Everything You Need to Know About Being a Charity Trustee

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Me2 Club is an inclusion charity which aims to tackle the isolation and exclusion which can impact children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. Our objective is to enable them to join in with regular leisure activities like uniformed groups, sports clubs and drama groups. As a local charity we are lucky to have wonderful volunteers who help support us to achieve our aims and objectives.

There are so many ways to give voluntary support to a charity, and one of the most rewarding means of doing this is to join the Board of Trustees. But what does a Trustee do?  And what does it take to make a good Trustee? In this article we’ll dive into the voluntary Trustee role, and why becoming one might be just up your street.

To begin at the beginning: the role of a charity Trustee (and why it’s important)

The Board of Trustees of a charity are the voluntary body who have ultimate responsibility for that charity – it’s their role to manage, govern and control the charity and to make decisions about the charity’s policies, objectives and strategies.

Among other things, Trustees ensure their charity has a clear strategy, and that its work and goals are in line with its vision. The Trustee mission is to be the ‘guardians of purpose’, making sure that all decisions put the needs of the charity beneficiaries first. They safeguard the charity’s physical and intangible assets and make sure that the charity is run sustainably. 

Despite the huge diversity in terms of the size and objectives of their charities, they have the same basic duty—making sure their charity is doing what it was set out to do!

What skills and experience does a trustee need?

A good Trustee needs an overarching set of qualities, like being a good team player, having excellent listening skills, exercising good critical thinking, having sound judgement, being able to think strategically and seeing the bigger picture.

On top of this, some Trustees bring specialist skills to the table, and for this professional expertise comes into play, such as Trustees who call on their background in finance, marketing, fundraising, human resources or IT to help advise the charity.

One Trustee role that is a little different from the others is the Chair; a role which provides leadership and direction to the rest of the Board and acts on behalf of the Board of Trustees in case of emergency. Like all Trustee roles, being a Chair is voluntary, but brings a significant responsibility with it, such as overseeing legal compliance, fulfilment of statutory objectives, reviewing Board performance and more.

It’s important to have a well-rounded Board of Trustees, so the voluntary Trustees a charity takes on will depend upon the existing skills and experience of current Board members. There are various ways Trustees can be selected to join the Board; Me2 Club’s Board of Trustees vote on who is appointed to ensure a balanced and comprehensive range of skills are present, while other charities may appoint Trustees based on a vote by members who use the charity.

Focus on Me2 Club trustees

At Me2 Club we’re lucky to have an exceptionally skilled and experienced Board made up of 5 Trustee members, who each bring the breadth of their expert knowledge in fields like finance, education, PR and marketing to the table in their work with us. 

One thing which unites all of our Trustees is their passion for our cause; the inclusion of children and young people with additional needs in mainstream activities within their local communities.

Many of our Trustees start off as fundraising volunteers who then go on to offer their services as a Trustee having been so moved by the positive impact Me2 Club has in improving the life experiences of the children and young people it supports.

Why become a trustee?

Being a Trustee means you have one of the most important and exciting roles within a charity. Along with the CEO, you will set the direction of the organisation and share responsibility for ensuring it achieves its aims. 

The role offers the opportunity for professional development and gives the opportunity to gain experience of strategy and leadership. It will give you experience of being a non-executive director, exercising skills like setting a strategic vision, influencing, negotiating and managing risk.

Becoming a Trustee is a rewarding way to help your community and great method to learn new skills. It’s an invigorating and dynamic role, which puts you at the very heart of a charity.

How to choose the charity for you

Before you decide to put yourself forward for a Trustee role, think about how much time you have to give and what your skills are. Are you interested in a particular cause? Most people who become Trustees do so with charities that are tackling the issues they care about and which are close to their heart.

Local charities are a good place to start for a first-time Trustee, and really great to work with because you can see the positive effects which can be hugely encouraging and rewarding.

If there’s a local charity you’re interested in working with, reach out to ask about whether they’re looking for Trustees and what kind of specialist skills would be helpful to them.  Trustees are a friendly bunch, and will doubtless be happy to talk or even meet up to discuss your interests!

Find out more about Me2 Club

To learn more about Me2Club’s aims and objectives we’d love you to visit our website, or you can follow our social channels for all our latest updates:

Visit our website: me2club.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @me2club

Like us on Facebook: @me2clubcharity

Follow us on Instagram: @me2club

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