A tribute to Adrian Burder
We’re working with a team at the moment who are hurting from the loss of a leader, a mentor, a guide and a friend. The team at Dogs Trust are hurting so much because they’ve lost a family member, not a boss. Someone who hired them, nurtured them, believed in them and showed them security – because they knew he’d stay to finish the job.
Adrian was a proper one-off. Someone who made his work his mission and his mission his work. At a time when fundraising and charity leadership have become a ‘career’ and a ‘market’ he was one of those rare people who have no interest in doing anything else, and who stay to make a lifelong impact, not do a stint and move on. The dial he shifted while at Dogs Trust is impressive, and genuinely transformative for dog welfare.
He often pushed back on work he thought wasn’t right, or got behind work he believed in. He did what he felt in his gut was the right thing. Not what others told him to. Not what the numbers said. Not what other fundraising leaders were doing. Not what was convenient, easy or fashionable. What he knew was right for Dogs Trust, and therefore right for dogs.
In doing so he helped build a culture of doing the right thing that has helped Dogs Trust weather the storm around fundraising, leaving it one of the most popular charities in the UK, including among young people. It’s loved by its supporters, because it loves its supporters back.
Adrian loved dogs, and Dogs Trust, and his team loved him back. That’s why they’re grieving. That’s the best tribute you can pay to a leader.