A more charitable future

Published by Susan Robinson on 3 April 2020

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One of the most heart-warming and hopefully long-lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the way in which many local communities have come together and rallied to support each other. There may be many people who following on from this would like to continue to offer their services and support and charities should seek to encourage them to volunteer or take on a Trustee role to enable them and the wider community to benefit from this.

Where charities receive offers of help they should ask them if they can keep their contact details on file for the future. They could help you with future projects.

Charities require people with a variety of different skills and many are keen to find a more diverse range of volunteers and Trustees, especially those with financial and legal backgrounds or who are IT literate and digitally competent.

Where face to face contact has currently paused for many charities, those who have embraced digitalisation across their charity operations will certainly have a head start on tapping into and harnessing this new, charitable spirit. So why not spend the time now to prepare your charity for the future?

Although it is important that trustees meet, the recent restrictions have encouraged more on-line meetings, which will make it easier for all Trustees to engage going forward.

There is a lot that charities can do to be more attractive to new Trustees and that means focusing on the basics first.

It is important to ensure financial accounts are accurate and up to date and charities should produce a Trustees’ Report to explain and “sell” their activities.

The Trustees’ report is a fantastic opportunity for a charity to showcase what it does and how it benefits the public. This will raise awareness of the charity and give comfort to the stakeholders of the charity that the funds are being well managed. The Trustees’ report should also help the charity to be completely transparent as to how it has met its charitable objects.

The Trustees’ report should give the reader a good understanding of what the charity does to benefit the public. Make it interesting and inviting to read and include pictures and graphs but don’t make it too long. Stories of how the charity has helped its beneficiaries are perfect, as they meet both the public benefit and charity objectives reporting requirements.

The Trustees’ report must include information about:

  • Objectives and activities
  • Achievements and performance
  • Financial review including reserves policy
  • Structure, governance and management
  • Reference and administrative details
  • How the charity has met public benefit criteria

Think about asking someone to read the report who is not involved in the charity. Does it engage them and do they fully understand what the charity is achieving?  You may get a new supporter!

There is a significant amount of advice available from organisations such as Reach Volunteering where charities can directly engage with people who are interested in becoming a Trustee as well as posting an advert for their own requirements.

As well as recruiting new Trustees, charities should regularly review and potentially provide training for existing Trustees. Charities should ensure they work hard to keep good Trustees on board, especially those with different qualities which are needed to ensure the broad success of the organisation.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics explored in this article, contact Susan Robinson, Partner and Head of Charities here.

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