The recruitment of trustees is something that all charities do differently. However, there are a number of mistakes which, as a recruitment expert in the field, I see cropping up again and again.
Trustees’ Week is a great time to examine them.
1) Sparse or weakly constructed role description
This is probably the most common problem with a recruitment process. The most qualified professionals seeking trustee roles can be as discerning as they like: they look for role descriptions that stand out from the crowd and many will only apply to those roles that are carefully crafted: grammar, clarity, purpose, incentive, interest and scope are all aspects of your role which will be judged.
Many organisations now create attractive information packs to ensure that their role catches the eye of prospective trustees and this is a very effective tactic. Remember, the quality of your role description reflects the quality of the organisations work.
2) Unwillingness to spend money on the recruitment process
It is a common misconception that volunteers work for free.
Of course, volunteers are not paid but that doesn’t mean that they don’t consume resources: expenses, training, management time all contribute to a cost. A lot of charities believe that, because a trustee is unpaid, their recruitment should also incur no cost, despite the fact that it takes time to draft a role description (and even more to create an info pack). Equally, dealing with applications, shortlisting, interview and induction all take a toll of resources.
As such, organisations should not see investing in good trustees as wasted resources but rather, a solid investment which will pay dividends if done right.
3) Thinking outside the box
Charities who struggle to find the ideal candidate are often looking at their applicants without creativity. For example, a charity seeking a fundraising trustee may overlook candidates who have an extensive back ground in marketing, yet, in many instances, fundraising is a form of targeted marketing.
In short, flexibility and a view to recruiting people with transferable skills and determination may often prove as effective (and sometimes even more so) than a candidate who ticks all the boxes but has limited time or passion for the role.
Posted in Blog Entries Tagged with: Charity boards, Charity Governance, Charity Trustee, Good practice in governance, Good practice in volunteering, Skilled volunteering, Trustee Recruitment, Trustees' Week
Reach’s Trusteeworks Matching Service will be free from 1 November 2013 for charities with an annual turnover of under £1 million. Reach believes that removing the entry level charge of £75 for smaller charities, who have limited funds for recruiting, will make a big difference by helping them to strengthen their boards.
Strong boards, with a sufficient breadth of experience and skills, are crucial for charities facing difficult decisions in an uncertain economic climate. The ability to recruit outside a charity’s immediate networks by using a service like Reach is an important factor in this process.
The Trusteeworks Matching Service provides a free, high-quality introduction to skilled volunteers. The trustee role appears on Reach’s register of available trustee opportunities, and Reach’s recruitment teams search their extensive register of available volunteers, sound out candidates and forward suitable names to the charity.
In addition to the Matching Service, Reach offers the Trusteeworks Matching Plus Service and the Trusteeworks Premium Service which provide additional features such as preparing advertising copy for the role and in-depth screening and briefing of candidates.
Reach is the biggest recruiter of trustees in the UK having placed nearly 750 with charities all over the country since the launch of Trusteeworks in October 2009, including 185 in 2012 and 142 so far this year. Overall, Reach placed 500 volunteers in 2012 representing an estimated value of £9 million worth of skills transferred into the charity sector, and registered over 1,000 new volunteers and more than 1,100 placement opportunities with charities.
Posted in News Tagged with: Charity boards, Charity Governance, Charity Trustee, Corporate volunteering, Good practice in governance, Good practice in volunteering, Governance, Measuring impact, Reach in the news, Reach volunteering, Recession, Skilled volunteering, Trustee, Trustee Recruitment, Trustees' Week, TrusteeWorks, Volunteer expertise
Conchita from The FSI guest blogs in the run-up to 2013’s Small Charity Week.
Recent research by the FSI into the skills gaps within the small charity sector has shown that charitable organisations with an annual turnover under £1.5 million continue to struggle in key areas which impacts on their ability to deliver services.
The full report shows that as small charities prioritise the use of funding to deliver frontline programmes, they are increasingly unable to train or develop staff and volunteers. 66% of respondents stated there was no funding available for training and development, while 37% said there would be no room to improve their charitable services, which could impair the quality delivered to beneficiaries.
Small charities reported that impact reporting, long-term strategic planning and marketing were the areas in which they were struggling to plug this skills gap in their organisation. To see the full report, please click here.
