Trustees are at the heart of all organisations and the more engaged your trustees are in your fundraising, the better. There are a number of issues surrounding trustees that all potential trustees and organisations should be aware of to ensure the most pro-actice relationship possible.
The Role of the Trustees
Trustee's are vital to any organisation as they take overall responsibility for how the organisation is run, its reputation and for any successes or failures. For optimal success, it is crucial to the success of an organisation that its trustees are engaged with the work and the staff.
The Charity Commission has produced guidance for trustees in its publication CC3: The Essential Trustee.
Trustees may also have an obligation to report to the Charity Commission any 'Serious Incidents' that occur. The Institute has prepared guidance for fundraisers and trustees on this subject.
The Institute is continually working to encourage all fundraisers to act as trustees. Fundraising is a professional and complex profession and organisations could really benefit from the skills and expertise many fundraisers posses.
For fundraisers, volunteering as a trustee can bring many benefits such as:
- Learning about other types of charities and how they work
- Professional development
- Learning new skills to take into your full-time role.
For the charity, having fundraisers as trustees can help by:
- Gaining skills and expertise that may be lacking on the board
- Supporting the charity's fundraising team
- Bringing a fresh perspective on key charity activities.
Fundraising managers should also think about encouraging their teams to volunteer as trustees to help their development.
How to Find Trustees/Become a Trustee
A starting point for any organisation looking for a trustee is to look at existing supporters. Would any of your donors or volunteers increase their support by becoming trustees? Likewise for an individual wishing to become a trustee, look at any organisations you are involved with and see if they could benefit from your services as a trustee.
There are a number of websites that can help connect organisations and individuals, such as NCVO's Trusteebank, Trustees Unlimited and Trustee Network. They also contain lots of useful information and resources about trustees.
The Institute of Fundraising has produced The Trustees' Guide to Fundraising. This publication is designed to help trustees with limited fundraising experience understand how important fundraising is to any organisation. It covers a number of issues, such as the law, trustee obligations and fundraising methods.
The Charity Commission has produced a wealth information on trustee duties and obligations all of which are available online.