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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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