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Joint CEO Susie Hills describes her perfect fundraising superhero team – and introduces you to Halpin’s very own team of fundraising superheroes…

It seems that a new superhero film comes out every month now. Perhaps it’s a sign of our times. When things get dark and scary, we reach out and look for superheroes to uplift us.

Seeing the trailer for the latest Marvel film made me think about the idea of building a superhero fundraising team. What powers would we need to turbocharge our fundraising?

Well, I’d start with someone supremely able to digest data, spot trends, and look into the future. All great fundraising must be built on great data. It helps us prioritise our time, set stretching and ambitious targets, communicate appropriately, ask for the right amounts at the right time in the right way, and plan for the future. My data superhero/gurus would do all this and have a great sense of humour at the same time. They would know that the data takes us only so far, and then we must reach out and talk to our supporters.

Next, I would find someone with supercharged listening and rapport-building skills to go out and talk to our supporters. They would listen and learn and ask searching questions. They would build a great understanding of what makes our supporters ‘tick’ and be able to help us plan long-term relationship-building strategies.

Alongside my super-listener, I would bring in an amazing storyteller. Someone who can sprinkle magic into our Case for Support – explain how our work will change the world, and why we are the best organisation to deliver it. The story would help supporters to see how they can make a difference with us – how their support has impact and is truly inspirational.

Into my team, I would bring someone with networking powers. They would be able to find a path to anyone we wanted to reach, and would be able to bring people together to hear our story. They would have a magic address book, and through each page, they could find a route to people who want to hear our story. Their invitations would be sprinkled with magic dust and be irresistible to all who received them. Everyone would want to come to their parties.

So, what a team! Any missing powers? Well, I might add in a super strategist and a master project planner – superheroes who can ensure our fundraising is highly strategic, beautifully orchestrated and who will always spot the missing detail, see the potential issue, make sure the plan unfolds smoothly. They would work in partnership with our data guru and provide the super-intelligence to drive us forward.

I would also have a fearless warrior whose determination to make a difference in the world would keep us all pushing on. Their vision of a better future would inspire us all to act and keep acting. They would lead us forward with energy and be bold in their actions. They would see how fundraising could change the world for the better and generate irresistible energy.

What about super-asking powers? Well, the team would naturally be geared towards asking. Our fearless warrior would lead us onwards to change the world, our storyteller would inspire us and help us share our story, our data guru would inform us and focus our energies, our super-listener would help us build powerful relationships, our networker would get us to the right people, and our strategist and project manager would keep us all on track and make sure we have impact. The ask would be inspiring, timely, appropriate, impactful, personal, and quite irresistible.

Finally and crucially I would ensure that my team was as diverse as possible. Fundraising has been a very white middle-class profession; it suffers from a lack of diverse lived experiences and does not always reflect the communities we serve, our potential donors and our beneficiaries. Diversity increases performance and makes life more interesting and inspiring. My superheroes will not all be alike – their diversity will be part of their magic!

Wow! When do we film the movie?

Halpin has been building our own team of fundraising superheroes to help turbocharge your fundraising. Let us introduce you to them…


  • Fezzan Ahmed – extensive major gift fundraising and project management experience in both the Arts & Culture and Higher Education sectors.
  • Suzie Bannerman – a pro at building alumni communities that are beautifully underpinned with strategy. She’s got a proven track record of creating significant step changes.
  • Jason Briggs – an award-winning authority in innovative fundraising insight and intelligence, specialising in data-led strategy.
  • Mike DeCristofaro – experienced fundraiser and philanthropy advisor, having personally and directly solicited 6- and 7-figure gifts.
  • Robert Dufton – 20+ years’ experience leading national voluntary organisations in development, grantmaking and philanthropy in the charity, research and education sectors.
  • Penny Hubbard – a leading figure in development with a proven track record in leadership and fundraising strategy, and an expert in alumni communications.
  • Nicky Josling – a specialist in interim management and leading teams during periods of change. With long experience in income management, she gets the best from teams by training, supporting and developing their knowledge.
  • Harpreet Kondel – a distinguished fundraising pro with a proven track record of implementing highly effective campaign strategies to deliver significant growth in income.
  • Christian Propper – a leading figure in data analysis, particularly in analysing fundraising prospect pools to determine capacity, inclination and engagement.
  • Sophia Robson – passionate about tackling social and systemic issues through transformational philanthropy, with extensive experience in partnering with senior academics and volunteers to solicit and achieve six, seven, and eight-figure gifts.
  • Richard Sved – a high-profile fundraiser, his key strengths lie in charity strategic planning, fundraising, governance and communications – and the parts where all of these intersect.
  • Doug Thomson – fundraising campaign veteran and principal gift expert, and has worked as both a fundraiser and as a grant-maker.
  • Catherine Wolfgang – has undertaken assessments and feasibility studies for leading names in the UK higher education and arts sectors, much admired for her calm, pragmatic approach to campaign leadership.
  • Tony Woodcock – a pioneer in the field of arts management and music education, dedicated to positioning future innovators and leaders.