FD in Five Minutes: Henrietta Atkinson

Third Sector speaks to the director of business support at CoppaFeel!

Henrietta Atkinson
Henrietta Atkinson

What made you work in the charity sector? I volunteered throughout school, university and my travels abroad. At school and university, I was involved with education-based volunteering at a school for special needs children. After school, I travelled to Tanzania, where I volunteered with a project for street children. Then, when I lived in South Africa, I was involved with a community-based tourism project, Open Africa, for a few years. When I returned to England, I volunteered for CoppaFeel! a couple of times before I applied for a job.

What do you do outside work? I love the outdoors, spending time with family and friends and getting out to the coast. Hikes in South Africa, the natural environment and travel in general are a passion of mine, and I am lucky to have spent some time living alongside wildlife. Now, with a young family, I am more focused on London-based adventures.

If you were charities minister for the day, what would you do? One of the big challenges for the sector at the moment remains its reputation, I would want to chair a meeting between the Charity Commission and representatives from both small and large charities to discuss how the sector can be both supported and governed better to ensure the public regains its trust. It might be good to also have a minster from the Treasury in the meeting to make sure the funds were available for it to be effective.

Are you optimistic for the future of the charity sector? I think there will be many changes ahead. The impact of new technology on fundraising and systems, alongside increased scrutiny, will ensure a robust sector where the public can have increased confidence in our efficacy and beneficiaries receive the best care and support. We work with incredible teams of university students at CoppaFeel! – enthusiastic and committed – and I am confident they will be the leaders we need in a few years' time.

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