Today, I’m in Dunfermline at the Trustees Week Conference to celebrate the work of trustees – the thousands of people who give their time and expertise to support over 23,000 charities across Scotland.
Trustees come from all walks of life to make a difference. They often have full-time jobs, but as trustees they also have to fulfil the role of employer, treasurer, secretary or chair of organisations doing vital, often life-saving work.
They’re busy people, working with limited resources, and we think they deserve recognition and appreciation, and should be celebrated for their efforts.
We also think trustees could do with some practical help and assistance. So here’s a top ten list of tips and tools:
- If you’re thinking about becoming a trustee for the first time, or you’re new to the role, a good induction is vital. Check you’ve got all the information you need with SCVO’s sample induction checklist.
- Is your board in danger of becoming a bit male, pale and stale? Your board should be sufficiently diverse to do its job well. Only 0.5% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 (who make up 12% of the UK’s adult population) are trustees. Have a look at this Young Trustees Guide to help your organisation develop the next generation of charity leaders.
- Many trustees sit on a number of different boards, or have business interests. This can inevitably lead to conflicts of interest, but how can you know when they might arise? Have a Register of Interests for all your trustees to sign.
- Is your board clear about how it should behave? Does everyone know what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour? Make sure all your trustees sign up to a Code of Conduct to keep them on the straight and narrow.
- Or is it too late for that? Is your board on the rocky road to ruin? Squabbling and internal power struggles can destroy an organisation. The Third Sector Mediation Servicecan help you to resolve difficult situations.
- Don’t know the difference between your aims and your mission? Your stakeholders and your beneficiaries? Check out our Jargon Buster to get you on the right track.
- Good Trustees equals Good Governance. Following the success of our Autumn 2016 CASS Building Better Governance Seminars, we’re planning more for next Spring. Don’t delay though, places are going fast! You can book via our events pages.
- The world’s changing fast and we need to bridge the digital divide. If you don’t know the difference between tweeting and twerking and need to build your digital skills, see how the One Digital project can help.
- We know it’s good to get out of the office. We know it’s important to escape the pressures and challenges of being a trustee. So why not join us at the Gathering? It’s a special event for people in the third sector to network, showcase what they do, and to learn from each other.
- Finally, it’s not all about us. We want to hear from you. We’re running a series of interactive workshops this month to find out more about what it’s like to be you, and understand more about when, where and how you like to access information and support to help you in your role as a trustee. Come along and tell us what you think.