6 ways to support young people as trustees

In this blog, Sarah Loader, Consultant in our Governance team at Campbell Tickell, discusses six ways charities can ensure they support the recruitment and development of young trustees to the Board.

According to the Taken on Trust research by the Charity Commission, the median age for a trustee is 61 years. And this has come down in recent years!  The Young Trustees Movement estimates that less than 3% of charity trustees are under 30, yet 18-29 year olds make up around 13% of the UK’s population.

Charities benefit from having a diverse range of views around the Board table. One way to get some fresh perspective is to encourage younger people to become trustees. There are some ways that you can encourage younger people to become, and more importantly, to continue and be effective as trustees.

6 ways to support young people as trustees

 

1. Create a welcoming environment

Firstly, the existing Board should all commit to having a younger person as a trustee. They must then be ready to help support them in their full responsibilities as a trustee and be willing to hear their views, even when they don’t always chime with their own views. Having a clear code of conduct in place and setting out expected behaviours, is also essential. 

2. Make clear both the responsibilities and opportunities

All new trustees, whatever their age, need to be clear about their legal responsibilities and the expectations on them. They should be given support to ensure they are effective in their role.

Encourage younger people to apply to become a trustee by explaining the opportunities that the role affords. Young people will gain important skills that are useful in their working lives, such as leadership, working as a team, effective decision making, analysing information and strategic insight.

A group of eight people from different backgrounds sat around a board table with laptops open. A woman in a white shirt and grey skirt standing up talking to everyone, while they look on. talking to the
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Also, try to ensure that all trustees are offered opportunities to be involved with other aspect of the charity’s work, so it is not just about attending meetings!

 

3. Offer training and on-going support

Again, this is something that all new trustees, whatever their age, should expect. There should be an induction process that explains the role and the expectations. Young trustees might benefit from a ‘buddy’ I.E. an experienced trustee who will be on hand to answer any questions about the role in a more informal way.

Staff might be made available in advance of Board meetings to discuss any issues in the papers. Further, make sure you get regular feedback on how they are finding the role.

 

4. Effective chairing

The Chair should be particularly mindful to ensure that all trustees, but particularly younger trustees, are able to contribute to Board discussions. For example, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to speak.

 

5. Think about how you present information at meetings

Bringing younger people onto the Board might be a perfect time to think about how information is presented to the Board as a whole. Have you asked your Board how they would like information presented?

Not all trustees like information in the same way and some might need assistive technology. Ensure you ask what each individual needs. Is there an explanation of any jargon or acronyms that are commonly used in the charity? Are the figures accompanied by an overview of the key points to look out for, and perhaps an explanation of key trends?

 

 6. Consider the timings of meetings and be sure that policies on out-of-pocket expenses are clear

Younger people might not have the flexibility in their work to ask for time off during the day to attend meetings. Like anyone self-employed or on zero hours contracts, they might suffer financially if they take time off.

Look at your expenses policy to make sure that trustees are encouraged to claim for any allowable out of pocket expenses they incur. Trustees who are students might find meetings at particular times in the academic year more tricky to attend, for example, in the run up to exams. Make sure you speak with all the trustees about their availability well in advance of setting meeting dates and diarise meetings.

 

Sarah Loader is a Consultant at Campbell Tickell. For more information on any governance services, or to discuss this article, please contact: sarah.loader@campbelltickell.com or call:+44(0)208 830 6777.

Find out about Campbell Tickell’s recruitment services and view our Live Jobs page for current non-executive and permanent jobs.

 

Campbell Tickell is an established multi-disciplinary management and recruitment consultancy, operating across the UK and Ireland, focusing on the housing, social care, local government, sport, leisure, charity and voluntary sectors.

We are a values-based business and firmly place the positioning of our support and challenge on helping organisations to attain change that is well thought through, planned and sustainable. At CT, we want to help organisations create the landscape within which we ourselves would like to exist: fair, inclusive, diverse, engaged and transparent. We build from our values in how we approach all our work as a practice.

Find out more about our governance services.



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