Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Why not be a charity trustee?

It's Trustees' Week this week (30th October - 6th November 2011). In the UK, trustees are the people who oversee a charity - the charity board. They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working as a team to make important decisions about the charity's work and setting strategic direction. But a 2009 report by New Philanthropy Capital quoted research showing that 48% of charities have at least one vacancy.

I've really enjoyed being a charitable trustee (of a Newcastle based charity working with marginalised young people helping them find work) and am currently looking for new opportunities to be a trustee now I've moved from Newcastle. Not only did I enjoy being a trustee, it also did me a lot of good; why don't you consider it? Here are my five reasons to be a charity trustee:
  1. Develop new skills: From setting strategy to overseeing management accounts to Human Resources, being a charity trustee can help you learn new skills that will help you in your personal and professional life;
  2. Improve your CV: Being a charity trustee enhances your CV and your job opportunities, both because of the skills you learn and develop but also because it illustrates it shows you have a leadership role and that you are applying your skills to help improve society;
  3. Increase self awareness: Working in a team of people to make strategic decisions about an organisation reveals more about yourself and it has certainly helped me understand what my strengths and weaknesses are;
  4. More self confidence: As you see decisions you are making have an impact in people's lives for the better and how you influenced that process, you'll see yourself become more confident in your ability to achieve change and make good decisions;
  5. Personal satisfaction: Being a charity trustee is stretching but it should also be a lot of fun; it's an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and generally feel that some people's lives are improved because of what you have done.
If you want to start looking for trustee opportunities, the website Do-it has a good search function. It also has some great advice on what to do before deciding to join a charity board here.

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