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Charities have, for a long time, reported high numbers of vacancies at board level and ongoing difficulties in recruiting new trustees. This trend continues today – perhaps even more so – with many charities seeking to bring in trustees with new skills to strengthen the Board so that it is fit for purpose in the "new normal". In 2017, the Charity Commission’s "Taken on Trust" report found that the biggest skills gaps were in marketing, digital/online, fundraising, and campaigning. Were that report to be repeated now, I would imagine that little has changed.
Charity employees possess many of these critical skills, along with a passion to support the third sector, so with many in this group not actively involved at board level, there is huge untapped potential for the sector. There are many possibilities as to why this may be the case: some may feel they do not have the right attributes to be a Trustee, while others may not know where to look for suitable roles or fear the time commitment would be too much. However, the value of a trusteeship should not be underestimated, both on your CV, in terms of the impact on your health and wellbeing and finally (and most importantly) in terms of the impact that you can help bring to the charity’s beneficiaries.
Here, we look at some of the key career benefits to trusteeship:
Sitting on a board of Trustees gives you a unique insight into the highest possible level of a charity. Trustees are responsible for setting the future direction of a charity and moving it forward. By becoming a Trustee, you will gain a better understanding of governance, how the different areas of a charity work together, and how decisions are made.
As you progress up the career ladder, you will need to move out of your particular silo, so showing you have a good grasp of how different departments work and how charities are run can really give you a head start. Even in your current position, becoming a Trustee can help you empathise with the trustees of your own organisation and what they are looking for.
Being a Trustee means operating at a more senior level and learning new skills. Working as part of a senior team is particularly good for developing those soft skills that you’ll need in management roles, such as communication, teamwork, negotiation, decision-making, goal setting and, of course, leadership. An employee who demonstrates a good awareness of these skills is one who is more likely to be selected for a promotion.
So valuable is trusteeship in broadening your skillset, that some charities actively encourage their staff to volunteer as Trustees, as a cost-effective form of training.
Becoming a Trustee means you’ll work together with senior charity professionals, building a diverse network of relationships that could be useful for mentorships, sharing information, asking for advice/favours, and job hunting. It is a great opportunity to build up your profile within the sector.
When recruiting for vacancies, charities tend to look for people who can demonstrate a commitment to both their cause and the sector. Serving as a Trustee is a great way to prove that you are willing to go above and beyond your day job to benefit the charity sector and that you are serious about contributing to it.
TPP Recruitment advertises Trustee jobs on our website and if you register, you can set up a job alert to let you know when new vacancies are added. We can also have a conversation with you to discuss the types of opportunities and organisations you would be interested in becoming a Trustee for.
Trustee vacancies are often advertised on sector job boards, and on the websites of the charities themselves. You can also indicate you are interested in volunteer vacancies on your Career Interests page on LinkedIn or under the ‘Volunteer Experience’ section of your profile. Getting on Board run some useful events for potential trustees.
If you would like to discuss this further and find out how we can assist you in finding your first Trusteeship, please get in touch with Lisa or Matt on 020 7198 6040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.