Focused on supporting children

Focused on supporting children

Ben Swart has spent the past 12 years working for the UK’s leading children’s charity and, after several promotions, is now its Head of New Corporate Partnerships.

But successful as he has been at the NSPCC, for Ben (OE 1994–2001), his motivation is about much more than merely pursuing a career.

“I joined the NSPCC after a couple of years at Barclays,” he says. “While at the bank, I started volunteering with a small charity called Get Connected (now The Mix). I became a trustee and quickly realised just how much support was lacking for children and young people in the UK. I decided I wanted my career to focus on changing that fact.”

So, a month after becoming a volunteer, he left the bank and joined the NSPCC’s finance team on just a one-week contract. It happened to be the same week that Childline merged with the NSPCC.

“To announce the partnership, we were called to the conference room. I’ll never forget that moment. A month earlier, I had sat in Barclay’s annual reviews focused on sales targets, and yet that day I heard Esther Rantzen say this wasn’t two organisations coming together: it was us making sure every child, wherever they were, would always know they had somewhere to turn. I was desperate to turn that week’s contract into a career!”

Ben quickly moved to fundraising, talking to supporters of the charity. Them he became a proposal writer in the philanthropists team, which involved building relationships with multi-millionaires to ask for support in the form of five, six or seven-figure gifts.

“I moved again to become head of fundraising training – coaching and training the 300-plus team at the NSPCC – then again to become a leader in the corporate partnership team, where my job is to lead a department to find, build, negotiate and grow partnerships with the biggest companies in the UK.”

At the same time, over the past decade he has worked with the Institute of Fundraising and with the International Fundraising Congress, teaching charities across the globe and sharing his expertise with them.

“I am of no doubt that QE gave me fundamental skills that got me here – public speaking, writing, confidence, determination. I look back and while I may not have realised it at the time, many lessons were being learnt that would shape my future,” he says.

He recalls a host of teachers who were key to his development, mentioning Mr Clift and Mr Dourmiex in particular.

“Today I have a lovely family, a three-year-old daughter and am still very close to a couple of friends from QE. Marcus Waters was best man at my wedding, and Jon Hart was the DJ!”

    • Ben is pictured at 10 Downing Street, where he was invited to celebrate Childline’s 30th birthday, two days before the Brexit referendum. It was to be David and Samantha Cameron’s last dinner before he resigned as Prime Minister following the vote.