How to Become a Charity Trustee: Everything You Need to Know

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Charity Trustee

Are you interested in becoming a charity trustee? Charity trustees play a crucial role in charities. They ensure that the operation is run in the interests of the people it is designed to support. They oversee the administration and management and ensure there is a clear strategy and vision in place.

While trustees are not involved in the everyday business of a charity, they will safeguard its assets, such as reputation and property. They will support and guide key figures within the charity, such as Chief Executive and their management team to encourage and challenge them, where necessary.

Charities work with many people, including fundraising consultancies, to improve performance. Trusteeships are just one part of the puzzle in helping charities achieve their vision.

Why become a charity trustee?

Being a trustee can be very fulfilling because you will help to shape the work of the charity. This can make a huge difference to the work they do and the direction that the charity moves in.

Many people choose to become a trustee because they are passionate about the charity’s cause. They may have been touched personally by the charity’s work or want to be more involved in a charity community.

Being a charity trustee can also provide you with professional advancement. This role offers an experience of leadership, strategy, risk management, and negotiation, amongst other things. You will also work alongside a team of people, often from quite diverse backgrounds. This can provide a wonderful and unique learning experience.

Looking for a trustee role

It is essential when looking for a trustee role to choose a charity that you feel invested in. You will be giving your time and energy on a voluntary basis and will need to stay engaged and committed to the cause. If you have a personal attachment to a charity or are interested in the work of a charity, you may find that the more you find out about them, the more your interest will grow.

How to apply for a trustee role

There are several ways that charities recruit trustees. These often involve a typical job application with a cover letter and CV or application form. There is likely to be opportunities to meet the senior people within the charity more informally, and then there will be interviews.

Charities may advertise positions, or you can contact them to ask if there are trustee positions open. When applying to any role, think about what you can offer them and your specific expertise. As well as the larger charities, smaller charities can offer opportunities, and they face many similar issues to their larger counterparts.

Before you apply for a role, it is important to find out as much as you can about the organization. Look into their values, aims and vision both for now and their strategy moving forward.

Other issues to explore

There are various other factors you will need to think about, including the time commitment involved. Be realistic about how much time you have and the expectations of the role. If the trustees take a hands-on approach, this may mean more work than just board meetings.

Trusteeship works both ways, and you will need to be the right ‘fit’ for one another. It can be a great idea to do some work for the charity before you make a firm commitment to see some of the issues they may be tackling. This may help determine whether the trusteeship is the right role for you.