It’s the end of another Trustees Week, an initiative promoted by the Charity Commission each year with the aim of encouraging more people from all walks of life to get involved in supporting charities by becoming a trustee.
Trustees play a crucial role in terms of charity governance and, given that charities represent all walks of life, it is vital that their boards are representative of people from different backgrounds too. But it’s not just a benefit to the charity, trustees have an opportunity to develop their skills and experience, all the while making a difference to the organisation they support.
The Guardian ran an excellent article for those of you who have recently become a trustee or board member. And it’s one I personally, will be reading with interest having just joined the board of a children’s theatre company.
In previous years, Trustees’ Week has looked to encourage more young people to get involved with charity boards – to provide a different perspective. 2010 statistics suggested that 18 – 24 year olds represented 12% of the population but only 0.5% of the trustee population in England and Wales. By having trustees with a wide range of backgrounds and ages, a charity increases the opportunities available for networking, ideas generation and trustee involvement.
While Trustees Week is an initiative specifically covering England and Wales it’s important for charities across the UK to encourage and promote opportunities for all to volunteer as board members, as well as more regular volunteering opportunities. And charities could be creative in their recruitment of trustees, perhaps using social media to set up a recruitment campaign.
Whether you’re a charity looking for new trustees or an individual looking for a new challenge, increasing the numbers of people actively involved with charities can only be a good thing.