The benefits of trusteeship

Being a trustee is not only a valuable way of contributing to the charity sector. It can also be a fascinating and rewarding experience for individuals, helping them to broaden their interests and develop their skills.

The trustees are the owners of the charity; they pass the baton on from generation to generation.’ So says Ciaran Devane of Macmillan Cancer Support, reflecting on the crucial role trustees play in safeguarding charities’ futures.

In this report we explore the value of trusteeship through the eyes of individuals and charities, and provide practical guidance on finding suitable trustee positions. We also discuss the perspective of employers and professional bodies, which stand to benefit from trusteeship too.

Almost half of charities have at least one vacancy on their board. New, committed trustees are much needed, particularly in difficult economic times when charities are under enormous pressure. Over half of charities surveyed in 2011 had seen increased demand for their services, but at the same time funding is being squeezed, as local authorities cut statutory funding and public donations fall.

Charities need support and guidance from their trustees now more than ever. Yet 95% of respondents to a 2006 survey didn’t know they could support a charity by becoming a trustee. We hope this report will inspire more people to volunteer as trustees and raise awareness of all the opportunities that trusteeship offers.

 A lot of young people don’t even realise that they can be trustees. The assumption is that ‘no one is going to want me because I’m too young’, and it can be daunting to walk into that environment. But you can get so much from it.

Emilie Goodall, trustee of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation