Trusteeship in a small charity

NPC’s briefing paper for trustees following our seminar on the role of trustees in small charities.

NPC and the Clothworkers’ Company held a seminar on 1 July 2013 to explore the role of trustees in running small charities.

Being on the board of a small charity can be hugely rewarding, but it brings a number of strategic and operational challenges. Low staff numbers are a common issue: charities with annual income under £100,000 employ, on average, only one or no members of staff, compared to 76 staff members for charities with incomes over £500,000. How should the board conduct itself if the charity has only a handful of staff? What if many of the operational burdens fall on the board?

This report highlights the main themes discussed, including:

  • the additional challenges that small charities face, and how trustees can respond;
  • how to get the skills and experience you need onto your board;
  • what is expected of trustees in small charities; and
  • how to manage changes to the board.