Becoming a Trustee
Could you be a trustee?
Trustees have the overall responsibility for the management and future direction of a charity. This means that they should ensure that the organisation is:
- doing what it says it will do in its governing document
- demonstrating how it is working for the benefit of the public
- complying with the law
- planning for the short, medium and long term
- using its resources (staff, finance, buildings) wisely
- accountable to its members and the public
Most trustee business happens in trustee (or board or committee) meetings, and you would be expected to prepare for the meetings by reading the papers and thinking about the various topics for discussion. Outside of meetings, you may be involved in other activities, such as recruiting staff or volunteers, attending meetings and events, or supporting staff and volunteers with projects. If the organisation has paid staff, trustees generally have less involvement in operational matters than if the activities are all delivered by volunteers.
How do I decide if a trustee role is right for me?
Some Trustee roles require specialist knowledge or skills, but generally charities and other non-profit organisations are looking for people who are willing and able to commit their time, ideas and experiences to support the organisation’s cause.
Don’t worry if you haven’t been a member of a committee or a trustee before, and you don’t need to be an expert in the organisation’s area of work. Charities and groups are keen that their committees represent the different ages and backgrounds of people from their local communities, so if you are interested in a role, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the organisation to find out more about it
Organisations will generally provide information and training for new Trustees, and there are also lots of free resources available to aspiring Trustees' from Getting on Board
Being a Trustee is a great way to learn new skills, and gain experience in new areas – as well as meeting new people.
Did you know less than 3% of Trustees' are under 30 years old? We want to support this to change.
There is great work already taking place and many boards are doing great work to diversify their boards. Young Trustees Movement are an organisation supporting this. While their While their focus is on age, young people are not just part of one demographic, therefore their campaign is part of a wider call for board diversity.
Check out Young Trustees Movement via the link below
Trustee training, guidance and resources.
Community Action Norfolk
Community Action Norfolk offer a 2 hour on-line training session which provides Trustees of Norfolk organisations with greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities. This session covers:
o Different types of trustee
o Appointments and decision making
o Liabilities and conflicts of interest
o Reporting requirements
CAN are a membership organisation, for details on membership, training and fees head to their website by clicking the button below.
Getting on Board
This year Getting on Board started the Trustee Learning Programme, a collection of all their free and high-quality webinars, clinics and panel discussions to help you become and be an effective trustee.
There are six strands relating to various stages of trustee development:
- Newly appointed trustees: Everything you need to get started in your role.
- Recruiting trustees: Help for charity leaders and staff with open recruitment.
- Trustee refresher: Give existing trustees’ learning a boost.
- Hot topics: Discussing the fascinating and challenging current issues that impact our roles as trustees.
- Taking on new responsibilities: Learning to support moving onto a chair, vice chair or treasurer role.
- Skilling up: Deepen your knowledge of board matters like fundraising and working with your CEO.
All the Trustee Learning Programme sessions embed best equity, diversity and inclusion practices.