Words by Smiley Team
Charity Excellence is a tool used by more than 25,000 charities – to improve the running of their organisations and increase their fundraising efforts.
And the man behind that is Ian McLintock – an experienced charity CEO and chair who wanted to impart his wisdom and support the sector.
Ian studied corporate management, and went on to work in major headquarters. He built a career out of creating organisational models that help people – and it was incredibly successful. All the while, he’d been volunteering for the best part of 40 years.
So when he left the corporate world, he decided joined the charity sector full-time. “I’ve done a bit of everything,” he tells Smiley News. “I’m a real generalist. I was chief executive of a care charity, commercial director of an educational charity, and I did international operations for an environmental charity. I like to fix things!”
In 2016, Ian had what he descibed as a “mid-life crisis” – “It was either build a motorbike, or create Charity Excellence – and my wife said no to the motorbike.”
“I had over 500 systems built – and people would come to me and go, 'can you do me a risk management system for a charity?' so I’d send it to them, but they had to adapt it for their own charities," explains Ian.
Ian thought he could make these systems and tools he had general and available online, so they’d all be in one place. He wanted Charity Excellence to deliver practical benefits, be simple with a low workload, and free or low cost. It had to work for everyone.
He built the system for the charity sector from scratch – it launched in 2018, was free for all. In nearly four years, it has garnered 25,000 members.
In its basic sense, Charity Excellence is an online toolkit that enables non-profits to improve performance in every area. “It is there to support charities, to achieve the most they can, and to think of things they hadn’t considered before,” he says.
“But also, it helps charities think about things and arrive at their own decisions – it comes from a coaching basis, that’s how the system works, enabling an individual to achieve what they want, rather than telling them what to do.”
Ian says the sector has very few assets and resources – yet you need policy and procedures to make an organisation work.
When Ian started Charity Excellence, his target was to create systemic change in the sector – and for that, he has a target of getting 100,000 sign-ups. “Across the sector, there are a huge range of incredible organisations deliverty support and resources for charities,” says Ian, “Many are really small, though, so they can’t get found.”
Charity Excellence is highly rated for its resource base – an information hub that taps into collective expertise of the entire sector, from consultancy, HR, software, and even advice on property. The resource base sorts through the charity’s priorities so they can see what’s important to them, then connects them to people that can help for free.
Similarly, the funding finder database is a hit with charities. “I built a database during Covid-19 that has funders, and it also finds other databases,” says Ian. “You can click through to more than 100,000 grant makers – all for free.”