This week marks Trustee Week, and the Charisma team is pleased to totally recommend the Festival of Trusteeship which runs all this week from our friends at Getting On Board. The event is packed full of insightful and thought-provoking online sessions, check out the programme via this link.
Trustee search and selection
Trustees hold a prominent position as they lead charities. It is an opportunity for an individual to both contribute to causes that are important to them and develop key leadership skills. We get asked all the time, how do we find people with the skills we need?
To attract this distinctive person, it is essential that you conduct an extensive search and do not just rely on your networks. Casting nets wide increases the opportunities for a more diverse board. Statistics show that ensuring an organisation is made up of varying individuals will bring innovative ideas and diverse ways of thinking. Central to any charity is conceiving creative fundraising strategies therefore diversity must be part of any talent attraction planning.
1.Identifying the need for a trustee
When a charity decides to look for a new trustee, it could be because a trustee resigned, or finished their term or that the organisation has made the decision a specific skill set would add value. Understanding what is needed, and how that person meets the organisation's mission is a critical ingredient in finding an individual that aligns with the organisation's goals and values. Going through this process gives clarity and will help to set expectations on a timescale as well as document the skill set of the successful candidate.
2.What makes a good trustee?
Finding a trustee that is right for the organisation often yields someone with specific knowledge of the mission or relevant direct experience who can demonstrate their value. A good trustee must be someone who can interact and communicate well on all levels, not just with other board members. It’s an individual who can recognise the needs of the beneficiaries as well as possess commitment, compassion, and an open mind.
As already stated at the start of this blog, having wide networks and an inclusive recruitment process, is the best way to facilitate a diversity of thought and attract trustees that can lead to change. It can equally be advantageous to utilise connections in sectors or areas close to the charity as you are likely to capture people who understand the charity's objectives. We're obviosuly advocates for structure talent acquistion and targeted headhunting, bringing passive candidates into the process with the right skills, motivation and passion for your cause.
4.Screening and vetting trustees
There is clear governance around appointing a trustee such as disclosure processes and the statutory or legal regulations around the role. Critically the most essential part of vetting is a recruitment process that asks clear and probing questions and utilises robust screening. Building an effective questioning and reference process will ensure you pick up on any potential issues with an individual.
5.Building an onboarding & training process
Deciding to become the trustee of the charity carries a weight of responsibility, it is therefore important to develop an onboarding process that has a solid induction and builds a strong sense of belonging from the get-go. A trustee must feel secure in their knowledge and able to locate relevant documents and policies right from the start.
Supporting the sector
As part of our desire and commitment to give back to the sector, we also support Getting on Board’s trustee learning programme which runs year-round, to learn more about that, click this link. The programme is totally free for participants and includes high-quality webinars, clinics and panel discussions to help you become an effective trustee. Whether you are an established trustee, newly appointed or aspiring to become a trustee we highly recommend this course.