ABOUT US


We’re experts in charitable governance and organisational effectiveness with significant experience helping charities achieve transformational success. We understand the practical realities of running a charity with a small staff team and highly limited resources, and we bring the expert knowledge of the standards and regulations you need to meet so that you can stay focused on your cause.
 

Felicia Willow

Consultant and Owner, Willow Charity Consulting
Felicia has been the CEO (or equivalent) of five UK charities during periods of crisis, change and transformation. She brings a range of skills— including crisis management, strategic planning, financial overhaul, sustainability planning and excellent analytical skills thanks to her legal qualifications—to help charities achieve their full potential.
 
The author of our Charity Health Check tool, Felicia is an expert in leading and implementing major organisational reviews—including needs assessments, strategic planning and charitable governance. She is highly skilled in interim crisis and change management, project evaluation and staff and Board engagement.
 
Felicia has worked for 14 years in the UK charity sector, with 9 years in international criminal law, international development and human rights. An excellent strategic planner, Felicia has worked as an expert consultant to major organisations including the United Nations Development Programme, World Vision, UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration, and Addaction, as well as successfully delivering a wide range of consultancy support for small-to-medium charities based in the UK. As you will read in the case studies below, Felicia is a proven expert in leading charities to transformational success.

Testimonials

“I have never met anyone with such a diverse range of well-honed skills; the ability to really listen, to make you feel like you are the only person in the world when she is talking to you, empathising, caring, personable and fun too!

Those skills really make a difference in delivering any ‘leadership’ role – our staff truly like and respect her. A professional lady who has so much knowledge in her field, who is strong enough to challenge and change deep seated unhelpful thinking – to respectfully tenaciously then carry that forward. Her ability to assimilate information and use it intelligently at speed is extraordinary. She has done so much since joining us on a strategic level, project work, Board tasks, bringing the team back together. ” Anonymous, interim crisis management role

“As a former CEO of a charity, Felicia really understands what charities need — the challenges that any organisation faces in terms of funding and cash flow, and also the issues of growth. Where Felicia really shines is in her knowledge of governance and making connections between that and operational output, which overworked staff (and trustees) may not have had time to consider.

Furthermore, Felicia is kind, fun, knowledgeable and incredibly patient. It’s been an absolute joy working with her. I would strongly recommend her!”Annie Vickers, The Harbour Project for Swindon Asylum Seekers and Refugees

“You were recruited to “keep the ship steady” at the start of the COVID pandemic when none of us knew how it would affect the work of the Trust. You have been able to do so much more than that, enabling us to develop our offer to learners so that our work could continue when many other organisations were obliged to suspend activity in prisons. Facilitating the development of a community-based pilot and secured the funding to allow it to go ahead is a fantastic achievement in such a short space of time. You have managed to combine that with the development of systems and procedures and work with members of the staff team to get the best from them and I really enjoyed working alongside you.”
Sue O’Hara, Chair of Trustees, Shannon Trust

CASE STUDY 1

Felicia navigated the Shannon Trust team through the first Covid-19 lockdown, expanding the charity’s income and activities and successfully leading the team remotely through enormous challenges.

Shannon Trust is an inspirational national charity supporting thousands of prisoners a year to transform their lives by unlocking the power of reading. The charity inspires and trains prisoners who can read to teach prisoners who can’t.

Felicia was appointed to lead the charity on an interim basis just a couple of days before the first Coronavirus lockdown in March 2020. At the time of her appointment, prisons had just been shut down and prisoners were locked in their cells for 23 out of 24 hours a day. The charity’s team of nearly 140 volunteers were unable to visit prisons and staff were grappling with the challenge of how to access prisoners when there were little to no digital means of communication.

Felicia’s achievements at Shannon Trust included:
• Managing a team entirely remotely, ensuring adequate communication channels and culture to succeed
• Taking the decision to keep staff on rather than furlough them, enabling the charity to develop new ways to reach learners
• Undertaking a full cost-cutting review, developing an interim fundraising and communications strategy, and delivering a detailed Charity Health Check
• Taking forward longer term strategic goals, including a pilot project plan for expanding work into the community, and a digital scoping activity and strategy incorporating a range of new digital tools to increase the avenues towards reading offered by the charity
• Developing new ways to deliver our programme, including a CD-based training tool and a self-study DVD
• Overseeing activities to secure £250,000 in funding to support new initiatives within the appointment period
• Develop a theory of change and accompanying monitoring and evaluation framework, reviewing and updating a wide range of policies and procedures, and consulting with staff and volunteers on a potential structure review.

