Panel of Judges

Irish National Fundraising Awards Announces Panel of Judges

2 January 2018

The Irish National Fundraising Awards, established to recognise fundraising excellence, showcase innovation and best practices, and further accelerate the growth of the voluntary sector in Ireland today announced a prestigious panel of industry leaders who will serve as judges in this inaugural year of the Awards. This international panel consists of six independent judges, drawn from across the globe and across the spectrum of fundraising disciplines, and brings more than 130 years of combined leadership. The judges are:


Alex Pigot (Ireland): Alex founded, owns, and is Managing Director of Tico Mail Works Ltd, one of Ireland’s largest bulk mail production companies ( He was a founding member (1989) and past chairman of the Irish Direct Marketing Association (IDMA — and chaired their Regulatory Affairs Committee from 2003 until 2008. He was a board member of the Federation of European Direct Marketing (FEDMA — from 1997–2007, and has had a seat on the Universal Postal Union’s ( Consultative Committee and its Addressing Group since 2009. In 2013, he co-founded and is CEO of Addressing the Unaddressed (, an Irish registered charity that provides postal addresses to those who live in unplanned settlements such as slums, shanties, and campsites.


Alan Clayton (Scotland): Alan has 25 years of experience as a creative director and consultant in global fundraising, having worked with over 320 clients around the world. He developed the “Great Fundraising” program over a decade ago and is a popular plenary speaker at conferences worldwide. 

Catrina Sheridan (Ireland): Catrina is a keen advocate for driving higher performance and innovation in the third sector. Her career spans 27 years, working in senior roles in Macy’s, IPSOS research, Unilever, and British Telecommunications, as well as more recent roles in the international not-for-profit sector with Trócaire and Sightsavers Ireland, where she was CEO. She has held board positions in a number of organisations including Blueface, a technology company where she was part of a management buy-in team and COO, as well as Dóchas, the umbrella organisation for INGO in Ireland, where she was Chair of the Disability in International Development Working Group. She is currently a board member of SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, and is a strategic advisor in the INGO sector, as well as an Enterprise Ireland mentor. Catrina has a B. Sc. MA in Business Management from Trinity College Dublin and a Master’s in Executive Leadership from University of Ulster/Boston College.

Criona Cullen (Ireland): With PR experience in both Ireland and overseas, Criona has over 20 years of senior fundraising management experience across the not-for-profit sector, with a focus on the arts and health care sectors. During this time she has participated in the emergence of the role of fundraiser into the dynamic profession that it is today, displaying a diverse range of skills within an ever-changing and complex environment.

She has successfully developed effective fundraising teams, growing income streams across the fundraising spectrum from donor recruitment and development through to community, major gift, and corporate fundraising. In 2012, she and her team received the award for most innovative fundraising campaign and were shortlisted for the Global Fundraising Awards for that year.

Kyla Shawyer (USA): As the chief troublemaker at the head of the Resource Alliance, Kyla is passionate about living and breathing the values of the Resource Alliance manifesto: to inspire sharing, collaboration, and our collective power to create change. Her mission is to encourage, support, empower, enable, and celebrate the rabble-rousers and troublemakers who have the vision and courage to forge new paths and new relationships, and to open the door to new possibilities that will help make the world a fairer, kinder, and more compassionate place.

Sarah Nelems (Canada): Sarah Nelems' passion for fundraising and building capacity in the not-for-profit sector has inspired her dynamic career of over 20 years — from health care, education, and research to humanitarian assistance. She is the current CEO of Habitat for Humanity, whose mission is to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. In addition to Habitat, Sarah has served in senior advancement roles at the Canadian Red Cross, United Nations Association in Canada, KGH-UBC's tertiary teaching hospital foundation, and also the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York. Sarah earned her undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia and her master’s at the London School of Economics. She is a frequent delegate and session leader at many international conferences, including IFC in Amsterdam. She lives close to beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada, with her family and two feisty West Highland terriers.

The National Fundraising Awards, a celebration of innovation and results hosted by Nexus Direct, will take place on 22 March 2018. Submissions are open now through 16 January, with a shortlist to be announced soon thereafter. Nexus Direct will have NO INVOLVEMENT IN ANY PART OF THE JUDGING PROCESS. An independent company, CMS Marketing, will manage the entirety of the judging process.

For more information on the National Fundraising Awards, please visit


About Nexus Direct: Nexus Direct is an independent, full-service direct marketing agency with a broad range of corporate, political, national association, and nonprofit clients. Founded in 2004, Nexus Direct is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise and has been named three times to the Inc. 5000 list of “Fastest-Growing Companies.” Recognised on four Top Business Lists nationally and statewide in 2016 by and named as a Top 100 Agency by the Agency Post in 2013, Nexus Direct is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, with offices in Washington, D.C., and Dublin.