Trustee diversity a priority for charities, survey finds

Two thirds (66%) of charities say they are actively looking to recruit trustees from more diverse backgrounds, a new survey suggests.

Ecclesiastical carried out the research ahead of Trustee Week (1-5 November) and found that while trustee referrals are still the most popular method of recruitment (48%), charities are increasingly using social media to reach a wider audience.

The survey found that over two fifths (44%) of charities are using social media to advertise vacancies on their boards, almost as popular as using their own website (46%).

Getting on Board, CEO, Penny Wilson, said: “That two thirds of charities say they are actively looking to recruit trustees from more diverse backgrounds feels like a real step forward towards diverse boards becoming the sector standard.

“However it’s not just about getting people onto boards; we need to make sure that our board policies and procedures, and ultimately board culture is supportive of people who have been previously under-represented so that they are able to fully utilise their skills, experience and knowledge once in the role."

LinkedIn (67%), Twitter (58%) and Facebook (55%) are the most commonly used recruitment platforms, but 18% are making use of TikTok to appeal to a younger audience.

And 60% charities using social media said that they use paid for or sponsored advertisements to target specific audiences.

Understanding of the needs of the charity’s beneficiaries (45%) and bringing new skills to the board (44%) ranked as the most important attributes when recruiting trustees, followed by professional qualifications (35%) network of contacts (34%) and status in the community (31%).

Over two fifths (44%) said that one way of encouraging trustees from a wider range of ages, backgrounds and communities was to promote the benefits of being a trustee more widely, while 44% suggested encouraging more flexibility around board meetings. 40% said that training for charity boards promoting the benefits of diversity could also benefit.

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