Trustees Week 2021: What do Trustees Actually Do?
The role of a charity trustee is necessary for the smooth running of every single charity in Hackney. But lots of people don’t even know what a trustee is, and definitely wouldn’t think about applying to become one.
This means most charity boards suffer from a lack of diversity. And that’s a problem. Because if you want to make good decisions, you need the widest possible range of perspectives.
This #TrusteesWeek, we’re sharing some of our knowledge to try and demystify the role of charity trustee so more people are encouraged to give it a go.
- A group of usually 5-10 trustees have overall responsibility for a charity, and their role is to make sure that everything the charity does and spends money on helps its beneficiaries.
- Most people over 18 can be trustees, and trustees for charitable companies or CIOs (charitable incorporated organisations) can be 16. However, only 3% of trustees are under 30!
- Knowledge of finance, HR, law, management, communications or fundraising are all useful skills for trustees to have. However, a charity’s volunteers or service-users can also bring valuable insight to its board.
- Trustees are required to attend board meetings – typically between 4-8 per year – and to read documents ahead of each. Many give more of their time, especially in smaller charities, so it’s important to understand the time commitment before joining a specific board.
- Being a trustee can be good for personal and professional development, gaining strategy and leadership skills, a CV boost, and it’s a chance for you to make a real difference to a local cause you care about!