With 84% of people saying their trusteeship role has made them happier and 22% saying it’s helped them get a promotion, there are clear professional and personal benefits to volunteering your time on a board of trustees. And with over 90,000 trustee vacancies available across a wide range of charities, there is sure to be a cause and position that matches both your skills and your passion. Katherine Sparkes, CEO of Getting On Board, tells us why trusteeships can not only be instrumental in career development, but provide unique and life changing experiences.
What does a trustee do?
As a trustee, you’re responsible for the overall strategy and direction of the organisation, ensuring the charity stays aligned with its original mission and is accountable for its decisions. You’ll attend board meetings, events and sub committees and can transfer many of the negotiating and decision making skills you learnt in the military, as well as acquiring some new ones.
As a trustee you have the chance to work across the whole spectrum of the organisation and within areas you ordinarily may not get a chance to experience. You’ll have the opportunity to learn and fill skill gaps while contributing those you already have, within a collaborative and supportive environment. If you want to hone a particular skill or learn more about a specific topic, you can also sit on sub committees, such as Planning, HR or Finance.
With over a decade’s worth of experience as a trustee, Katherine has sat on two boards and helped many causes she is passionate about. She says: “I’ve had many unique experiences, such as going to Brazil to launch a maternal health programme and going to Downing Street with my family.”
How much time will you need to give?
This varies from charity to charity as they all have varying needs depending on their size. Research shows the average commitment is 30 hours a year, so it can sit alongside professional and family life. The average term of office is about two to three years, so make sure the organisation is a good fit for you.
Free Signposting Service From Getting On Board
For individuals wanting help to get their first trustee position, Getting On Board provides a ‘Signposting Service’ where your own advisor will research suitable vacancies as well as providing support materials and application guidance. You can find out more at Getting On Board.
The cost for this service is £200 per person but the organisation is delighted to offer members of The Officers’ Association free places as they become available via our Bursary scheme.