Why You Should Consider Becoming A Charity Trustee

Issue 90

There are over 5,000 regional charities, and each requires dedicated volunteers to be trustees. Being a charity trustee has many benefits, from building skills to making a difference. But how do you get started?

Samantha Pritchard, charities and education partner at Muckle LLP, has been working with charities for over 13 years. Here, she takes a closer look at what it means to be a trustee.

What are charity trustees?

The people who are ultimately responsible for governing a charity, setting its direction and overseeing its operations. This must be done in accordance with their legal duties, the charity’s governing document and the Charity Commission’s guidance.

Who can be a charity trustee?

Anyone! There’s a common misconception that you need years of experience to become a trustee, but this isn’t the case. It helps to be willing to learn and contribute to discussions in meetings. It also doesn’t hurt to be actively interested in the charity’s cause!

You will also need to demonstrate your skills and experience. This can include skills connected to your job or even your experience as a user of the charity’s services.

Why be a charity trustee?

Personal development is a common reason; being a trustee is an excellent way to build job-relevant skills. Some trustees want to give back to the community, particularly when they or a relative have benefitted from a charity’s support.

Alternatively, a charity could approach someone to fill a skills gap or to oversee a period of transformational change. Either way, having the right trustees with the right skills is essential to a charity’s success.

At Muckle, many people across our business are charity trustees, bringing their legal and other expertise to the board they serve. Claire Long, finance director at Muckle, says: “In my roles as a trustee, I have interviewed for CEOs, helped set criteria for a reward strategy, reformed voting policies and much more. By being a trustee, you can offer valuable business insight but also get to see how a board operates”.

How can I find opportunities?

Reach out to your network or local organisations like Vonne that advertise vacancies. Alternatively, you could set up a Google alert to notify you when adverts appear online.

When should I start?

There is no time like the present! Consider pulling a CV together, thinking about your passions and skills, and then start looking for opportunities.

New trustees should undergo training to understand the role’s requirements and how the charity operates. The Charity Commission, which regulates charities and charity trustees, also has plenty of guidance.

How do I find out more?

To learn more about what a trustee does and what the role requires, join us on 6 June from 8am for our trustee training event, which coincides with Volunteers’ Week 2023.

This complimentary breakfast seminar, run by our specialist charities team, will equip you with all the knowledge you need to be(come) an effective trustee.

For further information about charity law, contact Samantha using or 0191 211 7905.

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