Top 10 trustee recruitment and training resources

Charity boards are changing. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is an increasing priority for the sector as charities are looking to ensure their boards are more representative of wider society and the communities they support.

Charities are also becoming increasingly aware of the wider range of skills they need to generate revenue and improve their capabilities, particularly with digital.

Last week we showcased some of the charities already taking action to bolster their boards.

But plenty more work needs to be done to ensure boards are fit for purpose in the 21st century, with only 8% from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

To help charities with their recruitment and training of trustees we have compiled this guide to the best trustee resources.

Getting on Board

Recruitment platform Getting on Board aims to match up strong trustee candidates with charities. Its services also include support and training for charities on improving their board recruitment.



It has a strong focus on EDI and ensuring there are no barriers to trusteeship. Its resources include a trustee recruitment guide as well as a raft of advice on advertising for trustee roles and auditing the skills needed.

Reach

Reach Volunteering is a recruitment platform for the charity sector that promotes a wide variety of volunteering roles, including serving on charities’ boards. This includes specific advice on recruiting ‘digital trustees’ who can help ramp up an organisation’s online reach and technological capabilities.



In addition, Reach offers bespoke trustee recruitment service called TrusteeWorks, which creates a campaign to suit individual charity’s distinct needs. This includes linking up with the organisation’s community on the professionally focused social media platform LinkedIn.

Association of Chairs

The Association of Chairs offers a range of resources and support for trustees. This covers their wellbeing, staging online meetings and working as a team.

In addition, it is keen to ensure trustees are diverse. Among resources is a briefing document on EDI as well as a blog piece by Malcolm John, Association trustee and founder of Action for Trustee Racial Diversity.



John said: “During my own experience of more than 18 years of being a trustee on several charity boards, varying from very large to very small, I have only occasionally found my fellow trustees to be also from a Black or Asian background.

“It’s also true to say that for most of these boards, the opportunity has come from my own personal networks and contacts rather than any open recruitment process. This is not a desirable situation from any equality, diversity and inclusion perspective.”

ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute

As well as wider guidance around governance issues, including staging virtual AGMS amid lockdown, ICSA offers support to charities on recruiting trustees.

“Charity trustees are central to the success of a charity, being responsible for the overall direction, strategy and vision of the organisation,” says the Institute.

“It is therefore imperative that trustees are effective both individually and collectively if they are to have a positive impact on the charity and enable the organisation to fulfil its charitable objects.”

Resources include a downloadable guidance note for Institute members.

Charity Digital Code

The Charity Digital Code is a useful resource for charities to benchmark their digital capabilities. Among its resources is a digital checklist for charity trustees and leaders with a focus on supporting charities during the Covid-19 pandemic, when much of the sector’s fundraising and service delivery has moved online.

This checklist aims to help trustees and leaders with their decision making around digital, how to review their progress and “create a shared understanding” of charity’s goals.

One of the early testers of the checklist was D’Arcy Myers, chair of trustees at the Association of Charitable Organisations.

He says: “To govern successfully we need collective decision making at Board level and this applies to digital strategy too.

“The great thing about this new checklist is that it's accessible to everyone. It is a tool which can bring an understanding of digital to the entire Board, giving them everything they need to understand what they should be aiming to achieve and how to go about it.”

Charity Commission

A vital piece of kit for aspiring and existing trustees is the Charity Commission’s essential trustee guide.

This covers trustees duties and how they can best be appointed. There is also a raft of information around the legal and regulatory requirement and responsibilities of the role.

“Trustees have independent control over, and legal responsibility for, a charity’s management and administration. They play a very important role, almost always unpaid, in a sector that contributes significantly to the character and wellbeing of the country,” says the guide.

“Trusteeship can be rewarding for many reasons - from a sense of making a difference to the charitable cause, to new experiences and relationships.

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)

Among resources on trusteeship offered by the NCVO is its guide around trustee diversity.

This sets out the case for increasing diversity of charity boards, in particularly EDI’s role in boosting public confidence in charities and their accountability.

Among advice is to “avoid word of mouth wherever possible” in recruitment. Instead, it urges charities to use recruitment experts to help with the process.

Trustees Unlimited

Trustees Unlimited is a trustee recruitment specialist that offers a range of support for trustees and charities to bolster their boards. It advertises a raft of trustee roles, with more than 50 on its website at the time of writing.

Its services include Step On Board, which helps prepare people for trustee roles and links then with charities.

It also offers a Thrive on Board service to support trustees during their term of office.

TPP

Recruitment firm TPP advertises a range of trustee roles on its website. These can be found its website’s leadership and governance section.

Roles promoted at the time of writing include a fundraising specialist trustee role for an animal welfare charity and a lay role for a medical charity.

New Philanthropy Capital

Advice on diversifying trustee boards has been made available by New Philanthropy Capital following a seminar on the issue it held with the Clothworkers’ Company.

This includes the case for diversity as well as guidance on recruitment practices.

“Finding someone who is the right fit for the board can be difficult for trustees,” says NPC.

“But trustees should be actively looking for currently underrepresented voices and for trustees who can challenge their preconceived notions. The concept of ‘fit’ in trustee recruitment can lead to the exclusion of people from different backgrounds.”

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