charisma logo
Upload CV
Contact us
menu containermenu pattern
Our story
Meet the team
Diversity and inclusion
Recruitment solutions
Executive search
Team recruitment
Board and trustee
Health and social care
Heritage, arts and culture
Upload CV
Contact us
menu containermenu containermenu container
Back to Insights
Case Study

How we're partnering with Assistance Animal charities across the UK

We've enjoyed partnering with many Assistance Animal organisations across the United Kingdom on a variety of critical roles.

Charisma Charity Recruitment are dedicated to working with charities and not-for-profits across the UK. With an existing track record of working with Animal Assistance organisations, including partnerships with organisations such as Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, I have been passionate about expanding our support in this community.

2023 was a busy year in this arena, with me leading successful campaigns for Assistance Dogs UK, Pets as Therapy, and Canine Partners, as well as several key campaigns for Dogs for Good in 2022. These rigorous and far-reaching executive and board searches relied on robust, fair, and well-governed processes. Our in-depth knowledge of the opportunities and challenges in the sector, talent acquisition, candidate engagement, vetting and aftercare, complemented by vibrant and accessible advertising and marketing, being key to the success of these impactful campaigns.

Read more below:

Assistance Dogs UK

Charisma was delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Assistance Dogs UK (ADUK), a voluntary coalition of assistance dog charities that have been accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and/or The International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), to secure their new Chair of Trustees.

The new Chair would be leading the Board of Trustees and working closely with the Executive Director in building ADUK’s external presence and influence, whilst continuing to work as an effective umbrella body and hub for assistance dog-related information and good practice. Ensuring that the organisation remained focused on the delivery of the organisation’s charitable purposes, giving direction to Board policymaking, representing the organisation at functions and meetings, and building new networks and relationships with relevant stakeholders and decision-makers was essential. Charisma’s search focused on finding strategic individuals who demonstrated credibility, relevant experience, and influence, with previous experience as a Chair, Trustee, or in leadership roles, and of leading national campaigns for change. Ensuring a diverse pool of candidates was engaged via accessible advertising and marketing, and talent acquisition (headhunting, networks, and database search) was essential, as we actively encouraged candidates with experience in the disability or animal welfare sectors and/or with lived experience of being partnered with an assistance dog.

Following a UK-wide search, six high calibre candidates were secured and shortlisted for consideration, with an experienced senior leader, with previous high level Board exposure, appointed to join the Board.

"The Charisma team have been brilliant - hugely supportive and efficient. I will definitely recommend you to others”.
Incoming Chair of Trustees

Canine Partners

Charisma worked with Canine Partners to secure two strategic, inspirational, and motivational leaders, to assume the roles of Director of Finance and Resources and Director of Income Generation. Canine Partners, a registered charity that transforms the lives of people with physical disabilities by partnering them with assistance dogs. Their amazing dogs bring a greater independence and quality of life to their partners, offering security, companionship, and practical help with everyday household tasks, as well as providing psychological and social benefits including increased confidence, social interaction, and self-esteem.

It was an exciting time to join the organisation, but also a challenging one, as Canine Partners was still recovering from the long tail of Covid-19. Charisma needed to find strong team players who could hit the ground running, and who were confident at taking the initiative and building relationships and trust quickly. The new Director of Income Generation was set to lead the creation and development of integrated, innovative, and sustainable high value fundraising and marcomms strategies to deliver the charity’s strategic objectives and meet agreed KPIs. The Director of Finance and Resources, would need to provide strategic financial direction across the organisation and be accountable for all aspects of internal and statutory financial reporting, ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the Charity's financial policies, procedures, and internal control systems. Both directors were to be inspirational leaders, responsible for leading their team and function, but also providing leadership across the organisation as a member of the SLT.

Charisma conducted robust public campaigns and worked in close collaboration with the Talent Team to ensure no stone was left unturned in terms of direct approaches to both warm and cold candidates. With strong engagement, especially from our database, and a complementary 4-week outward facing campaign, strong shortlists were defined with both roles appointed successfully. During one of these campaigns, we also supported an internal candidate, who was brought into the process to ensure a fair and robust experience for all candidates. Ultimately, an external candidate was selected for the appointment.

