VODA Blog: Trustees are volunteers too

As part of this year’s Trustees’ Week, our Core Services Manager, Keith Hardy, blogs about the importance of the often-overlooked voluntary role:

“It’s an often overlooked fact that Trustees are by law and by nature volunteers, and without them the voluntary and community sector would be greatly reduced. Over half of all charities are looking for trustees at any one time so as a trustee you will be filling a vital role in the voluntary sector or in your local community.

Volunteering as a trustee can be such a rewarding and fulfilling experience and can significantly increase your skills and knowledge. In recent years there has been a lot of research on the benefits of volunteering on both a personal and professional level; there is even compelling research suggesting it’s good for your health. Some of the other potential benefits include:

  • Contributing to a great cause in your locality or to an issue or a cause you really care about   
  • Employers of all sizes have begun to value voluntary activities much more seriously with trusteeships being considered as an effective method of professional development available to employees
  • Developing skills and gaining experience of strategy and leadership, influencing and negotiating and managing risk are great boosts to your C.V.
  • Developing contacts and networking with new people and organisations, meeting new people from diverse backgrounds and developing your team working skills

So what is a trustee?  

Trustees ensure their charity has a clear strategy and that its work and goals are in line with the charities purposes and has a good understanding of their charities work overall. They safeguard the charities assets and make sure they are used well and that the charity is sustainable. They contribute to the management of the charity, supporting staff and/or volunteers, to manage the charity effectively. 

Trustees come from all walks of life and you can become a trustee at 18. Organisations often seek a diversity of age ranges and backgrounds to ensure that they are representative of the community they serve. VODA can offer trustees in North Tyneside a range of support and information – read more here.

What commitment is required? 

It’s important to remember that each organisation will have different expectations of its trustees in regard to time commitment, the best way to find out is to ask the charity.

However, you may want to consider that induction and training may be a requirement and will differ across organisations. The frequency of most trustee and committee meetings is between four and 12 per year. This will include the Annual General Meeting. Some organisations have one off or regular events, which may require a trustees presence, and there may be opportunities to offer representation on a sub group or committee – these are usually voluntary and additional to the basic role of trustee.

How do I become a trustee?

There are a number of current trustee vacancies in North Tyneside at organisations including the Rising Sun Farm, Healthwatch North Tyneside and Dyslexia North East, to name but a few. Please contact VODA if you are interested in becoming a trustee, or if you would like any more information about what’s involved.

And don’t forget to follow #TrusteesWeek on Twitter for the latest news and resources.”

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