Saskia Blyham 270x270 LHS

Saskia Blyham

Corporate Client Manager
Charities Aid Foundation

T: +44 (0)3000 123 277
E: corporate@cafonline.org

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SPOTLIGHT ON A TEAM MEMBER - SASKIA BLYHAM

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU TO GET OUT OF BED EVERY MORNING?

Coffee! And sunshine. Although I’m not a morning person at all so it is usually a bit of a struggle to get up.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOUR ROLE AT CAF?

Meeting my clients and learning about the great programmes that they run through their CAF accounts and products. I love to hear the stories of how our day-to-day work makes a difference on the ground and I am still often amazed by the generosity of organisations and people with their time, energy and financial support.

As a Corporate Client Manager you have a lot of freedom to manage your portfolios. This obviously comes with a level of responsibility but it also allows you to very much put your own stamp on the role and be creative in your strategy and propositions. This level of autonomy is quite unique and speaks volumes of CAF as an organisation; if you have a good idea, you can actually make it happen here.

And lastly, the Corporate Client team, of course. What a lovely bunch; very welcoming, good spirited and a cooperative team!

WHERE'S THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE YOU HAVE TRAVELLED TO?

I think a hike I did into the Grand Canyon will stay with me for a very long time. You start at the top of the Canyon and as you descent the landscape and rock formations are constantly changing. It’s like a timeline. The scale, the landscape, colours and heat are all very impressive and the thought that it has been home to different tribes of Native Americans for over 10,000 years just adds to the aura of it all.

WHO WOULD YOU INVITE TO A DINNER PARTY?  

I love dinner parties!

I would invite the Obamas for some casual conversation on the state of the world. As their Foundation enters its second year of operation, it would also be really interesting to learn about their plans and how they are looking to shape its programmes. I feel like they have taken the first year to learn and gather information and, considering their unique perspectives, it will be interesting to see how the Obamas decide to now use their platform.

Lillianne Ploumen, the Dutch former Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and a total force for good. Just after the US election, Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule - a policy which has devastating effects on women, girls and their communities around the world as it prevents NGOs outside the US from receiving money from the US Government if they provide safe abortions or information about abortion. In response, Lilianne Ploumen created SheDecides and called for other governments, NGOs and private donors to step into the hole left by the US in support of the rights, health, safety and livelihoods of millions of girls and women around the world. An amazing initiative that shows just how much we can achieve if we come together and the power of private initiatives.

William MacAskill, Associate Professor in Philosophy at Oxford University and author of Doing Good Better. William is a prominent figure in the effective altruism movement and his book has notably sparked controversy in the sector. Effective altruism is about answering one simple question: how can we use our resources to help others the most? It uses evidence and analysis to find the very best causes to work on and questions the effectiveness of mainstream international aid. When operating at the centre of philanthropy, it is always good to have a holistic discussion on the why and the how of our work which William would definitely bring to the table!

Chrissy Teigen, because she is generally hilarious and she would be a great addition to the evening - who doesn’t love her on Twitter?! Especially priceless are her responses to the current US President, his policies and behaviour. Although all done in a joking manner, Chrissy actually is very vocal about women’s rights and is leading by example as she speaks her mind on issues that she cares about.

WHAT CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY TRENDS DO YOU SEE EMERGING?

It is an exciting time for LLPs across the UK. Last year, CAF pioneered a new, HMRC approved, product that supports partnerships with reclaiming Gift Aid. Relieving LLPs of the administrative burden of reclaiming individual gift aid for partners, the CAF Company Account for LLPs can increase an LLPs charitable budget by 25% and enable them to increase the amount of impact they can ultimately have on the charitable sector.  It is really great to be able to offer this level of support to our clients. It has been very well received by our clients so I look forward to see what 2018 will bring.

In terms of broader trends for the sector I actually think that increasingly organisations are crafting their own strategies using all the tools that are now available to them: employee engagement, corporate funds, partnerships, community investment, etc. The UN Global Goals (or Sustainable Development Goals) have helped tremendously in how they have provided not only guidance on the most pressing issues, but raised the profile and importance of CSR programmes and stakeholder buy-in.

What I see more and more, is that corporates focus on capacity building among charities and social enterprises. Volunteering time, mentorship and knowledge in partnership over a period of time, in addition to providing financial support, is becoming increasingly popular. This trend, which is mostly driven by successful employee engagement across all levels of an organisation, is likely to increase as Generation Z enters the workforce.

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