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Creating a supportive space for finance leaders

Managing a charity's finances can be daunting, especially if you're new to the sector. Jon King, Head of Finance and Corporate Resources at SCIE, explains how he developed a new network of peer support and knowledge, with the help of CFG.


“Charity finance can be scary. The operating environment and regulations can change quickly and for those coming into it from another sector, it can be daunting.”

When Jon King left his role at Kent University to join the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as Head of Finance and Corporate Resources, he was acutely aware that he was facing a new set of financial and technical challenges, as well as a new sector with its own regulatory framework.

“I joined SCIE in August 2021, having spent almost 18 years working in a variety of finance roles at the University of Kent,” explains Jon.

“During my tenure there, I was very lucky to have a large support network which included being chair of a finance special interest group, where my group could tackle strategic financial issues and share best practice.”

Joining Charity Finance Group was the first step in Jon’s search for similar professional support. “Being new to this sector, it was very important to me to feel supported, to be able to bounce ideas off colleagues who have perhaps experienced similar issues and, in turn, share advice and support where I could too.

“I knew that CFG provided a range of resources and tools, through the magazine, the CFG website and so on. When I spoke to the team, I realised that there could be even more support.”

Following conversations with CFG’s membership team, Jon hit upon the idea of establishing a group for finance leaders new to the charity sector. And in December 2021, CFG launched the Charity Finance Leaders group to provide a dedicated space for finance professionals looking for support.

The idea was to bring together professionals from smaller charities, to share knowledge and resources, and connect with their peers.

The group instantly took off and has grown steadily in the past year. Finance leaders from more than 25 charities from across the UK now meet regularly to share their best practice, discuss tricky issues and scan the horizon.

Jon continues: “Sometimes you just want to be able to ask a silly question without feeling like it is a silly question. So, it’s a support group where you’re not judged.

“Many of us in the group are at a similar place in our finance journey and we cover a wide range of topics. It has been brilliant so far, really exciting and very rewarding.

“I would like to give a special mention to the membership team, and Zoe Bennett in particular, because without her I’d be lost. She has given the group so much time and support.”

The group holds regular meetings online and uses an online discussion forum where members can post questions as and when they arise. Jon says the group’s expertise is diverse and growing, but there’s always room for more!

“We are always looking to welcome new members to the group. The more we are, the more we can help each other to flourish and grow.”


This article was first published in CFG's Trustees' Annual Report 2021/22.

For more information about CFG membership, please visit our charity membership page or email the Membership Team.



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