Small Charity Week 2013 will be taking place between the 17th-22nd June and aims to address some of the issues raised by small charities as areas in which they struggle. Small charities can sign up to six days of free initiatives and competitions, including cash prizes, pro-bono advice and guidance from third sector and business experts including, the FSI, Reach, Oxfam and Credit Suisse to name a few. Also available will be opportunities for small charities to engage with policy makers and influencers when Nick Hurd, Minister of Civil Society hosts a cross-party event at Westminster on Policy Day.
Small charities have told us they continue to rely heavily on volunteers to support their activity and for the first time the FSI are including a Volunteering Day into the week’s programme to help small charities to promote their volunteer opportunities and find the skills they need for their organisation. We are excited to be working alongside Reach to support charities on this day.
The full breakdown for the week is as follows:
Small charities can sign up to all of the free activities of Small Charity Week through the website smallcharityweek.com and follow news through twitter @SCWeek2013 or the Facebook page
Conchita Garcia is Head of Projects and Development at The FSI. Here she blogs in a personal capacity.
Posted in Blog Entries Tagged with: Big Society, Charity boards, Charity Governance, Charity Trustee, Creative volunteer engagement, Fundraising, Governance, Skilled volunteering, Third Sector, Third sector leaders, Trustee Recruitment, Volunteer expertise
The recent Grant Thornton report on good governance emphasised the need to recruit and maintain a diverse and effective Board of Trustees with a broad range of trustee skills, knowledge and experience.
This will help charities to be fair and open in the way they deliver services and to be more accountable for their actions all serving to increase confidence in their work.
The report based on a study of the Annual Reports of the UK’s top 100 charities highlighted many good examples of diversity – not least the 31% representation of women on their Boards compared to 22% on the Boards of the UK’s top 100 companies.
It also highlighted the important connection between having polices for good governance and being accountability though providing full information about these in Annual Reports. Being seen to adhere to good governance principles and practice can be as important as good governance itself. There is a symbiotic relationship with the discipline of having to describe in the Annual Report the system for good governance compelling charities to concentrate on how they can bring about and maintain good governance in the first place.
The report sets out a number of recommendations for good governance and good operational practice in areas such as Board succession planning and sets out ideas for what should be covered Annual Reports such as:
All charity trustees would learn something of benefit about how to make their charity even more effective by reading this well-researched and presented report.
This Trustees’ Week we learn that over five million young people would consider becoming a charity trustee.
That research is no surprise to Luke, our TrusteeWorks Manager and Young Charity Trustees Ambassador. “Young people bring fresh perspective, new ideas and professional skills to the board”, he says.
Luke will be taking part in the Guardian’s live debate on the changing role of trustees and charity boards on Tuesday 6 November. Join in to become part of the conversation.
Meanwhile, over on YouTube, Alex talks about being young and on the board.
Posted in Blog Entries Tagged with: Charity boards, Good practice in governance, Governance, Improving performance, Third Sector, Trustee, Trustee Recruitment, Trustees' Week, TrusteeWorks, Volunteer expertise
Reach Volunteering is developing a new web-based platform which will dramatically increase the volume, range and quality of skilled volunteering across the UK by building an online community where charities and volunteers will meet, interact, and find their ideal match.
The platform – provisionally called iReach – will be developed over the next three years following Reach’s successful application for an Innovation in Giving Fund (IIGF) grant of up to £50,000.
Over the coming years the grant will help the platform to be developed, tested and brought to operational readiness using the skills of volunteers and staff supplemented with additional expertise where it is needed.
Reach Chief Executive Janet Thorne said:
“We are very pleased to have received IIGF support and are excited about implementing the new platform. Our research with charities and skilled volunteers has shown that only a fraction of the skills-based volunteering that could happen actually does so – currently, 60% of charities need professionally skilled volunteers and 48% have a board vacancy.
“There is a strong need for an online platform which allows charities and volunteers the independence to flexibly recruit and volunteer, encourages dialogue and enables them to find each other in different ways. At the end of its third year, iReach will have enabled 10,000 volunteering opportunities, helping thousands of charities across the UK fill their skills gaps.
“Charities will discover a pool of motivated, skilled volunteers, more effective and flexible ways of recruiting the right person and support and inspiration to increase the impact of skills-based volunteering on their charity. Volunteers will find loads of help to find the right opportunity as well as a radical increase in the range of ways they can offer their talents.”
