David Cook’s, previous CEO at The Donkey Sanctuary, Top 10 New Year Charity & Business Tips

Friday afternoon, the week before Christmas, I enjoyed a most interesting 2 hours talking with David Cook about his career and what’s next for his strategic business brain that refuses to say enough is enough already!

David’s had a most interesting career spanning over 50 years, starting in hotels taking Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc to the city as FD and helping almost double the annual income made to The Donkey Sanctuary during his 9 year tenure as CEO to approx £35m in 2015. Where he compounded on the amazing work of the founder Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, respecting her energy while delivering strong governance.

David is not done yet… he has a head full of wisdom & experience which he is happy to share freely with local business owners who need a sounding board. So if you have been pondering what feels like a difficult business problem and are unsure where to turn, why not ask David for his two penneth? Fill out the form below and he’ll give you a call to discuss…

It made sense to turn our conversation into top 10 not profit / business tips… enjoy…

  1. Set out the main aim(s) of your organisation (mission statement)
  2. Prepare a detailed plan of how you are going to achieve your aim(s) and a timeline, say for the next 5 years in detail with a 5/10 year outlook (strategic plan)
  3. Prepare a financial plan, in broad terms against the strategic plan by year and in detail for the coming year ahead, taking care if your business operation has peaks and troughs in your annual cycle
  4. Prepare a “risk register” that indicates all potential risks to your business and identify how you mitigate against those risks to minimise the chance of a major problem occurring or what you would do if something unforeseen did happen that threatens your business
  5. Manage for today and tomorrow, learning from the past but making sure you are flexible enough to put measures into effect that help you succeed in the future under the conditions that are happening or are expected to happen, be they political, the economic climate, more competition, national or international events i.e. what’s past is past look to the future
  6. Put governance measures in place as you grow to ensure best practice is being followed and to avoid potential problems in the future
  7. Respect what those before you have done… only change for improvement not change for change sake
  8. Seek ideas from your management and staff (and fellow directors/partners if applicable), consult with them, listen to their ideas; a CEO or Manager who demands his team only do it his/her way usually results in an organisation not performing to its full potential or possibly even failing in the end
  9. Have an open door policy for management and staff so that they have access to you, with planned but not too frequent meetings with your manager(s) for them to update you on progress
  10. If a manager requires a decision, or asks for direction, or a solution is required, give due consideration and then make a decision or give direction rather than delaying or sitting on the fence with no decision made

and the Golden Rule for a Charity

– Communicate with your supporters, thank them when they donate, but don’t chase them; if they notify you that they do not want to continue supporting you or do not like a specific fundraising method you are using, note it on your fundraising database and do not continue to pursue

Don’t waste the opportunity to ask David a question… and if you know a friend could benefit, share this page with them.

Thank you.


P.S. I met David at Business @ Breakfast networking event

One thought on “David Cook’s, previous CEO at The Donkey Sanctuary, Top 10 New Year Charity & Business Tips

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.