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Finding the Right Trustee for your Small Charity

Blog post   •   May 13, 2014 17:45 BST

Charities recruit trustees in different ways, but there is one common theme we hear particularly from smaller charities. They tell us that it can sometimes be difficult to tap into the available pool of professional people looking to volunteer that you need to help your organisation thrive and grow.

Some Practical Tips

Here are three pieces of advice based on Reach’s long experience of helping charities to recruit trustees.

A) Produce high-quality role descriptions

Make sure your description of the vacant trustee role is well-written and stands out from the crowd. Qualified professionals seeking trustee roles are discerning people and will only apply for roles that are carefully crafted and give an arresting description of what the charity does and what they are looking for in the trustee. Creating attractive information packs is an effective tactic. Remember that the quality of your role description reflects the quality of the organisation’s work as a whole.

B) Invest in the recruitment process

You need to be ready to invest resources and to consider spending money on recruiting trustees. Paying for help in drafting a role description or application pack will be a good investment and will pay dividends if it gets you the right trustees who can transform your organisation with the services they provide. Dealing with applications and shortlisting candidates can be a time-consuming process and may take a toll on resources. I should mention here that Reach’s Trustee Matching Service is now free for all charities with a turnover of less than £1 million a year which should include most organisations involved in Small Charity Week.

Equally, communication is a key to success. Charity leaders need to invest their time and effort in contacting candidates in a timely manner when introduced and provide feedback to successful and unsuccessful candidates during the shortlisting process.

3) Think outside the box: look for transferable skills
It is important you approach the search for trustees in a creative way. For example, a charity seeking a fundraising trustee may overlook candidates whose background is in marketing when fundraising is effectively a form of targeted marketing. And professional volunteers with a finance background often have general management skills and an appetite and ability to contribute in a wider governance role rather than being seen only as potential treasurer material. Flexibility and a view to recruiting people with transferable skills often prove very effective.

Luke has been Reach’s TrusteeWorks Manager for the last two years. Before joining Reach he worked in executive recruitment. He can be contacted on at 0207 840 5668

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