Focus: Finance and Governance - Trustee talk - Dan Clayton Jones, St John Ambulance Wales

I'm chairman of the trustee board, but the position is referred to as the chancellor at St John Ambulance Wales. I have been chancellor for just over a year now, but I have been a trustee for four and a half years in total.

I was previously chairman of the National Botanic Garden of Wales, where I had to do a lot of fundraising for a millennium project we were involved with. I was then headhunted by St John Ambulance Wales because the charity had no fundraising experience.

St John was fortunate because the charity was left a very large legacy several decades ago. Over the years, the charity made up the shortfall between its running costs and income using that legacy. But the penny dropped about four or five years ago that unless the charity did something the legacy would run out and it would find itself in serious difficulty.

I was asked to take on the role of 'almoner' on the trustee board, which is a fundraising position. Nobody was doing any fundraising at the time, so the board set up a fundraising department, which is now run at a management level.

I think modern charities have to fundraise professionally or die. I am now less hands-on and leave most of the day-to-day activities to the chief executive and the permanent staff. However, I still believe that everyone in the organisation has to be involved with fundraising in one way or another.

This includes trustees as well as management and front-line staff. Everybody has got to be aware that we are in the fundraising business, and they should be providing leads. Trustees might not follow those leads up, but they have got to be feeding the opportunities through to the fundraising department and taking part in events at which we are talking to potential funders.

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