Free guide to help charities recruit trustees published

26 Mar 2019 News

A charity that promotes board-level volunteering has published a free step-by-step guide to help charities find and recruit trustees.

The guide, by Getting on Board, includes checklists, template advertisements and induction packs, advice on where to advertise and case studies from charities which have used it effectively.

How to recruit trustees for your charity – A practical guide was lanched last night and the charity wants it to be circulated as widely as possible to help more charities solve their trustee recruitment problems.

It can be downloaded here.

Majority find recruitment dificult

The idea for the guide sprang out of some research that Getting on Board carried out two years ago which suggested that 74 per cent of charities found trustee recruitment difficult, and over half of charities had at least one vacancy on their board.

Yet 90 per cent of charities still found most of their trustees through word of mouth, and only 10 per cent of trustee vacancies were ever advertised.

The Charity Commission’s seminal trustee research Taken on Trust threw the issues around trustee recruitment into sharper relief, showing that charity boards are overwhelmingly comprised of older white men, and that levels of diversity on charity boards are even worse than those in the commercial sector.

Getting on Board’s research also suggested that only 14 per cent of charities feel their trustee boards have the right skills and experience to meet future compliance and strategic challenges, and more than half are not representative of the communities they serve.

Recruitment programme

On the back of these studies, Getting on Board launched a programme called Trustee Recruitment Pathways, in which 30 charities with income under £2m were invited to help develop and test new approaches to finding trustees.

They took part in workshops, conducted simple skills assessments of their boards and identified where gaps existed, and then devised and ran advertising campaigns.  

The plan was to test whether using open recruitment processes, instead of just relying on existing networks, did make it easier to find new trustees from a wider pool of candidates.

The programme was a success: 74 per cent of the 30 charities did recruit new trustees during the programme. A total of 55 new trustees were found and between them the charities received 111 applications.

Most of the organisations that didn’t recruit had to postpone the process because of external factors outside their control.

Crucially, the proportion of charities that felt well-equipped to face future challenges rose from 43 per cent at the start of the programme to 85 per cent at the end, and 65 per cent felt their board was more diverse as a result of taking part.

Explaining how Southend gardening charity Trust Links had changed its practices after taking part in the programme, chair Rick Olver said the board realised it needed to be more flexible about the time of meetings to enable different types of people to attend.

Board meetings now start at 6pm rather than 4pm, to enable working people to take part, and some trustees are offered transport there and back by other board members.

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