CASE STUDY 1

Felicia navigated the Shannon Trust team through the first Covid-19 lockdown, expanding the charity’s income and activities and successfully leading the team remotely through enormous challenges.

Shannon Trust is an inspirational national charity supporting thousands of prisoners a year to transform their lives by unlocking the power of reading. The charity inspires and trains prisoners who can read to teach prisoners who can’t.

Felicia was appointed to lead the charity on an interim basis just a couple of days before the first Coronavirus lockdown in March 2020. At the time of her appointment, prisons had just been shut down and prisoners were locked in their cells for 23 out of 24 hours a day. The charity’s team of nearly 140 volunteers were unable to visit prisons and staff were grappling with the challenge of how to access prisoners when there were little to no digital means of communication.

Felicia’s achievements at Shannon Trust included:
• Managing a team entirely remotely, ensuring adequate communication channels and culture to succeed
• Taking the decision to keep staff on rather than furlough them, enabling the charity to develop new ways to reach learners
• Undertaking a full cost-cutting review, developing an interim fundraising and communications strategy, and delivering a detailed Charity Health Check
• Taking forward longer term strategic goals, including a pilot project plan for expanding work into the community, and a digital scoping activity and strategy incorporating a range of new digital tools to increase the avenues towards reading offered by the charity
• Developing new ways to deliver our programme, including a CD-based training tool and a self-study DVD
• Overseeing activities to secure £250,000 in funding to support new initiatives within the appointment period
• Develop a theory of change and accompanying monitoring and evaluation framework, reviewing and updating a wide range of policies and procedures, and consulting with staff and volunteers on a potential structure review.

CASE STUDY 2

Felicia led the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum through a change management period, transitioning from one permanent CEO to the next.

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum (FOWA) is a £1.2 million charity that aims to increase public engagement and support the tree collection at the National Arboretum at Westonbirt. It does this through promoting and engaging with its 32,000+ members, raising funds, and working in collaboration with the Forestry Commission to identify and deliver appropriate projects within the arboretum.

Felicia’s achievements as Interim CEO at FoWA included:
• undertaking a detailed Health Check to feed into strategic planning and identify areas for immediate attention
• planning and implementing a staff restructure to improve sustainability and effectiveness while reducing costs
• conducting a thorough review of financial management processes, overhauling the budget process and developing a new Chart of Accounts
• improving staff cohesion and satisfaction
• supporting the Board to identify areas for its own development.

Throughout the work, she applied the same key aspects of organisational effectiveness and charitable governance she has incorporated into her comprehensive Charity Health Check. This increased FoWA’s’s efficiency, professionalism and productivity, as well as improving staff satisfaction.

CASE STUDY 2

Felicia led the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum through a change management period, transitioning from one permanent CEO to the next.

The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum (FOWA) is a £1.2 million charity that aims to increase public engagement and support the tree collection at the National Arboretum at Westonbirt. It does this through promoting and engaging with its 32,000+ members, raising funds, and working in collaboration with the Forestry Commission to identify and deliver appropriate projects within the arboretum.

Felicia’s achievements as Interim CEO at FoWA included:
• undertaking a detailed Health Check to feed into strategic planning and identify areas for immediate attention
• planning and implementing a staff restructure to improve sustainability and effectiveness while reducing costs
• conducting a thorough review of financial management processes, overhauling the budget process and developing a new Chart of Accounts
• improving staff cohesion and satisfaction
• supporting the Board to identify areas for its own development.

Throughout the work, she applied the same key aspects of organisational effectiveness and charitable governance she has incorporated into her comprehensive Charity Health Check. This increased FoWA’s’s efficiency, professionalism and productivity, as well as improving staff satisfaction

 
 

A few of the organisations we’ve worked with:

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