Peter Cardy: Mentors, bonuses and the year ahead

Plus: the sector veteran offers advice on social media and unwanted approaches

Peter Cardy
Peter Cardy

Q. I feel in need of some personal development. I've been in the same job for six years and although I think I'm adapting well to the growth and change of the organisation, I'd like to be able to test this with someone more experienced. What do you suggest?

A. Mentors are usually very experienced managers and leaders. Generally, they will act like the priest in the confessional, listening carefully and asking insightful questions, giving advice sparingly. Coaches, like personal trainers, will typically push you hard to recognise your weaknesses, develop your strengths and learn intensively. As is well known, consultants will borrow your watch and charge to tell you the time.

Q. My board consists mainly of people from big business who work in an environment of high pay and large bonuses. They are starting to agitate for a bonus scheme for our executive team. What do you think about this?

A. Almost nobody at the top of a charity is working for the money. With a few exceptions, such as Which?, St Andrew's Healthcare and the Wellcome Trust, which pay industrial-scale salaries, executive pay could never be a performance incentive. The only time I was offered a bonus - in a similar situation to yours - I turned it down because (a) it would have distorted the relationship between my pay and that of colleagues and (b) I didn't feel I should receive an exceptional reward for just doing the job I had signed up for. My refusal was met with incomprehension. The only time I received a bonus (as a civil servant) I couldn't turn it down because it was built into the pay scheme. It felt even more wrong.

Q. I recently sent donations to several charities with a letter asking that my details should not be added to any database, except to collect Gift Aid. I added that they should not send a receipt, thanks or any further appeals. One came back with a thank-you letter and appeal about two weeks later. What should I do?

A. I can imagine where you'll file its future appeal letters, but, in the meanwhile, I'm sure the Fundraising Regulator will find this interesting.

Q. Will 2017 be a good year for charities, given the past one?

A. It's time for them to get back their mojo. This should be the year charities start the fightback against excessive intervention by regulators, grandstanding by ministers, politicians displaying the size of their egos and hypocritical shrieking by the media. Bigotry was the lead story of 2016: it's time for charities to stand up and tell the story of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Sector veteran Peter Cardy offers answers to your workplace dilemmas. Contact him at

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