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What is a trustee and how to become one?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Trustees, Volunteering

The Big Help Out aims to help people experience volunteering and make a difference in their communities. Getting On Board and the Charity Commission are here to support.

Volunteering can be incredibly rewarding, and there are many ways in which you can devote some of your time to charitable work.

Have you ever considered helping to run a charity?

Trustees are the volunteers who lead charities and decide how they are run. You may have heard them called board members or the board. Trusteeship is a great way of contributing to causes you care about and developing strategic and leadership skills at the same time.

Anyone can be a trustee, regardless of how junior or senior you are in your career, whether you’re in paid employment or not, regardless of your ethnicity, class, gender orientation, sexuality or any other difference. Boards thrive when they have a diversity of skills, knowledge, age and experience on their board.

Did you know?

  • there are 100,000 vacancies for charity trustees in the UK
  • trusteeship is open to all ages (16+ or 18+), backgrounds and skill sets
  • the level of time commitment is modest (30 hours a year)
  • there are one million trustees in the UK but many people don’t know what a trustee is or that trusteeship is open to them
  • many charities are very keen to diversify their boards and are looking for trustees with ages, experiences, ethnicities and backgrounds that are currently under-represented on their boards
  • 96% of trustees said they had learned new skills and 84% said being a trustee made them happier
  • trustees make decisions about the direction a charity takes and how its purposes will be carried out. They also make sure that the charity has the resources and policies it needs and to comply with legal requirements

If you would like to find out more, you can join the free webinar, What is a Trustee and how do I become one hosted by Getting On Board.This one-hour session is a great introduction to the world of Trusteeship and will cover:

  • what trustees are
  • what they do
  • how you can become one

The webinar is free to attend.

Getting on Board also has other useful resources to support you. You can read their guide on How to Become a Trustee Guide, they also have a series of useful webinars, Getting on Board Events

You can find hundreds of trustee vacancies listed on the Reach Volunteering search platform.

The Charity Commission also has a series of guides to support you on your Trustee Journey. Advice and guidance for Charity Trustees – Getting the most out of being a charity trustee

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  1. Comment by Graham Baughan posted on

    Unfortunately, we have bad experiences with trustees.
    We are currently holding an Independent Charitable Trust to account for the gross neglect of facilities under their management.
    We are also holding the trustees to account because of the neglect of their duties/ code of conduct.
    Committing to being a trustee involves an obligation to look, listen and act in the appropriate manner and not take the word of a very plausible CEO, who is more concerned with self-image and self-gain.
    Thank you.

  2. Comment by Nigel Winter posted on

    I think it is important to emphasise that trustees have legal responsibilities and charities need people with some specific skills. Financial, risk management skills and knowledge of legal requirements are particularly important. Diversity is important but the right skill mix is essential or the charity might be put at risk.

  3. Comment by Graham Baughan posted on

    I’m really confused.
    A group of us are unfortunately holding an independent charitable trust to account in respect to numerous issues which includes Poor Risk Management, Misrepresentation of image, Deceiving the customers, substandard staffing practices, Safeguarding, H&S, and poor corporate governance practices, including the Trustees and yet, after submitting an extensive report, with proof and evidence of all the above, the Charity Commission gave us a negative response.
    We were flabbergasted but at the same time we also know that the CC are regulators for one main reason, which is to protect the charities.
    A penny for your thoughts please.

  4. Comment by Graham posted on

    Who are more important the trustees or the CEO of the organisation they are representing?
    Specifically, can the trustees override the CEO at any time?

  5. Comment by Graham Baughan posted on

    Second question:

    If values, vision and mission statement are not being adhered to, can the trustees be held accountable?