and are even seeing some benefits. Hiring managers are faced with the prospect of either putting a freeze on vital new appointments or conducting their recruitment in this virtual environment.

Our message is – do not set yourself backwards by freezing your recruitment, especially as restrictions are likely to last for many months to come. You had valid reasons for creating or needing this role filled. Do not abandon your strategic plan and put yourself in a weaker position when things return to normal (or semi-normal).

When your hires are strategically important to the impact your organisation makes, it’s understandable to want to have a physical meeting with your appointee to build a rapport, pick up on body language, and get a sense of the energy he or she brings. However, through planning, co-ordination, and best practices, hiring can be adapted for our new virtual workstyle in the same way much of our other work has. CCI has supported the recruitment of a number of posts through this crisis – it can be done.

We have prepared some guidelines to support you in conducting a full and comprehensive recruitment process virtually which will give you the confidence to make a job offer.

Stage 1: Individual, pre-interview screening sessions

This involves narrowing down a lengthy list of candidates and identifying the stronger ones to bring forward in the process. Virtual tools make this process incredibly efficient. First stage, screening interviews are done by CCI via Zoom and interrogate a candidate’s skills and experience as well as ensuring their values are aligned with the organisation’s. Even in a virtual environment, we are able to assess a candidates’ communication and engagement skills, body language, personality traits etc.

Stage 2: First round, individual interviews with key team-members or stakeholders

Once we have presented you with a shortlist of candidates who can do and want this job, we would ask you to narrow down the shortlist further by selecting the candidates you would like to bring forward for a n official interview. Then, we would ask you to identify key team-members or individuals within the organisation who have a vested interest in getting to know the candidates, and arrange 20-30 minute 1:1 remote interviews during which each team member probes for a specific competency. We recommend each person capture interview feedback centrally and independently, then review and discuss as a group to identify recurring themes that emerged in the interviews.

Stage 3: Panel interview with hiring team

A more in-depth panel interview with final candidates can help you understand their behaviours in different circumstances, ask more in-depth questions around their motivations and how they might do a job, and get a sense of how they will fit as part of a team. You could also introduce a presentation or task at the interview stage.

Stage 4: Narrow the candidates down to the final one or two

Create a different environment, albeit virtually, to get a different perspective of the candidate. This could be an informal chat over coffee or an early evening drink to see the more personal side of the professional that has already impressed. The questions would be different and give you an idea of how they would engage with the Board, volunteers, supporters, stakeholders in a more relaxed setting or at an event. This could give you added insight as you also get to see them in their home environment, an added bonus.

Stage 5: Extending the probationary period

You do have the option of negotiating an extended probationary period with the candidate due to these exceptional circumstances and not having met them in person. This gives you added security if, on taking up their post, you discover there is a lack of rapport or more serious issue that is a barrier to them being effective in their role.

Getting the most out of Virtual Interviews

Well-conducted video interviews let you efficiently rule out weaker candidates and piece together a fuller picture of your candidates later in the process. Preparing for virtual interviews is the same as preparing for face-to-face ones, and it is key to determine:

  • The assessment needs for the position: 1:1 interviews or a panel, written assessment or presentation, any challenging assignments, etc.
  • Technology being used and any IT support needed
  • How interviewers at different stages will avoid duplicating questions and share the results of their assessments centrally
  • Priority areas or competencies each interviewer will probe for assigned in advance
  • How to communicate the process, technology being used, interviewees and other necessary information with candidates

We recommend these guidelines to help prepare for virtual interviews during all stages of the recruitment process:

Have an Objective

Plan ahead and consider what you need to hear from a candidate for him or her to advance to the next stage of the process. This means prioritising the most important responsibilities of the job and weighing up the candidate’s suitability and capability against these. This will help guide the questions you’ll ask during the interview.

Prepare Questions and Structure

The best telephone or video interviews are conversational and dynamic, giving both the employer and the candidate the flexibility to explore if it is a good fit. Having a planned structure will eliminate any lapses or awkwardness in the discussion, helping the candidate feel more at-ease and ensuring you get the information you need from the interview. It can be useful to have between five and ten questions planned in advance, depending on the level of the position and how far in the process the interview is. It may be helpful to prepare questions to give you a sense of the candidate’s remote working experience, and how he or she might deal with the associated challenges.

CCI can support you by writing draft interview questions to ensure you get the most out of the candidate.

Who’s Calling Who?

To help the process go smoothly for yourself and the candidate, clear communication on the logistics of the interview can go a long way. Ensure the candidate knows the start and expected finish time for the call (keeping time zones in mind if appropriate). Sharing contact details is important, and as the employer it is a good idea to lead the exchange by agreeing that you will call the candidate.

