Purpose, Potential and Progress: 6 Benefits of Trusteeship 

21 March 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

 

Becoming a trustee is not to be undertaken lightly. As part of a Board, you hold legal responsibility for the charity and have the overriding say regarding its strategic direction. “Trustees are the owners of the charity; they pass the baton on from generation to generation” says Ciaran Devane, CEO of Macmillan Cancer Support, rightfully noting the gravity of the responsibility. 

Is it worth becoming a charity trustee?

Becoming a trustee is daunting for the uninitiated. Simultaneously, new trustees must find time to fit their role around existing commitments, ensure they understand complex regulatory information from the Charity Commission, and get up to speed with the charity and their fellow board members… It’s undoubtedly overwhelming.

Nonetheless, being a trustee can be hugely rewarding, with a whole host of benefits for your professional and personal life. Trusteeship is absolutely a worthwhile commitment; this article outlines six of the key benefits. 

  1. Meaningful and Fulfilling Contribution

Serving as a charity trustee allows individuals to make a positive impact on society. Trustees play a crucial role in shaping the direction and impact of the charity, contributing to the causes they are passionate about and making a meaningful difference in their communities.

Step 5 in Mind’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing states that Giving is key to sustaining overall happiness and wellbeing. This statement is backed by countless studies, which have proven the causal link between helping others and individual happiness.

“I really loved the idea of being a trustee because of the impact that I could have and the ability to make a difference on a much larger scale” said Scott Quinn, our Trustee of the Month in February 2021

 

  1. Personal Satisfaction

As a trustee, you play a vital role in supporting a charitable cause that is meaningful to you whilst making a positive impact on people’s lives. The personal satisfaction and fulfilment to be found in trusteeship is clear – “collaborating with the exceptional team, driven by a shared vision, has also been a source of immense satisfaction and purpose”, said Hassan Hassanpour, our Trustee of the Month in February 2024.

 

  1. Broaden your perspective

Fern Potter, our Trustee of the Month from July 2019, said that “being a trustee is a fantastic opportunity to gain a new perspective on an organisation that you care about and to really get beneath the skin of the charity.”

Serving as a charity trustee will expose you to diverse perspectives, challenges and issues within society. Trustees can gain a deeper understanding of social, economic, and cultural issues, broadening their worldview.

 

  1. Develop your Professional Network 

Trustees have the chance to build strong connections within the charity sector and the broader community. Engaging with other trustees, volunteers, and stakeholders can lead to valuable networking opportunities, fostering collaboration and partnerships that can benefit the Trustee and charity alike. 

Lauren Rosegreen, Trustee of the Month in July 2023, said “it's been brilliant for me to be on a Board alongside people who are really successful in their fields and whom I would never have met otherwise. Being able to learn from and communicate with people from a range of industries, backgrounds and at different stages in their careers, has been invaluable.” Lauren’s experience is a testament to how trusteeship can enable early-career professionals to network beyond their peer group.

 

  1. Professional and Interpersonal Skills Development 

Being a charity trustee provides opportunities for personal and professional growth. Trustees often gain valuable skills in leadership, strategic planning, financial management, and governance. 96% of trustees report that they learn new skills, and 22% of trustees say that they got a promotion as a direct result of being a trustee.

“A trustee role gives you the chance to step up your skills in a number of areas that you won’t necessarily get in your day-to-day role”, said Mike Findlay, our Trustee of the Month in December 2020. Indeed, the skills that can be acquired through charity governance are less attainable in many individuals’ work elsewhere. 

 

  1. Use your Unique Skills for Good 

Trustees bring their unique skills, experiences, and expertise to the charity. Whether it's in finance, law, marketing, or other areas, trustees can leverage their professional knowledge to guide the organisation strategically, ensuring its long-term sustainability and success. It’s a gratifying experience – 85% of those surveyed say being a trustee makes them happier.

It’s important to find a good skills match when seeking a trustee role: “Be led by your passion and what interests you, think about the fit between you and the charity, are your values aligned and is it a sector that your skillset is suited to?” said Jide Ashimi, our Trustee of the Month in March 2021.

48% of charities are thought to have at least one vacancy on their board. There is a clear opportunity for more people from all backgrounds to engage with governance and take on trustee roles. If we emphasise and share the benefits, prospective trustees can truly recognise all the ways that trusteeship can support their development, community and network. As our Trustees of the Month have done, we urge all Trustees to be vocal and proud of their governance role! 

 

What makes Trusteeship worthwhile for you? Let us know on Twitter @TrusteeLeaders

 

 

More by posts by Lucy Pratt

Pick of the Month – April 2024

1st April, 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

This month, our Picks come from all corners of the charity sector – from basketball to baking! It's promising to see so many indviduals finding creative ways to support and develop communities. 

Purpose, Potential and Progress: 6 Benefits of Trusteeship 

21st March, 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

Becoming a trustee is daunting for the uninitiated. Simultaneously, new trustees must find time to fit their role around existing commitments, ensure they understand complex regulatory information from the Charity Commission, and get up to speed with the charity and their fellow board members… It’s undoubtedly overwhelming.

Nonetheless, being a trustee can be hugely rewarding, with a whole host of benefits for your professional and personal life. Trusteeship is absolutely a worthwhile commitment; this article outlines six of the key benefits. 

Pick of the Month – March 2024

4th March, 2024 | By Lucy Pratt

March's Pick of the Month sees individuals from a diverse range of charitable areas – from youth engagement to regional theatre! We're delighted to be able to learn from their varied experience... there are some brilliant pearls of wisdom to be found in this month's piece!

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