Dogs for Good 

The now former Chief Executive of Dogs for Good engaged Charisma to manage the recruitment of a new Director of Income Generation as well as the search and selection of a new Chief Executive. With the upcoming retirement of the incumbent Chief Executive, after more than twenty-five years in post, and the desire to shape an integrated role that would focus on the leadership of fundraising, communications, and marketing, more weighted to income generation that ever before, Charisma conducted a detailed site visit and consultation with internal stakeholders to ensure an accurate brief was captured prior to the campaigns commencing.

For the new Chief Executive, a dynamic and inspirational leader with a commitment to achieving high standards of dog welfare and a genuine interest in and passion for bringing people and dogs together to enrich and improve both lives and to better understand the human animal bond was essential. Key criteria were defined across both roles, with the Chief Executive requiring experience of effective partnership working and development, and external relationship management, managing, motivating, and developing staff, business planning, business development, strong financial skills, and with a robust approach to governance, controls, and implementation of new processes. Following wide-reaching searches and robust vetting and interview processes, a new Chief Executive, and a Director of Income Generation, with extensive experience of fundraising/income generation, a strong track record of harnessing digital tools, and of developing effective and integrated marketing and brand strategies for a charity, were secured, and joined the organisation in late 2022.

 "Charisma formulate very clear plans and timescales for the recruitment process and then execute the plans in a very professional and timely manner. I have been particularly impressed by the way Charisma took a lot of care to really understand the culture of Dogs for Good and our precise requirements and this has resulted in a very positive partnership.  Overall, our experience of working with Charisma has been excellent and I would have no hesitation in recommending them as first-class recruitment consultants."
Former CEO, Dogs for Good

Pets as Therapy 

2023 was a busy year at Pets as Therapy (PAT) and Charisma was delighted to have ownership for the management of two major campaigns. PAT is a charity formed in 1983, to share the joy of companion animals with those deprived of it, and it is now the UK’s largest volunteer-based charity dedicated to enhancing health and wellbeing in the community through companion animal interactions. As a national organisation, PAT facilitates visits from more than 4,500 volunteer person and animal teams, contributing to an improved quality of life and wellbeing for thousands of people every year, in a range of settings, including hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, schools, and colleges, prisons and a wide variety of other situations.

In early 2023, new trustees were sought to join the Board. Each new trustee was to have a different skill set/expertise acquired through professional fundraising, HR, finance, and/or volunteer management or lived experience. These key areas were defined via a skills audit, and the new trustees were to use their specific knowledge or experience to help the Board of Trustees reach sound decisions, as well as leading discussions, focusing on key issues, and providing advice and guidance requested by the Board on new initiatives, or other issues relevant to the area of the charity's work in which the trustee had expertise. Charisma had a UK-wide brief, with the aim of securing better representation for the charity in geographical areas their work was emerging in. Following an 8-week campaign, 19 candidates were secured against the key disciplines and 5 candidates were appointed to trustee roles.

With a track record of success with PAT, Charisma were retained to secure a new CEO. The successful candidate would need to demonstrate drive, vision, and creative leadership skills, to build on their strong track record and implement an ambitious strategy, which included funding diversification, partnership and engagement development, sector leadership and above all, ensured the delivery of an outstanding service for all beneficiaries supported by operational excellence. Charisma was tasked with securing individuals with a strong track record of impactful and influential leadership, with a strong fundraising or commercial component, experience in the development and delivery of strategies and operational plans, leading and working with volunteers, and proven experience of robust financial, budget and people management. Due to the high calibre of candidate sought, following the first campaign, the Nominations Panel worked with Katherine to reframe the role, increasing the salary level and flexibility. The second search and selection campaign opened the role up to a new area of the market and enabled the securing of a robust shortlist for interview. Following a total of 8-weeks of searching and vetting, and robust interviewing, a successful candidate was appointed.

If you have any upcoming recruitment plans on the horizon or would like to connect for an introductory virtual coffee for the future, please contact me via this form or call 01962 813300.

Katherine Anderson-Scott
Associate Director
Share this post