Mark Astarita to leave the British Red Cross and join consultancy

The charity's fundraising director will join Aldrich & Ward in November

Mark Astarita
Mark Astarita

Mark Astarita, fundraising director at the British Red Cross, is leaving the charity to join the fundraising and search consultancy Aldrich & Ward.

The company, founded by Tobin Aldrich and Imogen Ward, will change its name to Astarita Aldrich & Ward when Astarita joins in November.

Astarita has worked for the BRC for 14 years and served as chair of the Institute of Fundraising between 2011 and 2014.

He created controversy in 2013 when, speaking at the IoF’s national awards, he berated charity leaders for not defending the fundraisers who supplied their charities’ incomes, and described them as "cowards" who "run for the hills with their petticoats showing" when fundraising came under attack.

In 2015, Astarita was the subject of a personal attack by the Daily Mail newspaper as part of its undercover investigation of the fundraising tactics used by some major charities.

He was awarded an OBE for his services to the charity sector in 2016.

As part of his new role, Astarita will work with the International Red Cross to lead the consultancy’s work on the creation and implementation of a new global fundraising hub for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.

The hub will help to build fundraising capacity and expertise through strategic input, data analysis and global insight, working with 190 societies across the world, and will advise on fundraising recruitment.

Astarita said the move was exciting and a bit scary.

"I’ve been an advocate for global solutions within the International Red Cross movement for a decade," he said. "It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time and the opportunity came to do something about it. What could I do but step forward?"

He said the move should have been announced about eight weeks ago, but all had gone on hold after the terrorist attack on Manchester and the Grenfell Tower fire. He said the work the charity did as a result of those two events would be among the proudest memories he would take away from his time at the British Red Cross.

"I used to say the thing I was most proud of was the work we did around the bombings of 7 July 2015," Astarita said. "But the past eight weeks have been the most extraordinary and relentless weeks of my life: not only have we raised a lot of money, but we have also distributed a lot of it, and the Red Cross has never been more active in terms of the volunteers deployed.

"I’m very proud of what the organisation has done."

He said he was not receiving a payout to leave BRC and was doing so of his own volition to take up the new opportunity.

Astarita, who was paid £120,000 by the British Red Cross in 2015, according to its annual accounts, said he would be taking a pay cut in his new role.

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