My Story So Far: Marianne Radcliffe loves small-charity diversity

The director of fundraising and communications at the learning disability charity FitzRoy says she started out in retailing, but found she was driven more by people and values than by profit

Marianne Radcliffe
Marianne Radcliffe

After graduating from university in 1996, I landed a job as buying and merchandising assistant at the retailer Hobbs.

There were pretty, shiny things to look at and lots of parties, but I soon realised that I'd made a big mistake. The focus was all profit; I was more driven by people and values.

Luckily, Oxfam was advertising for a buyer to help with marketing and merchandising. I was appointed as a marketing manager in 1997: the 12-month contract gave me a fantastic opportunity to work in the charity sector – and I was hooked.

The next year I got my big break as development manager at the NSPCC. I learnt from some of the best fundraisers in the industry. After three years I was ready for a step up, so I joined Shelter as major donors manager. I liked the role and the cause, but then my dream job appeared – head of major gifts at Christian Aid, a charity I'd supported for a long time. I worked there across trusts, foundations and legacies, all areas that appealed to me. I had a brilliant time, but my husband got a job near Portsmouth and we were starting a family, so we relocated in 2005.

I became a freelance consultant, which enabled me to choose contracts to fit around my children. Through doing this I came across FitzRoy; I covered maternity leave and jumped at the chance to stay on as director of fundraising and communications in 2010. I've got charity giants on my CV, but I love the diversity of working for a smaller charity.

Marianne Radcliffe is director of fundraising and communications at the learning disability charity FitzRoy

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