How Young Trustees Make A Difference For Fundraising
There are a thousand different reasons why you should try to have younger people on your charity’s Board. Here, I am going to focus on just one of them- how they can make a difference for your fundraising. Of course, all Trustees should be part of your fundraising efforts, but involving younger people is an area that isn’t spoken about enough.
I’ll make three key points:
1. Having young trustees on your Board might help you reach and influence a different demographic of fundraisers and supporters.
If you want to fundraise from young people and get young people to be fundraising volunteers for you, showing them that young people are so important to your organisation that you are prepared for them to be at the highest level of governance is a great way to gain trust.
Young people can also help you to understand how you can reach young people as fundraisers if you aren’t currently doing so."
To give a simple example, if your charity holds places for a fundraising event but that doesn’t appeal to young people - you need to think of something else if you want to engage them. While of course young people on your Board can’t be viewed as if they are representatives of all young people, at least it will be a start in understanding younger people as a fundraising community.
On the subject of influence, here I give some key tips for how small charities can punch above their weight, including how they can grow their influence- and this speech, given at an international charity conference, speaks about how to grow influence for all charities.
2. Having young trustees on your Board can give you extra insights into your work, which support your fundraising efforts.
One of the most important advantages about Board diversity is that if you have a range of different people on your Board you are more likely to have divergent opinions. If everyone is, for example: white, male, retired and from a certain background - however brilliant and committed those individuals may be, it is still less likely there will be wildly diverse opinions. This not only leads to bad decision-making but is likely to mean a lack of new ideas. Young people on the Board can bring new ideas and if your charity provides some services or exclusively services to young people but has no young people on the Board, chances are that some insights are being missed.
3. Young Trustees may even be former/current service users of your charity- which can be hugely powerful with donors.
One thing that you might consider, especially if you are a youth charity, is to have young people on your Board who have actually used the services that your charity provides.
If say, your charity’s aim is to grow the confidence of disadvantaged young people, what an amazing opportunity to show how effective it is, by, ‘putting your money where your mouth is’ and asking some graduates of the programme to join your Board. That would be hugely impressive to funders and such young people can help refine the actual interventions that helped them. As a bonus, they will be brilliant role models for other young people starting to use your services- showing them just what can be achieved.
If you are looking to recruit young trustees, feel free to post them on the Young Charity Trustees LinkedIn group, it has more than 3000 members. Plus, LinkedIn is a great way to grow your networks of potential Trustees for your Board. If you don’t feel that you are using it effectively, this article, packed full of tips might help.
I wish you luck with your twin efforts to raise more money and have more diverse Boards - I hope I have shown you that improving the latter will definitely help the former.
Alex Swallow, Founder of Young Charity Trustees and Social Good Six
Alex Swallow is The Influence Expert, helping you to grow your influence to increase your impact. He is also the Founder of Young Charity Trustees and Social Good Six and was previously the Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition.
Download the latest practical guide 'Trustees and Fundraising' and access a range of resources