There are approximately one million trustees in the UK, overseeing their charities’ actions and the financial and legal responsibilities underpinning their activities.
At the time of writing, several boards have been found wanting as operational, financial and fundraising scandals have plagued the sector. As a crisis of public trust in charities continues to mount, the need for boards to follow best practice is pressing. Meanwhile, charities often need the support of boards to take a bold approach in times of change—something that requires strong leadership and a solid confidence in governance.
This guide is intended to complement the Charity Commission’s Essential Trustee, and the Charity Governance Code (the latter of which was being revised at the time of writing). Both are invaluable in articulating the responsibilities that trusteeship brings and boards must follow. Yet NPC’s vision of great governance is one that goes above and beyond these key responsibilities, and that brings the role of trustees in achieving impact into sharper focus.
This guide draws on the experiences and insights of active, ambitious trustees, as well as NPC’s own knowledge gained over nearly 15 years working with charities and funders. We use these insights to explore how trustees can be ambitious on behalf of their organisations and do the best for their beneficiaries by:
- Staying focused on the purpose of governance
- Getting the most from their boards
- Adopting the best practices and processes
We hope this paper provides some inspiration, and enables boards to ensure that a charity is able to thrive, not just survive. Let us know what you think of the guide on twitter via @NPCthinks using #NPCTrusteeship.
This guide was developed with the support of The Clothworkers’ Company, and draws on insights shared by trustees at seminars on charity governance hosted by NPC and The Clothworkers’ Company.