Our history

A short history of the work and achievements of CFG from its inception to the present day.

CFG at present: a thriving charity with membership of over 1350 organisations
2012: 25th Anniversary and a change of name from CFDG to CFG
2011: A new CEO, and responding to a new political environment
2010: CFDG works to respond to the 2010 election
2009: Keith Hickey, then CEO, leaves to join RNIB
2008: CFDG’s 20th anniversary, and supporting charities in a time of recession
2007: A new chair and record numbers of attendees at the annual conference
2006: Keith Hickey joins as CEO, and CFG’s governance is changed and improved
2005: A re-brand and farewell to CFG’s CEO, Shirley Scott
2004: CFDG celebrates recruiting its 1,000th member
2003: CFDG works to inform and influence SORP on behalf of its members
2002: Development of online groups, and first risk survey carried out
2001: First regional groups set up, online resource sharing platform launches
1997: 10th anniversary commemorated by annual dinner attended by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal
1996: CFDG registered as a charity, Stephen Burgess appointed chair
1991: Charity Finance Handbook launches, first member’s helpline set up
1990: Finance execs from 18 of the top 20 charities become members
1988: First member’s meeting and annual dinner held
1987: Adrian Randall sets up the Charity Finance Director’s Group

CFG at present

  • CFG is a thriving charity with a focus on championing best practice in finance management in the voluntary sector.
  • CFG produces guidance on topical issues relevant to its members, provides training and conferences, facilitates peer learning through forums and member meetings, and informs and influences a range of policy issues.
  • 2015 saw CFG improve its membership offer, moving from individual to organisational membership - allowing more individuals within an organisation to benefit from membership.


  • 2012 was CFG’s 25th anniversary year, and saw the organisation experience a number of developments: including a change of name.
  • Originally CFDG, the organisation dropped the ‘D’ to better reflect its broader role in supporting members with responsibility for charity finance, regardless of their job title.
  • CFG also adopted a new ‘describer’ – Inspiring Financial Leadership.
  • The year finishes with 2,129 members and 156 subscribers (corporate partners whose expertise and contributions help CFG’s charity members to develop and thrive).


  • Ian Theodoreson, who is currently CFG’s chair of Trustees, was appointed.
  • The year finished with 1,761 members managing over £21.7bn and 142 subscribers.


  • Caron Bradshaw joined CFDG as chief executive.
  • CFDG’s policy team was expanded in light of the changed political landscape following the election.
  • CFDG set up a number of policy liaison groups to deal with specific operational or policy issues: including the Banking Forum and Technical Accounting Forum.
  • The year finished with more than 1,691 members managing over £17.53bn (which represents around half of the sector’s income) and 129 subscribers.
  • CFDG works to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the 2010 election.


  • Keith Hickey stepped down as CEO. David Membrey, CFDG’s Deputy CEO, stood in as Interim CEO.
  • The year finished with 1,622 members (who collectively managed nearly £15bn of charity income), and 124 subscribers.


  • CFDG’s 20th anniversary year. The Minister for the Third Sector spoke at a birthday event in the crypt at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
  • CFDG increased its regional presence, hosting a conference in Manchester and announcing events and conferences in Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol.
  • CFDG worked to support its members in a time of recession. This included publishing ‘Managing in a Downturn’ jointly with the Institute of Fundraising and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • CFDG merged with Charity Consortium; the latter became the Large Charities Special Interest Group (LCSIG) of CFDG.
  • The year finished with 1572 members and 107 subscribers.


  • CFDG’s annual conference and annual dinner both had attendances of over 500 people at each, making them the most successful of each up to this point.
  • Charles Nall became chair of CFDG.
  • The year finished with over 1350 members and 101 subscribers.


  • Keith Hickey joined CFDG as the new chief executive. Keith was previously a member of CFDG in his capacity as Finance Director of Help the Aged.
  • CFDG improved its governance, so trustees could be recruited from a wider audience than Finance Directors.
  • CFDG had 1,200 members and over 90 corporate subscribers.


  • CFDG re-branded to have a more modern and dynamic public presence.
  • After leading CFDG through a continuous period of growth, CEO Shirley Scott left the organisation at the end of 2005 after 11 years.
  • CFDG launched a 2005-08 Strategic Plan, and announced a major governance review.


  • CFDG celebrated its 1,000th member at the 16th Annual Dinner.
  • CFDG hosted the first launch event for the draft SORP on behalf of the Charity Commission.
  • CFDG launched a series of SORP training courses to respond to the changes.
  • A regional charity finance group was founded in the West Midlands, supported by Baker Tilly.


