Michele Acton is Chief Executive of Fight for Sight and a Trustee of St John’s Smith Square Charitable Trust.
Ahead of NPC’s seminar—Back to Basics: a seminar for Charity Trustees—I’ve been mulling over the different aspects of being a Trustee.
Trustees take on legal and financial responsibilities—for some this can be off-putting. But for almost 600,000 Trustees in the UK the thought is outweighed by their desire to give something back, their passion for a cause and the many benefits of taking on such a role.
Reflecting on my own situation, it‘s clear to me that being a Trustee benefits the charity on whose Board I sit, it benefits me personally and it benefits my employer. In short, everyone’s a winner.
I sit on the Board of St John’s Smith Square, the concert hall in Westminster. As well as bringing general skills to the table—strategic, business, governance, risk and charity management—with a background in finance, I contribute specific skills in this area. In this role, I continue to develop my own skills, particularly in the areas of Board decision making, negotiation and influencing. I also continue to build new relationships with a wide range of interesting people and I’m learning more about music – a passion of mine.
Not only do these skills and relationships enhance my ability to do my job at Fight for Sight, but I also get to understand the relationship between a Charity Board and the executive from both perspectives. No wonder then that evidence has recently come to light setting out the business case for employees to get involved in the voluntary sector. This includes the 2012 report from The City of London showing the benefits to businesses of corporate volunteering programmes in education and the 2013 report from Deloitte showing that skills based volunteering increases employability.
With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why becoming a Trustee is attractive. You do have to do your due diligence and you do have to sit on the Board of a charity where you are committed to the cause; it’s unlikely to be rewarding otherwise. If you want to learn more about what being a Trustee entails and how to find that ideal position, then why not come along on 2 December 2013—you can register here.