Trustees’ week is here again. An annual event, falling this year between 2-8 November, it showcases the great work trustees do. The week also coincides with Guy Fawkes Day, another annual event celebrating a foiled attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Happily, trustees, members of boards and management committees are united by their wish to create a more positive change in society.
What is a trustee?
A trustee essentially leads a charity. You can see more on the Trustees’ Week website. They say: “Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. They may be called trustees, directors, board members, governors or committee members, but they are the people with ultimate responsibility for directing the business of the charity. They are often the unsung heroes, playing a vital role, volunteering their time, working together to make the decisions that really matter about the charity’s finances, activities and plans for the future.”
Anyone over 18 can be a trustee. Gone are the days when trustees were older more conservative members of society. The young and dynamic can get involved and we would encourage anyone who wants to increase their experience, responsibility and with a passion for social change to explore a possible trustee role. The Charity Commission give more guidance about what’s involved.
So how did Trustees’ Week come about?
In October 2010, in conjunction with Reach and a number of national organisations, the Charity Commission launched Trustees’ Week to highlight the invaluable work done by trustees nationwide. We hope that even more people will be encouraged to consider becoming trustees by being made aware of the opportunities which exist to make a real difference in society. Trustees’ Week 2015 is our sixth annual celebration. We draw attention to the opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved – no formal qualifications are usually needed, and many charities especially smaller ones need more trustees.
To read inspiring stories about what trustees from all walks of life have achieved and for events, news and support go to the Trustees’ Week website.
We are thrilled to be involved with Trustees’ Week and help to raise awareness of the valuable trustee role. The importance of a charity’s board cannot be overstated and it’s well worth investing in a recruitment process that adds genuine value to the board, introducing you to the right people to lead your charity to success.
We recognised the need for a dedicated trustee finder service so in 2009 we launched TrusteeWorks. Having now placed well over 1,000 trustees, we are happy to report TrusteeWorks has become the largest supplier of trustees to the sector (we also have a free Matching service to charities under £1M turnover, which we launched in 2013).
Resources for Trustees and Boards
At Reach have plenty of advice at hand on how to be or find a good trustee. Here are some resources you might find useful from Luke and Bilwa in our TrusteeWorks team:
For prospective trustees
For charities recruiting trustees
There is a free governance conference on Monday 16th November at City Hall. Organised by Greater London Volunteering, Team London and Reach the conference includes: a session about trustee diversity in the morning, a panel about chief executive/chair relationships, a speed pitching session, and workshops in the afternoon. Book your place here.
You can also find more resources about trusteeship on the Trustees’ Week website.
And what sort of impact do trustees have?
We often speak to the charities we work with to find out the impact the trustees placed through us have made. Here’s what a selection of them have said:
“Angela has brought a lot more to the charity. She has experience of writing company strategies. She is focused on turning information into actions.”
Board Chairman, Jim Grassick, Independent Options
“With a working history at TFL, Giles is our marketing expert on the board. He has done a tremendous amount of promotion for us and has had a phenomenal impact. We depend on getting the word out for our income and Giles has used a mixture of social media, events and website to create maximum coverage.”
Chair of trustees, Caroline Clark, The Brix at St Matthews
“We were very happy with Matthew’s placement. We had needed someone with HR knowledge for some time. Matthew has brought the HR skills we needed and also other experience such as organisational change management. His impact has been felt in his willingness to take an active part in the Board’s work.”
Board Member, Hazel McGrath, Alternatives to Violence
“We are very grateful to Reach for playing an important role in enabling us to rejuvenate our Board. Like many – perhaps most – voluntary organisations, the year ahead is going to be very difficult for us, but with Reach’s help, we are in a better position to face it.”
Peter Senker, Crossroads Care East Sussex, Brighton & Hove
“Thank you, as ever, for an excellent professional service, without which the Counselling and Family Centre would very much be struggling to recruit volunteers of anything like the calibre of the candidate you sent to us.”
Geoff Urwin, The Counselling & Family Centre
As you can see, the work and value of trustees is massive and they make a huge contribution to UK charities and our society at large. Trustees’ Week is a chance to celebrate, highlight and recognise their work – I do hope you’ll join us in doing so!