John Nickson

Special Advisor





John Nickson is one of Britain’s most experienced fundraising directors and philanthropy experts. He was head of fundraising for The British Council, English National Opera, The Royal Academy of Arts and Tate. He also has experience as a donor, trustee, mentor and advisor to education, arts and development charities for almost forty years.

After six years working in the theatre as an actor and producer, John joined The British Council and became head of information and business relations. He joined English National Opera in 1989 as Director of Development and subsequently also became responsible for Communications. In 1996, John became Director of Development and Director of The Royal Academy of Arts Trust. In 2005, he joined Tate as Director of The Tate Foundation with responsibility for all Tate’s fundraising. He retired from Tate in 2011 to focus on philanthropic research, writing and a portfolio of Trustee duties.

He has served as a trustee of several charities, including the international board of United World Colleges and chaired its first development committee. He was a governor of the United World College of The Atlantic and became a scholarship donor. He is currently a member of the governing council of the Royal College of Music and chairs its Patron’s committee. He also sits on the board and development committee of London Music Masters, a charity providing professional music tuition to entire classes of primary school children in inner London. He is a trustee of Opera Rara, a charity devoted to the restoration, revival, recording and performance of forgotten nineteenth century operas.

John Nickson is a campaigner for philanthropy. His first book, Giving Is Good For You: Why Britain Should Be Bothered And Give More, was published in 2013. His latest book, Our Common Good was published in 2017 and examines threats to civil society and the role of philanthropy in sustaining it.