  • CFDG grew to an organisation with 9 staff members and just under 800 members.
  • CFDG broadened its strategic outlook as an organisation, evolving into an organisation looking at charity management and the role of financial planning in it, in a strategic sense.
  • CFDG coordinated the views of its members in response to a consultation on what key areas they thought should be taken up in the next SORP. All key suggestions were included in the 2005 SORP.
  • Paul Breckell was appointed Chair.


  • CFDG developed a new training programme on Investment for Trustees, run by Sarasin Chiswell.
  • The first online discussion groups for members are set up. The special interest group for overseas development organisations, OSSIG, becomes successful and runs in co-operation with Mango.
  • The first risk survey is carried out in conjunction with PKF; this is well received by members and becomes a regular annual publication.


  • CFDG introduced a full-time post dedicated to policy work.
  • The first regional groups were established in the North, and the Southwest and Wales.
  • CFDG built an online resource for charities to share documents and expert advice - the Charities Resource Network database (later the document library). 
  • Geoff Miller was appointed Chair.


  • Mark Freeman was appointed Chair.


  • David King was appointed Chair.


  • CFDG launched its first Introduction to Charity Finance course, run by BDO Stoy Hayward. This course continues to run successfully to this day.
  • CFDG’s 10th anniversary year was commemorated with an annual dinner attended by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal.
  • The then chancellor, Gordon Brown, announced a launch of the Taxation Review in his July Budget; CFDG was heavily involved in feeding into the resulting consultation with HM Customs & Excise.


  • CFDG was incorporated on 29th March 1996. CFDG registered as a charity on 25 April 1996.
  • Stephen Burgess, at that time Finance Director of Help the Aged, was appointed Chair.
  • CFDG recruited around a dozen corporate subscribers, who came from companies supporting the group.


  • A Scottish arm of CFDG, based in Edinburgh, was established - and although independent of the London CFDG, sought to fulfil the same aims.
  • Shirley Gillingham (now Scott) was appointed as part-time Executive Secretary.
  • David Taylor, at that time Finance Director for WWF-UK, was appointed Chairman.


  • Andrew Hind took over from Adrian as the second Chair of the Group in 1992, and served two years until David Taylor took on the role.
  • CFDG worked with the South Bank University on an MSc in Charity Finance, providing input on course content and lecturers.
  • In March 1992 the Charities Bill became an Act, and contained provisions for strengthening the Charity Commission's powers and new duties for trustees. This Act gave CFDG a greater focus to achieve the objective of improving the professional standards of those with financial responsibilities in the charity sector.
  • CFDG's membership stood at just over 300 charities.


  • CFDG produced its first Charity Finance Handbook.
  • First members' helpline was started by Pesh Framjee, and served as a vital means of issue spotting and knowledge sharing.
  • First Annual Conference held in summer 1991.


  • Membership reached 175, and senior finance executives from 18 of the top 20 charities were members: including Oxfam, the National Trust, the British Heart Foundation and Imperial Cancer Research Fund.


  • First members meeting held on 16th February 1988.
  • First Annual Dinner took place.


  • CFDG sprung from the vision of one man, Adrian Randall, then Finance Director of Cancer Research Campaign.
  • Some time in the autumn of 1987 Adrian had a discussion with a few fellow FDs about the idea of setting up a group.
  • Adrian sought to establish a group that provided "...an opportunity for the exchange of views and the discussion and potential solution of common problems among chartered accountants and other senior financial executives working full-time in charities."
  • Adrian set up a steering group to take the project further.
  • He wrote a letter on 11 November 1987 to six people, crystallising early ideas they had all discussed.  The six were Andrew Hind (then FD at ActionAid), Marion Grainge (then Secretary at British Heart Foundation), Jonathan Kipling (then Deputy Secretary at Institute of Cancer Research), Patrick Latham (then Finance Secretary at Imperial Cancer Research Fund), Biman Mittra (Assistant Director Administration, Shelter) and Peter Henriksen, Associate Director, Association for Consumer Research).
  • In 1987, CFDG was being run out of a small office at the Cancer Research Campaign, and was coordinated by Adrian's secretary, Claire Webb, who stayed with the Group for over ten years.
  • 130 charities joined the group initially.
  • The first meeting of the Steering Group took place on 9 December 1987 at Adrian's office at Cancer Research Campaign.  At that meeting we planned the launch of the Group for February 1988.

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© Charity Finance Group / © Charities Resource Network / Registered Office: 15-18 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PG.
A Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 3182826, Registered Charity No. 1054914, Registered VAT No. 945 6038 09.