Annual Report

April 2021 - March 2022

We are Charity People

For over 30 years, we’ve recruited extraordinarily talented people into rewarding and vital positions at some of the biggest and smallest non-profit organisations in the UK. We pride ourselves on doing things a bit differently to other recruiters, working with a variety of non-profit organisations to help them recruit more effectively, more efficiently and more inclusively. We’re not interested in quick wins; we want to deliver impactful recruitment – appointments that can genuinely change the world.

Message from MD

Charity People was born in 1990 but this is our very first annual report. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this. As is often the case you can lose track of the progress you have made in the day to day but it has been a cathartic process to look back at some of the highlights of the last 12 months. As you will see we have been busy and we feel very far away from onset of the pandemic and what was subsequently the low point of my time in recruitment (a pipeline dropping by 95% will create a low point!). Reflecting now, it feels like 2020 really gave us an opportunity to reset as a business, and so with the benefit of hindsight we can start to look positively at the progress we have made since then; progress that I am sure was accelerated by crisis.

It seems funny to think that 12 months ago we were still only allowed out to socialise in groups of 6 and at Charity People we were still only handling about 50% of the number of roles that we would expect to. Since that time we have seen a real recovery in the market, we’re now busier than we ever were pre-Covid, and that, I am sure, is down to the hard work and ingenuity of the staff that we have retained and recruited, internally.

As we look forward to our new Financial Year we anticipate a period of consolidation. We have increased our headcount by 60% in this past year, growth that was driven by demand. We know we have a busy year ahead ensuring that our new staff members are guided and supported so that they can, in turn, do the same with our clients recruitment challenges. As always I know we can play our part in changing the world by introducing the right people to the right organisation. In many cases quite literally changing the world.

I hope the following is of interest and I’m always keen to speak with colleagues across the sector particularly to share ideas and challenges.


Nick Billingham

Our Achievements


As a recruitment agency we have gone from strength to strength, both in size, growing from 18 to 30 people over the last year, and in how we collaborate with the organisations and individuals we work with, ensuring our values are always evident in our work. Linked to this, we made some key hires during the year such as Tiku van Houtem heading up Board & Leadership, Emma Adams leading our Fundraising team across Charity and Higher Education and Angela Chellappah who is our Recruitment Manager for Finance. We look forward to you meeting them!

Key projects

Our clients choose us because of our experience, collaborative approach and transparency, and we were delighted to work on a number of key projects with organisations such as Guide Dogs, Eden, and Guys & St Thomas in 2021/22. These projects represent exactly how we see ourselves working in the future: a real partnership with both parties collaborating to market the opportunities in a way that attracts the right talent.

New website and increased marketing focus

At the beginning of 2021 we increased our marketing efforts, to share what we are working on externally and to support our employees with increased internal communications as we grow. The first output of this was a snazzy new website with improved user journeys and more engaging content, and our efforts have continued throughout the year with a new e-comms strategy and the production of a suite of videos and interviews with our consultants to better convey who we are and why we love what we do.

New offices

After 10 years in our old offices, we have moved into 5 Tanner Street, Bermondsey. With more of us now wanting to spend time in the office, we needed somewhere bigger in a great London location that offered us a mixture of private and shared workspaces. Come and visit us!

New internal career pathway

Knowing the value of retaining our own staff, we established an internal career pathway in 2021. This provides three different routes for our staff to progress in their careers at the company whatever their core skills. The clarity this has given staff and managers has already been hugely beneficial.

Longest-standing employee

Danny Swift, our Operations Manager at Charity People, this year celebrated being with us for 25 years! Our go-to guy for all things technical, there is nothing Danny doesn’t know about Charity People, and we would be lost without him.

The power of mentoring

The start of 2022 saw the exciting launch of the Charity People Mentoring Network, by our Associate Director of Board & Leadership, Tiku van Houtem. Open to new charity CEOs who have been in their post for less than 18 to 24 months or to aspiring CEOs, the scheme is a no-fuss, pro-bono programme. Our mentors are all experienced CEOs with track records of growing organisations and have a deep understanding of the charity sector.

Specialism focus

Working with senior leaders and Boards is something that we’ve done for years, but not with a dedicated focus. This year, with Tiku joining us, we gave this important specialism a re-launch, offering our clients the opportunity to work with a team as committed to finding transformational leaders as they are.

Our long-standing relationships with our clients and knowledge of the charity sector have earned us a reputation for identifying the best leaders and recruiting them for longevity within an organisation. One of our passions is building agile, diverse and engaged Boards that enable charities to really thrive and deliver on their mission.


Candidate shortage

As we evolve through the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing a very competitive recruitment market. The ‘great resignation’ didn’t happen, certainly not in the guise we were expecting at one point, leading to a candidate shortage across all areas of the UK charity market, with burnout and low pay leaving many charities struggling to retain staff and recruit replacements. This is clearly a concern as charities unable to fill necessary vacancies may be unable to carry out vital work. As a repercussion of this, we are seeing more and more clients turning to experienced recruiters to support them with their hiring needs.

