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.
April 2021 - March 2022
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.