Our Story

We are partners in life and work and tend to get excited about, amongst other things, the quietness of an early morning (her), the peace that comes with twilight (him), great coffee, the ocean (her on top paddleboarding, him underneath freediving), board games with the family and making space for a good read.

LarkOwl took flight in 2019, bringing together our solo freelance businesses.

 

We help charities with high value fundraising (trusts, major gifts and capital appeals) and commercial income.

 

We see the challenges faced by charities and the difficult decisions leaders have to make on a daily basis.  Even before the #coronacrisis hit, competition for funding was increasing and the public sector was facing a multibillion-pound gap following years of austerity.

Charities need several streams of income and more than ever, these include earned income through cafes, shops and membership schemes.

 

The morning lark and the night owl represent the breadth of the service we offer.

 

Our experience spans many sectors and we can demonstrate a track record in health, homelessness, arts and hospices. Both of us have been or are trustees / directors / school governors and in the long term, we’d love to see a social good sector where all leaders feel confident of their roles and responsibilities and where all have a basic understanding of the skills required to govern effectively so that their organisations can soar.

 

For us, the magic happens when we are together. Two heads are better than one.


We love working as a team and supporting each other on separate endeavours.

Caroline Danks

Fundraising - Caroline Danks

  • specialist in high value fundraising (trusts and major gifts) and capital appeals
  • expertise in audit, strategy, planning across all areas of fundraising

Caroline has been a fundraiser for nearly twenty years. She is an expert in trusts and foundations, major gifts and capital appeals and has raised millions for good causes.  Caroline started her career in the homelessness sector and has since worked in large and small charities across most fundraising disciplines.

In the past three years, she has run five capital appeals from scratch (including the strategic planning work) and has also undertaken audit and planning work for Hearts Together, Cornwall GirlGuiding and Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Caroline is an action focused, red/yellow upholder who seeks forgiveness over permission.  Her superpower is pragmatism, managing expectations and thinking long term.    She believes deeply that success in fundraising is down to the nurturing of meaningful and authentic relationships over a long period of time.

She has also been a school governor, a fitness instructor and a singer, specialising in choral and oratorio work.

Ways Caroline can help:

  • capital appeal planning, identifying the resources you’ll need over a defined timescale, undertaking a thorough options appraisal and helping to set realistic targets for each area of income.
  • fundraising auditing and planning, an honest look at the performance of each of your income streams and a focused and prioritised action plan to help you do better in the future.
  • fundraising delivery, Caroline has a proven track record in trusts and foundations and major gifts fundraising.

Commercial Development - Tony Richardson

  • a management consultant with over ten years’ experience in charities and non-profit organisations
  • has management experience in the retail, catering and hospitality sectors.
  • has specific expertise in coaching, training and working with leadership teams to devise new strategies to help their charities become fit for the future, productive, streamlined and effective.

He has managed teams of 1 to 41 and is an expert in leadership, people and smashing targets. He believes that anyone can master a P&L with the right tools and a supportive and nurturing environment.

In the past year, Tony has developed organisational strategies for Bovey Tracey Paradiso Arts, Exeter Historic Buildings Trust, the Buckfastleigh Trust, Occombe Farm and the Lyme Regis Development Trust.  Prior to this, Tony spent nine years at the National Trust supporting catering businesses at properties across the south west.

As well as ensuring the profitability of each of these businesses, Tony worked across disciplines, managing the experience of visitors whilst ensuring the protection of built and natural heritage.

Tony was previously Chair of The Lodge CIC, supporting them during a merger with HeartSWell South West to become Hearts Together, where he now serves as a trustee.

When free time permits, he prefers freediving, mountain biking, coffee roasting, putting his carpentry skills to work in our house and garden and all aspects of being a Dad.

Ways Tony can help:

  • mentoring for chairs and CEOs (around governance, operations, customer service and setting a vision)
  • improving your current results from a commercial enterprise (retail, catering, membership, visitor business)
  • writing a business plan for a new venture, including support to articulate your long-term sustainability plans for funding bids
  • project management services to help them become a reality (for example, opening a new café)
  • staff recruitment and management
  • team development (through training and facilitation)
Are you looking for this sort of help?
Email us today to set up a free consultation call.