Posted in News Tagged with: Big Society, Charity boards, Corporate volunteering, Creative volunteer engagement, Improving performance, Skilled volunteering, Third Sector, TrusteeWorks, Volunteer expertise
Reach, the skilled volunteering charity, has appointed two new Trustees – Simon Hebditch, a social organisation consultant, and Andrew Jenkinson a Board level insurance specialist.
Reach’s Interim Chief Executive David Collins said, “Simon and Andrew bring a key range of management, financial and professional skills to Reach’s work. We are very pleased to have them on board as Reach embarks on its next phase of delivering an enhanced and more effective service to charities and professional volunteers.”
Simon Hebditch said, “Having worked for many years in the voluntary sector I have been aware of Reach and the invaluable and unique service it provides and I look forward very much to helping it develop its services and thrive for the future.”
Andrew Jenkinson said, “Reach is a highly regarded organisation and I look forward to contributing my financial and business experience to further improve its services to charities and volunteers.”
Liz Maher is standing down as a Reach trustee after nine years of service.
David Collins said, “Liz has made a very strong contribution to Reach and has been an inspiration to the our Board, staff and volunteers. We wish her well for the future.”
Simon Hebditch has worked in the voluntary and community sector for many years, specialising in policy analysis, strategic planning, campaigning and external relations. He is a Trustee of the Small Charities Coalition and was the first chief executive of Capacitybuilders from February 2006 to March 2008. Previously he had been external affairs director of the Charities Aid Foundation and assistant director of NCVO.
Andrew Jenkinson is Non Executive Director, Consultant and Interim Manager at Andrew Jenkinson Associates. He was formerly Group Finance Director at Barbon Insurance Group Ltd and Chairman of Friends of Hertfordshire Youth Music Groups.
Liz Maher is Director of Centurion VAT Specialists Ltd, a Council Member on Newport Board at South Wales Chamber of Commerce, Treasurer of Friends of Newport Cathedral Choir and a member of the CBI Enterprise Forum in Wales at CBI.
The current board of Reach Trustees is:
Posted in News Tagged with: Charity boards, Good practice in governance, Governance, Improving performance, Process improvement, Reach in the news, Reach volunteering, Staff Changes, Trustee Recruitment
Reach Volunteering is teaming up with YMCA England offering a discounted service to help it fill trustee positions at member associations around the country.
Paul Smillie of YMCA England said:
“It is really good to be working with Reach. We always need new trustees to help us deliver our work throughout the UK. Reach is a very professional organisation that is attentive to clients’ needs. They are putting forward a good stream of suitable professionally skilled volunteers who make a valuable contribution to our associations.”
At a cost of £60 per role, Reach’s TrusteeWorks service promotes YMCA trustee roles to its database of 2500 available professional volunteers.
David Collins, Interim CEO of Reach, said:
“We are excited to be working with YMCA England and helping its associations find the right trustees they need to develop their board’s full potential. Having worked with YMCA, we have a strong understanding of what is important to them.”
Find out more about our TrusteeWorks service.
In an article on Third Sector recently Peter Sandford set out why he doesn’t lose any sleep over the old boys’ network. I’d like to respond and put an alternative view.
There will always be a role for word of mouth and serendipity, but it’s not without its drawbacks.
As well as the lack of transparency and diversity mentioned, it can result in serious skills gaps on the board which can make it difficult for the charity to face new challenges. For example, I know of several charities in the care sector who want to increase the business skills on their boards, but the board members, who are largely from the care sector, simply don’t have these people in their networks. And the narrower the experience of the board the less likely they can plug these gaps from their own contacts.
However, there are more options than the author suggests. There are free places to advertise and services such Reach’s TrusteeWorks, which are low cost. We’d strongly encourage charities to spread their nets are far as possible, and ensure that recruitment does involve a process of ‘selection’, whether an interview or a more informal meeting, where both board and potential trustee test the waters and confirm that they want to move forwards.
It can make all the difference in the long run.
Register now for your place on our free webinar on routes to becoming a non-executive director through trusteeship. Reach’s Chief Executive Director, Sarah King, is one of three expert speakers.
It’s on 27 October and we’re working with our partners ICAEW.
Click here to find out more and book a place: http://www.icaew.com/en/events/2011/october/msweb-trusteeship-becoming-ned-111027