CCI will manage this whole process and ensure there is a back-up plan if the technology fails on the day.

Prepare Your Environment

Where you conduct an interview can make a big difference. If possible, try finding a room where you won’t be disturbed. Ensure you have the lighting and setup ready to go if using a video interview.

It will be important to recognise that at times disturbances can’t be avoided. Family life and work life are converged more than ever. In many ways, managing the unplanned intrusions during an interview can often provide good insight into how the candidate deals with pressure or an unplanned event. But it will also make a difference to be forgiving of disruptions and glitches as we all adapt to these new circumstances.

Put the Candidate at Ease

Telephone or interviews by video conference can feel awkward and stressful at the best of times, even without a global pandemic. The pressure on candidates can bring out their nerves, but in an environment where reading body language is more difficult, it’s easy for the nerves to be misread.

It will be important to give the candidate the opportunity to shine by starting with conversation and ‘ease-in’ questions. If possible, leave the trickier questions to the later stages of the interview and hiring process, where the candidate will have had a better chance to settle into the situation.

In Summary

Virtual interviews have their advantages. They help you quickly eliminate candidates who don’t meet the job requirements while sparing everyone the time, expense, and carbon footprint of travel for a face-to-face interview. They force us to create a more robust interview process in which we really take the time to get to know candidates before making a decision.

What hiring decision-makers struggle with are the components of an interview that are lost in translation virtually: social cues, the ability to quickly connect and build a genuine rapport, seeing how the candidate reacts to the working environment, his or her attitudes and energy. All of these things factor into the vital final hiring decision, so proceeding without them makes us wary. The steps outlined above should enable you to hire with confidence. The alternative is to put yourself in a more vulnerable position, especially when it comes to gaps in leadership positions. Remember, it can take 6 months from the start of a recruitment process until the person takes up their post. You should not delay!

While traditional practice is to hire a new employee only after a face-to-face meeting, current circumstances call for us to adapt and creatively respond to the challenges COVID-19 has presented us. With thoughtful planning, consideration for your organisation’s specific circumstances, and the proper tools and setup, virtual end-to-end recruitment can be successful.

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As the country prepares for the phased lifting of restrictions and a return to work, companies are devising protocols in a bid to allay workers’ genuine concerns. But what happens when you know the parameters – and still feeling the fear regardless? CCI Associate Consultant & Change Coach, Niamh Ennis, lays out your road map back to your workplace.

“To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.” This quote is attributed to Winston Churchill, but of course he wasn’t talking about how to manage the changes to our working lives we all face in the aftermath of Covid-19.

When surrounded by uncertainty, it pays to focus on what we do know for sure. What we know is that we are on our way back to offices, slowly introducing previous structures back into our lives. We know the process is phased, and we also know that it’s a moving field and may be pushed forward or back, depending on certain outcomes. We know it will be different, and we are becoming more accustomed to the idea that our working lives will now feature heat thermometers, perspex dividers, foot push plates, health packs and disposable masks and gloves.

We can at last see a way forward, and there’s a certain comfort in that.

But what about the individual worker? How can we reassure those who are now feeling anxious, not just about their job security but also with how returning to work might impact on their health?

How can we support those who, even unknowingly, have been traumatised by all that has happened over the last few months and are now feeling fearful about the prospect of leaving the safety of their own home to re-enter the working world?

Tough decisions

Recruitment is a good barometer of any economy, says Barbara McGrath, managing director of the Brightwater Group.

“Just like so many others, we at Brightwater had to make some tough decisions regarding layoffs, pay cuts and reduced working hours,” McGrath says. “But against that difficult backdrop, we are now looking at slowly getting people back into work and have an initial framework of early July for that to begin happening, albeit in a staged phase scenario.  Our staff are by nature ‘people people’, and many are bursting to get back.

“We are putting everything in place that we need to, to ensure their health and safety and to enable those who want to, to come back. It’s about offering choice. It’s about improved communication and discovering what each of the individual needs are, and meeting them.”

The reality is that not all employees are peachy keen to get back to how things were before. Moreover, many are feeling “institutionalised” at home. The idea of returning to work is stirring up feelings of fear. So how should they handle this at a time when we are all feeling a lot more vulnerable?

Clinical psychologist Dr Elizabeth McCrory believes that management has a real duty of care to their teams and employees, now more than ever.