Virtual hiring and on-boarding

During the height of the pandemic in 2020 when most people were working remotely, we had to adapt our systems and operations to ensure we could still offer our clients and candidates an exceptional service. Whilst 2021 saw a move towards more face-to-face meetings, the majority are still online and it’s often only last interviews that might be conducted in person. This has put a far stronger emphasis of trust and responsibility on the recruiter, and we have worked hard to ensure our due diligence is exemplary for candidates we are putting forward for roles, not only in terms of capability and inclusion but also for the culture add they will bring. We are proud of the relationships we have with the people we work with and our repeat business figure of 21% in this year supports our aspiration to delight our clients and see them returning again and again.

Mental health and wellness of staff

At Charity People we are committed to the wellbeing of all our staff, as we are to that of the candidates we place and work with. As our Senior Consultant, Philippa Randle found out when she spoke with wellbeing expert, Claire Warner, the pandemic has created a wellbeing crisis. Ensuring your organisation has a clear set of priorities that all staff are aware of to help them manage their workload, and making sure the leadership team openly make use of wellbeing policies such as mental health days, are two top tips we took from this chat and implemented. Our internal social committee continue to think creatively about ways to bring our team together on a monthly basis. Alongside this we have continued with the “Support Squad” initiative that we started during the height of COVID-19. This scheme encourages staff to reach out to volunteers within the company with any concerns or worries they may have.

External threats

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic moving gradually towards an endemic state, the impact of it will be felt for many years to come, and the war in Ukraine is affecting skills and labour. The continued feeling of uncertainty will undoubtedly impact candidates’ confidence in making career decisions – and this is something we’ll need to adapt to accordingly.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

EDI has been a focus for Charity People for a number of years and 2022 will be no different. We are always striving to improve our targeted and inclusive recruitment processes to help improve sector diversity, and we work in partnership with many organisations that support diversity, recognising the strength these partnerships provide.

We carried out regular surveys in 2021/22, posting the data to our audiences to recognise and support the work that still needs to be done. We hope to see these numbers evolve as we continue our diversity journey and continue to match more candidates from underrepresented groups with charities and non-profits. You can read more about our commitments to diversity here.

“The non-profit sector has significant work to do to become more representative of the communities it serves. My role is to support Charity People and our clients to recruit inclusively as we work together to create a diverse, vibrant sector.”

Hanan Kasmi

Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion


Staff retention

We are very proud of our staff retention rate at Charity People. It currently stands at 84% (the average for the recruitment industry is 60%), but our aspiration is to increase it to 90% in 2022. The longer our staff stay with us, the greater their understanding of the sector and our clients. A continued focus on our employee wellbeing and an increased one on our internal communications and support systems, should hopefully aid us in this endeavour.

B Corp

In 2022, Charity People are undertaking the exciting process of becoming a Certified B Corp Company, aiming to join the 4,892 companies across 79 countries and 153 industries that are making business a force for good. To achieve this status, we will need to look in detail at the impact of our decisions on our staff, customers and suppliers, the community and the environment. Watch this space for more info!

Specialism focus

In the last year we have made a concerted effort to focus on the re-launch and growth of our Board & Leadership and Higher Education specialisms with good success, but we have a wider ambition to eventually be able to serve our clients for whatever role they need within the UK Charity sector.

Marketing highlights

With an increased focus on our marketing efforts in the last year or so, we have had a lot going on! Some key highlights would be:

  • Re-doing our website. Working with the team at OXygen we conducted a user analysis of our website, before drawing up new wireframes and working closely with the developer to ensure our audience were getting all the information they needed, in a way that was clear and easy to understand. The result; a monthly increase of +30% in users spending markedly more time on the page.
  • Launching our own email newsletter, including emails on leadership to charity sector CEOs. “I wanted to say that I really enjoy your leadership emails, you always include thought provoking topics and your refreshing approach to managing people and culture shines through.”
  • Growing our LinkedIn followers by nearly 10,000 in 2021, by providing relevant and engaging content for our clients and candidates, and giving them information and support when they need it
  • Launching a YouTube channel to host our brand videos and our new monthly educational webinars. Check it out here.

Income by Specialism






HR & Office Support


Temp & Interim


Board & Leadership






Data Management, Marketing, Communications & Digital

2021 in numbers


Candidates registered


Candidates placed


Clients worked with


Repeat clients

Candidate diversity


Black, Asian or other minoritized ethnic group







Internal diversity


Black, Asian or other minoritized ethnic group







Candidates placed


Thank you for taking the time to read this report – our first and certainly not our last. Its helpful to reflect on what has been a momentous year for Charity People, but also for us to see the work that still needs to be done and where we should focus for the upcoming year. As an organisation, we strive to continually learn and improve in everything we do – the sector deserves nothing less. I hope you have enjoyed this read and look forward to updating you on our progress next year.