Could you be a Trustee?
- December 3, 2015
- Posted by: admin
- Category: VOLUNTEERS
Almost half of all charities in the UK have at least one trustee post vacant. So what is it that stops volunteers taking up these roles?
Sometimes it’s a mental image of volunteering as being charity shops and tea dances, with no professional opportunities. Sometimes it’s feeling that you have to have years of leadership experience to even consider a trustee role. And sometimes it’s not knowing whether you would be welcome as a trustee.
Trustee roles provide the opportunity to broaden skills, give direction to a charity’s work, develop management and strategy experience and enhance leadership skills. However:
- the average age of a trustee in the UK is 57 with 67% over 60
- just 0.5% of trustees are aged 18 – 24, even though this group accounts for 12% of the population*
- 97% of Trustee Chairs are white and seven out of ten are men**.
So how can the third sector change the image of trustee roles?
- • Shout about it! – Tell people you have a trustee role, show how it can help them build their CV, their confidence and make a real difference in their community. Clearly demonstrate how it can be both a professional role and a way to develop professional skills. Use alternative methods of recruitment to word of mouth (brokerage services, advertising, specialist trustee recruiters), as this has a tendency to maintain a similar pool of trustees.
- • Ask people directly – So many people don’t volunteer because they don’t think the role is open to them. Young people, disabled people and people from a black or minority ethnic background are under-represented on trustee boards. Make links with local groups so you can invite people to apply or state clearly in your adverts that you would particularly welcome people from specific groups.
- • Be clear about the role – say how much time the role will take, how flexible you can be, and what opportunities your trustees will have to develop leadership skills and move the charity forward. Think about when you have your meetings, making sure you have easy to use expenses procedures and how accessible your meetings are. This includes thinking about the language you are using – Plain English makes life easier for everyone, as well as making the role more accessible.
As part of our work as a Volunteer Centre, we support local organisations to advertise their roles and reach the wider community. Our Membership Team provide direct support to members to help them attract more diverse groups for their roles. We provide training on inclusive volunteering programmes as well as speaking at networking events to actively invite people to volunteer as trustees.
To find out more about membership or training in inclusive volunteering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on trustee roles, see the Charity Commission guidance: www.gov.uk/guidance/trustee-board-people-and-skills
*The Charity Commission **ACEVO