I’ve been really inspired by all the great stuff going on during Trustees Week . It’s reminded me how being a trustee is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and make a difference, and how charities can benefit enormously from trustees’ experience and knowledge.
I’d go so far as to say that a good board can make or break a charity. A friend of mine recently started a job heading up a service at a well known national charity. She is very talented and was offered a promotion after she’d only been there for a few months. But she turned it down, leaving for a senior role at another charity. Why? “I had concerns about the board,” she told me. “They’re nice people, but I was worried that our CEO had surrounded herself with ‘yes men’ as trustees. Trustees only add value if they scrutinise the charity’s strategy and activities properly. If they are not offering constructive criticism and challenge then the charity could suffer.”
Does this sound familiar? I’m sure we’ve all come across charities like this. On a similar note, Charity Bod (@charity_bod) has written an interesting blog about boards and groupthink, and an article on The Guardian Voluntary Sector Network this week unveiled some interesting new research about how boards may limit themselves by recruiting trustees solely through personal recommendations. I worry that finding trustees could reach a crisis point in the sector over the next few years. I’m in my mid-30s and know lots of professionals who could make a great contribution as trustees, but very few of them want to do it, either because they don’t know enough about what is involved or the roles aren’t advertised. Lack of diversity is a serious issue for boards too. As a young(ish) ethnic minority woman, I want to see more people like me as trustees.
So, I’m setting out my stall here today. I’m keen to be a trustee again. I was previously a trustee and company secretary of a charity for 5 years, only stopping in 2009 when I began the intensive CIM course (now achieved). After almost 5 years at Lasa, I’ve built up a wealth of experience in marketing strategy, digital communications, PR and business development. I’m particularly interested in leadership, organisational change, professional development and mentoring. I’ve got a good network of contacts across both the charity and private sectors and I’m also a qualified lawyer. Read more about what I can offer.
I’m signed up with all the usual trustee finding agencies (as well as the excellent Young Charity Trustees group) and have been approached about various trustee roles, but none of them have been quite what I’m looking for yet, and I want to take the time to find the right opportunity. I would like to help a national charity, ideally frontline (although that’s not mandatory), based in London. I am open minded about causes but do want to work with a dynamic and ambitious organisation who are hungry about fulfilling their mission.
If this sounds like your charity, then please do get in touch. I would love to hear from you.