I want to be a Trustee but not sure I can give up the time?

4 minutes
Lisa Ross

By Lisa Ross

It’s a question we get asked a lot and it’s an important one when contemplating a Trustee role.

You do need to be realistic about how much time and when you can commit. Are you thinking about becoming a Trustee?

So, what is the time commitment involved?

I’m afraid there is no one answer, it really does depend on the size and individual charity.

We find that larger or well-established charities tend to meet quarterly (4 times a year) and most likely have an additional strategy day on top, whereas smaller charities may be looking for more hands-on support throughout the year and may hold anywhere between 6-12 board meetings. In both cases there may be opportunities to get involved in Board sub-committees or ad hoc project groups. Between meetings you will also be expected to keep up to date with what is going on in the organisation. There may also be 1 or 2 charity events to attend across the year too.

We like to give a guidance of the equivalent of around 1, possibly 2 days per month. This is made up of the Board meeting (typically a morning or afternoon) plus additional ad hoc hours across the month. Charities are very aware that Trustees have ‘day jobs’ so will do their best to conduct meetings or make contact at a convenient time, with the onset of remote meetings this is even more do-able.

1-2 days per month may sound like a lot – but it is very fluid and is made up of an hour here or there. Of course, some months need more time than others, for example when you’re preparing for the Board meeting i.e. reading papers, researching information, looking at a reports then for that month you may need to give more time.

At TPP we will always guide you on the time expectation of a charity we’re working with. We also advise you to have an informal chat with an existing Board member before you apply. Do also remember that if you’re a ‘first timer’ or new to a Board it may take you a bit longer to get your “head around things” but that will get easier. Most charities we work with also offer a ‘buddy’ system where an existing Trustee is there to support/guide you.

We advise charities to share Board meeting dates/committee dates as soon as possible in advance to allow diary management for the year ahead, and to be realistic in terms of the timing they expect will be required for a Trustee to be effective in post.

If you are applying directly to a charity, it’s important to ask about time commitment - how many meetings there are each year, how long they’re for and what is the expected input required in between trustee meetings.

One thing to remember is we find most employers are fully supportive of their employee wanting to be a Trustee and will happily give time off – the benefits for them and the individual are huge. Will my employer be happy if I take a Trusteeship?

If you’re still not sure what’s involved why don’t you give us a ring, we’ll happily chat through. Are you thinking about becoming a Trustee?

At TPP we’re working with numerous charities on the recruitment of their Trustees and all the Trustees we’ve placed over the years have found it one of the most rewarding things to do. Why become a Trustee?

Please call Emma, Lisa or Matt on 0207 198 6060 or email executive@tpp.co.uk for an informal chat.

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