“Communication is going to be paramount in helping all workforces come through this,” she says. “Regular, open and honest dialogue needs to continue between management and staff. HR policies will need to be rewritten to reflect the new working conditions, including clarity around our working environment and set up, expected working hours, the addition of Covid-19 sick leave, annual leave – the list goes on.

“I’m also hearing a lot of talk from employees who are struggling to manage their own guilt. Guilt that they are not doing enough, watching their colleagues upskill, doing online courses, being available for meetings.”

What this proves is that experiences of how we are coping are varying hugely. Barbara McGrath is sure of one thing. “An engaged and informed workforce is most definitely a happier one and by default a more productive one,” she says. “If your employees are kept fully informed of your key decisions along the way, they won’t feel blindsided and it will go a long way to alleviating their own concerns. Talk to them. Look at all options. Giving your employees more choices is always the right way to do this.”

Since the introduction of lockdown, we have witnessed so many people learning to really slow down. The “busyness“ of everyday life was removed and in its place was a forced period of reflection.  How many of us succumbed to the sourdough or banana bread production lines? How many discovered their green-fingered tendencies and found themselves hunched over window boxes or grow bags with the promise of popular herbs and vegetables? We can’t deny there has been a return to nature, to a much simpler way of living.

For some, this has resulted in them questioning how they want to live their life going forward. What if they have experienced a shift in priorities and just don’t want to go back to the old way of doing things?

Rash decisions

Elizabeth McCrory has some clear guidance for these employees. “Don’t make any rash decisions,” she says. “We need to rediscover the rhythm to our lives again. Allow yourself a few months, as the restrictions are being slowly lifted, to find that rhythm again in your life – and then, armed with more information, you can decide down the line what is going to work best for you.”

Remember that upheaval happened so suddenly. One day you were at your desk working away surrounded by your colleagues, the next you were at your kitchen table with your computer for company. Add to this the financial worries and the challenge of processing all that is happening in our world, and it is no wonder that so many have felt overwhelmed.

Employees are adapting to working without the usual office support systems, to varying degrees of success. Staff morale has also taken a massive dent now that there are no more watercooler moments, shared laughter or in-person connections within offices and teams.

McCrory encourages employers “to consider ways that they can facilitate the coming back together to connect, laugh, smile and chat. Staff are missing this right now. They’re really missing their community and that sense of a shared connection”.

What, however, happens when a majority of employees prefer to work from home, and are being facilitated to continue in this vein?

Vanessa Tierney, chief executive of, concedes that their business is benefitting from this new way of working. Its online platform empowers people and businesses with smartworking, helping companies become more agile and adaptable, and people to provide and improve their skills virtually in their remote careers.

Tierney reports a significant increase in people registering with their platform in the past two months. “Before, we had to spend some time selling the benefits of remote working to employers,” she says. “Now we don’t. They can see the benefits for themselves unfolding all around them right now. Remote working is here to stay.”

The past few months have shown us that even the most robust strategies are no defence against something like Covid-19. We can see that nothing in work or business, or indeed life, is certain, and that ultimately we have little control when it comes to global crises such as the one we are living through.

So what have we learned about ourselves and our working lives, and how can we collate everything that we now know and use it to best support our workers returning to work?

We have learned that improved two-way communication is going to be critical in how we come through this, and we’ve recognised the importance of creating space for our teams to feel free to speak openly and honestly to their managers if they have any concerns around health and safety.

If you are feeling anxious about using public transport for your commute, for example, share this with your manager. Ask where the flexibility lies. Open the dialogue and you may be surprised where it will take you.

If childcare is an issue for you right now, speak with your manager with a view to an arrangement where you are not measured on being present but on your output and results. Again, look for the flexibility.

Where you can, regain control with things such as creating a better balance in your life, connecting with your community and tuning in to what you have learned about yourself and others during the past few months.

Things will never be as they were before. But perhaps that’s okay. If we have learned just one thing from the last two months, it is just how versatile we are, from people cutting holes in their shopfronts to serve coffee from, to those who quickly brought their businesses online despite never previously thinking about doing this.

As a transformation coach, I know just how capable humans can be when adapting to change. While we have adjusted well to social distancing and lockdown, the next stage will also evolve in front of us. And while that’s happening, it’s time for you to find your rhythm again, what feels right and comfortable for you and then set about making that work for you, in your own way and at your own pace. Always at your own pace.

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Niamh Ennis is a leading transformation coach working with clients who feel ready to make significant changes in their lives, as well as those who need help navigating the unwelcome changes in their lives. She is hosting her next free online workshop entitled Don’t Dim To Fit In this Friday, 22nd May, at 11am. For more information, or to register for the workshop, go to