Recruit effective charity Trustees

Looking for effective charity Trustees is a challenge

Charities rely on trustees to guide and oversee their work so the role is very important. Getting the right people for the role is vital.

A good charity trustee must…

… have enthusiasm which is important, but not enough:

  • Understand what the charity does and seeks to achieve.
  • Get involved with the team behind day-to-day operations.
  • Have time to attend meetings and review board papers.
  • Add value and promote the cause whenever possible.
  • Listen and engage with what is presented by the management.

Whoever is making the individual appointment must ensure that the board as a whole is a balance of oversight skills necessary to run what is, effectively, a business.

How to decide who is needed

A ‘skills’ audit will help to work out what is necessary for the board, with the best trustees to call in other specialist help through their own contacts.

For example, a financial oversight role is typically given to a qualified accountant. But that person may not be a VAT expert, which is a tax with complex rules, this causes problems for charities when they make assumptions about exemptions.

Similarly, a charity with a property portfolio should have a property specialist on board; and one that specialises in geriatric care should seek someone with a medical background.

Finding suitable charity trustees

As the regulatory burden and risk of personal liability has increased, charities find it hard sometimes to attract the volunteers they need.

The best people to be trustees are often also the busiest. Anything that can help ease the time pressure will help attract applications.

For example:

  • Hold meetings remotely using conference facilities.
  • Replace lengthy board documents with dashboards of real-time key performance indicators accessible at any time.
  • Offer training via online webinars and seminars. There are now courses aimed at the charity sector to improve governance standards.

Another practical consideration that can make it hard to get the right people, is the time of day when meetings are help, and where. This can also impact on the age profile of likely candidates.

A charity trustee’s challenge

While the best charity trustees may also be friends and supporters of the charity, that is not sufficient criteria for appointment. There are legal responsibilities attached to the role, and the law is unforgiving when mistakes are made even those who make them given their time for free.

If you become a trustee, there are some simple principles to use as personal benchmarks that will help protect you from liability if a problem arises:

  • Act with transparency and integrity to protect the reputation of the charity.
  • Constructively challenge proposals and activities.

 

If you are looking to recruit effective Trustees and would like some expert guidance, contact us to arrange to speak with one of our specialists in London, Kent or Sussex.

Contact charities team

Contact our charity experts

If you are looking to recruit effective Trustees and would like some expert guidance, contact us to arrange to speak with one of our specialists in London, Kent or Sussex.

Contact charities team

"The work Mark and his team provide is invaluable. They step above the every-day support we need and bring real added value. They have led specialist training for our trustees and provide the insight and advice on the latest Charity Commission guidance. Just as we become part of our patients’ lives, Kreston Reeves has become part of our team."

Patricia Woolgar, Chair of Trustees

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Contact our charity experts

If you are looking to recruit effective Trustees and would like some expert guidance, contact us to arrange to speak with one of our specialists in London, Kent or Sussex.

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