Trustees Week Day 3: Follow the handbook

It’s Day 3 of National Trustees Week. It’s also Youth Work Week (2nd-8th November). So it’s worth reminding ourselves that diversity on a board of trustees is very powerful and important and encouraging younger people to join charity boards is worth the effort.

Less than 3% of trustees are under the age of 30, and the average age of a trustee is well over 50. Even if your board doesn’t think it has a need for a ‘youth voice’, it’s worth remembering the differing viewpoints that come from a diverse board, and young people have totally different outlooks that you might benefit from.

So this week, consider the diversity of opinions and people on your board. Could a younger person make a contribution? How could you attract someone younger onto your board? Perhaps a visit to the website for the Young Trustee Network at www.youngtrusteesmovement.orgwould be of interest?

Also today:

Read todays update from NCVO of what they have been up to in Trustees Week here.

Thought of the day: follow the rulebook

One of the roles of a charity trustee is to follow the rules. Of course that means following rules set down by the Charity Commission, as well as the law of the land when it comes to Health and Safety, Employment Law, GDPR and much more besides.

But within your own charity it also means following policies and procedures that your charity has established so that the organisation runs properly. You may also have a specific handbook as a Trustee or Committee Member that tells you what you should be doing (and not doing).

But your ultimate ‘rulebook’ is the constitution; memorandum of articles; governing documents; or trust documents that set out exactly what your charitable organisation is set out to do. These are its charitable objects or purposes and you, other trustees, the board and the team all need to follow them.

I often find a gap where trustees perhaps have not studied the governing documents of their own organisation. This is where ‘mission creep’ can set in. Your charity should only be doing what is set out in your objects. If you want to be doing something else then you might need to look at different legal structures or perhaps, commonly, amending your constitution. Either way, that is an active governance and management action, and in the meantime your governing document explains how and what you should be doing.

So if it’s a while since you read it, make it an action for Trustees Week to read your own governing document to check you are doing what you are supposed to be doing!

Resources and information

The Good Trustee Guide is an excellent book and one that every board should have a copy to refer to, and one that every trustee should look through too. You can buy copies from NCVO here, but NCVO also have a free, simplified, e-version of the book that comes in four parts. You can download these here. Worth a quick read – especially for newer trustees wanting to understand more about the role.

Local organisations seek trustees

A reminder that St Andrews Hospice and Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust are both seeking new Trustees. Read about their opportunities in our previous blog posts here and here and contact them direct if you are interested.

If your own organisation is actively seeking trustees/directors/committee members, please let me know (karl@vanel.org.uk) and I’ll promote those opportunities here over the coming days.