Case Study: Nigel Wainman on using his financial skills as a trustee and consultant

Charity trustee and consultant

20 August 2018 By Next-Up

Nigel Wainman is a former partner with international accountancy firm RSM. Hear how he built his portfolio of trustee roles – including cold calling charities!

So how did he make a smooth transition into a new portfolio life and what can others take from his approach?

“As an accountant, I’ve always been good at planning! I was fortunate in being able to wind down from full time work to four days a week, then reducing gradually over a few years eventually to two half-days a week. That meant I could get other things up and running alongside my working life.”

Nigel says that things broadly turned out the way he had hoped, though inevitably some unexpected opportunities arose and some things he’d thought of doing never happened.

“If we start with my plan, I wanted to help not-for-profit organisations – this was the sector I had worked in for most of my career and I felt now was the time to give something back.

I researched a number of organisations and approached them – ringing either the chairman or the secretary and discussing what I could offer. I was clear in my mind before calling as to what input they might need from me, so it was a focused call.

This resulted in my being appointed as a trustee to a number of charities – sometimes it might take a while before there was an opening to join them, such as another trustee stepping down.  A few had the financial skills they needed at the time, but they still wanted to keep my details.

I was also approached by a few charities – I was running seminars for clients on a number of third sector issues and people would sometimes come up after and ask if I was interested in becoming a trustee.”


Working as a consultant in unretirement

Nigel hadn’t planned to become a consultant, but a few clients wanted him to continue helping them so he agreed to do this through RSM on a consultancy basis.

What were the opportunities that he didn’t expect?  He has become treasurer of his local horticultural society and was invited to join the international organisation, Rotary, in Leeds – they wanted some younger people to get involved!

This appealed to Nigel because he has always enjoyed working in teams – he’s helped to raise funds for Riding for the Disabled and a children’s cancer charity.  He has also been invited to become President of the local group which he will take up shortly.

And what hasn’t worked out? Nigel explains:

“I had thought I might do some lecturing on third sector issues at Leeds University Business School. However, other things kept cropping up and my diary is chockablock.”

Balance is key to enjoying retirement

“I have a really good balance between walking, golf and tennis to keep me fit, looking after our four grandchildren to help our sons – and for us to enjoy!

We have a good social life with friends and occasionally go to an art gallery or a country house which are my passions.  I like having just enough flexibility that if we suddenly get a beautiful day, I can take off for a walk and enjoy it.”

What are Nigel’s tips for others?

  • Ideally you want to plan ahead, while you are still working and have strong networks
  • Do your research about the organisations you would like to get involved with, what their needs are and how you could help them
  • Be proactive in contacting third sector organisations – a lot of people don’t want to make cold calls, but so long as you are clear about what your offer is and why it might help an organisation, there is nothing to fear!
  • Stay up to date. Nigel belongs to the ICAEW Charity & Voluntary Community Interest Group* and gets papers on the latest legislation and issues. He also goes on relevant courses – it’s a good way to keep up to speed and discuss issues with peers

*You don’t have to be an accountant or ICAEW member to join this group – it is £162 a year.