Getting on Board has published a free guide on how to become a charity trustee.
The practical toolkit aims to address questions around trusteeship. The guide focuses on people thinking about becoming a trustee in England and Wales, but much of the content is applicable in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Getting on Board has identified eight key stages to help explore trusteeship. It adds that there is not a “one size fits all” approach to becoming a trustee and that individual trustees may have been on very different journeys to get to their role.
There are an estimated 100,000 charity trustee vacancies in the UK.
The guide explains different elements of trusteeship. For example, charity boards often have five to 12 trustees, and trustees are usually appointed for a term of two to four years.
It also looks at the role of a charity trustee as it relates to certain duties. For example, trustees must ensure the charity complies with laws that apply to it and explains that if the trustees fall short of these duties they can be held accountable.
Bushra Ahmed, chair of the Small Charities Coalition, said: “A guide like this is important so that others realise, what I wasn’t told, that this route is not just for those with degrees or business qualifications, but that there is a role at the top table for those who’ve graduated from the university of life.”
Lack of diversity
Many charities lack diversity on their boards, and according to research carried out in August 2020 by Ecclesiastical, 35% of charities are concerned about a lack of trustee diversity.
One of the areas where charities felt they most needed to diversify was age. Over a third felt they needed to bring younger people onto boards.
Further to this, 92% of charity trustees are white. Only 8% of trustees are BAME and that figure falls to just 6% of trustees of the largest charities, according to Taken on Trust, research carried out by the Charity Commission in 2017.
The Charity Commission has revealed that it has exercised its power to remove a trustee at least 38 times since 2002.