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Meet our Sponsors: HW Fisher

With CFG’s Annual Conference 2022 just around the corner, we talk to Carol Rudge from HW Fisher about this year’s Annual Conference theme – Purposeful and Empowering – and what it means to her and the charities she works with.

What do the words 'purposeful and empowering' mean to you, on a personal level but also as a sector leader?

I think for me, purposeful is where goals align with core values and beliefs. This creates an environment where there are high satisfaction levels as you are doing something that you value. I think that is what attracted me to working with the charity sector as I wanted to work with organisations doing exactly that; making a difference and working towards an ultimate purpose which everyone in the organisation believes in. It makes a huge difference working with people who truly support the organisation’s goal.

In terms of the word empowering, it is important for me as a leader to enable my team to thrive in an ever-changing world and so, to me, empowering means enabling them to make a change themselves and feel proud of that change.

Creating an empowered workplace will help teams to be more engaged, encouraging them to contribute to the development of the organisation and most importantly, building morale and therefore a more successful organisation.


Rapid change and uncertainty are now the norm. What can charity leaders do to ensure they remain connected to their purpose and empower the communities they serve?

I think there are a few things that I have certainly tried to encourage my teams to do over the years. These include:

  • Creating shared goals to work towards, but allowing the goals to be flexed if needed where change occurs and not worrying about revisiting them and amending them if they don’t end up being fit for purpose.
  • Encouraging a safe environment for teams to speak up and contribute their ideas so that they have shared ownership rather than simply being told to do something.
  • Working with people to identify their strengths and then playing to those strengths. This includes providing opportunities for people to either learn something new or find their hidden strengths; this can be incredibly empowering.
  • Always saying thank you. In my view saying thank you goes a long way, and is critical to empowering people, building rapport and ultimately trust.


How is HW Fisher working with charities to help them adapt and stay connected to purpose?

We do this in a number of ways. By having regular communication with our clients, we make sure we have an open dialogue to enable us to support them in whatever way we can, sharing ideas and suggestions, and making connections.

We also bring together trustees to discuss common themes to enable them to hear from their peer group; this sharing of ideas helps support them in governing their charities.

And lastly, one of our core offerings to charities is coaching. We work with members of leadership teams to explore what’s important to them and where they need help, whether it is something happening at work or an idea they are exploring.

Coaching is about working with individuals to support their goals; by asking questions. It’s absolutely not about telling them the answers, so essentially, we create the space for the individual to find the answers for themselves, and therefore those individuals are far more likely to own what they are doing. This way of thinking can then permeate the workforce, thereby creating a real coaching culture across the organisation.


What should charities be looking out for or thinking about in the next six months?

I think the biggest challenge charities will be facing over the next few months is the rising cost of inflation and how they will have to be flexible with their budgets to cope with spiralling costs when their income may not be rising to match those costs.

Another area of consideration for charities is how they retain their people, especially if pay is not increasing at the same rate as elsewhere. This will be easier where they are a great place to work, have well embedded values and talk regularly with everyone to keep listening and adapting to change. Inviting a coaching culture into the organisation which I have talked about previously would also help with making people want to stay and not move on.


Do you have any advice on how charities can remain purposeful and empowering in 2022?

Hopefully some of the ideas that I have shared above can help but ultimately, I think it comes down to communication, feeling a part of something, and being an organisation that everyone feels aligned with, from the board of trustees to the local volunteers.


Many thanks for your time, Carol!


HW Fisher are generously sponsoring CFG's Annual Conference 2022 along with HSBC Private Banking and PIB Insurance Brokers. Find out more.



About Carol Rudge

Carol leads the NFP group at HW Fisher and is Head of Coaching. Carol has worked in the sector for 30 years having followed her passion to become a specialist in this area not long after qualifying as a chartered accountant.

Her experience extends across a very diverse range of clients in terms of both size and activities. This has enabled her to develop significant expertise across all aspects of accounting, assurance and governance as well as strategic issues and risk.

Carol is a member of the Charity Commission’s SORP committee which gives her first-hand knowledge of the technical direction of travel for the sector. She has also been a member of an audit committee of a large international charity.

Carol is an accredited coach and a passionate believer in EDI. Carol joined HW Fisher as a partner in 2021 having previously been a partner and global head of not-for-profit at Grant Thornton.

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