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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Tributes paid as influential charity fundraiser dies suddenly


Credited with raising over £1.5 billion

One of the most influential figures in UK charity fundraising has died.

Mark Astarita, a former chair of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, has died at the age of 64 in Spain after becoming ill.

With tenures at the British Red Cross and the National Deaf Children’s Society, Astarita is credited with raising more than £1.5 billion during his career.

He was awarded an OBE in 2015 in recognition of his services to fundraising.

A dedicated fundraiser with a passion for the third sector, he created controversy in 2013 when, speaking at the IoF’s national awards, he berated charity leaders for not defending the fundraisers who supplied their charities’ incomes, and described them as "cowards" who "run for the hills with their petticoats showing" when fundraising came under attack.

In 2015, Astarita was the subject of a personal attack by the Daily Mail as part of its undercover investigation of the fundraising tactics used by some major charities.

A CIOF spokeswoman said: “We are very sad to hear of the death of our former chair, Mark Astarita OBE. He was a relentless champion for our profession, and his passion and achievements leave an indelible mark on our community.

“A dedicated and proud fundraiser, throughout his 30-year career Mark was responsible for raising over £1.5bn for good causes across the world. Our thoughts are with Mark’s family, friends and colleagues at this sad time.”

Astarita was principal partner at AAW Group, a global leadership and search consultancy. He was also vice-chair of trustees at St Clare’s Hospice in Essex.

Imogen Ward, who worked with Astarita at AAW that, said: “Mark raised loads and loads of money for the causes he worked for in his career - billions of dollars in fact. 

“He won countless awards, was the chair of many, many committees and institutions and even received an OBE in recognition of his work.

“But I think the thing he was proudest of was the teams of fundraisers he led and inspired to not only deliver the greatest for the charity they were working for, but to achieve greatness for themselves.”

Sarah Thompson, St Clare CEO said: ‘With over two decades of experience from the fundraising sector, Mark made a huge contribution to our charity in the time he was a trustee. All our trustees are volunteers, and that was the nature of Mark, to volunteer his time to help us achieve the best, specialist end-of-life care for local people.  

“As a spokesperson for and supporter of St Clare, Mark was a passionate advocate for hospice care. He was an inspiring man, with a can-do attitude that helped our income generation teams meet their full potential. St Clare will be forever grateful to Mark for his dedicated service and his bold determination to strive for the very best for the people of West Essex. 

“We will light a candle in our Sanctuary this week in memory of Mark and we send our condolences to Mark’s family at this difficult time.” 



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