Trustees’ Week

As part of Trustee’s Week 2016, Involve Gloucestershire is calling on employers to help fill the gap created by a lack of trustees for local charities.

Trustees are individuals that take on a leadership role and help to steer a charity as part of its board and help ensure that it delivers the best possible service to the people it supports.

Due to their need to be independent, trustees must be volunteers and can’t be paid for their role, which can present a challenge for charities to recruit individuals with the necessary skills and experience.

Involve Gloucestershire believes that the County’s employers can play a pivotal role in creating a pipeline between their staff and charity’s seeking new trustees.

About 25% of employees in the country are entitled to take at least one day’s paid leave per year to support a charitable cause as part of an Employer Supported Volunteering programme.

Daniel Chun, Involve Gloucestershire’s project manager said, ‘We broker lots of different volunteering relationships between employees and charities. Many of them are team orientated but we are keen to promote trusteeships as a potential destination for staff who want to use their volunteering entitlement in a way that allows them to best share their skills and expertise and leave a lasting legacy with the charity they support.’

There are a number of potential barriers that prevent employees from considering undertaking a trusteeship. Many do not realise that this is an option for them and plump for more traditional volunteering roles such as challenge days where the aim is usually to transform a building or piece of land.  Some are put off by the time requirements as most trustee positions require regular engagement with a charity’s committee.

Daniel addressed this by adding, ‘Involve Gloucestershire is encouraging employers and employees to think more creatively about how they interact with charities. We want employers to think of Employer Supported Volunteering in terms of hours that can be spread across several months, rather than a day or two that need to be undertaken all at once on a ‘make-over’ challenge style project.  That way, the charity receives the maximum benefit from long-term support whilst also providing the employee an opportunity to develop new skills and experiences that will benefit them and their employer in their daily working life.  It’s ‘win-win’ for everyone.’

Daniel also recognises that one of the barriers is knowing where to look for trustee opportunities: ‘We have an obligation to support charities and employers to connect through volunteering and we work with both to create stimulating and rewarding opportunities for both parties. Our website contains detailed role descriptions that make it easier for employees looking to volunteer to identify something that is appealing and within their means.’

Angela Gilbert of Gloucestershire Rural Community Council added, ‘The role of trustee is crucial to good governance of organisations in the voluntary sector. Skills used in the business sector can be invaluable to local charities. ‘

You can find out more information about available trustee positions in Gloucestershire at www.involvegloucestershire.org.uk.

Trustees’ Week runs from 7th – 13th November, finishing with an evening celebrating trustees on the 14th.  For more info, contact angelag@grcc.org.uk .