The good news for anyone thinking of becoming a charity trustee in Reading

Author
Author's position
Article date
26 February 2016
Primary interest
Volunteering

It’s a good time to become a trustee in Reading. It’s a ‘buyers market’ because there are so many voluntary and community sector organisations looking for new trustees – and new kinds of trustees. There are many benefits of becoming a trustee and there’s plenty of support and training available from a range of sources.

What’s the role of a Trustee and what’s involved?

Working as part of a team, trustees have independent control over, and legal responsibility for, a charity’s management and administration. They play a very important role, almost always voluntary, in a sector that contributes significantly to the character and wellbeing of the country.

The work of a charity trustee can be varied. Charity Commission guidance summarises the main duties as:

  • Ensuring the charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
  • Complying with the charity’s governing document and the law
  • Acting in the charity’s best interests
  • Acting with reasonable care and skill
  • Ensuring the charity is accountable.

Trustee boards should ensure that they govern wisely, legally and show good judgment in guiding their charity.

Why become a Trustee? 

The benefits of becoming a trustee are many and there are so many different kinds of charities in Reading, supporting a myriad of communities and causes, that there is definitely something for everyone. In general, some of the benefits of taking on the challenge of becoming a trustee include:

New skills – Trustees have responsibilities that relate to a wide range of the organisation’s activities. This could be around HR, IT, service user involvement, strategy or finance. Trustees with existing knowledge are always welcome, but those willing to develop their knowledge in these areas are equally valuable where they have the dedication to contribute and develop with the charity. Boosting a CV is rarely the main reason for becoming a trustee, but that’s not to say that it isn’t a fantastic benefit.

Networking – A robust trustee board will comprise a range of people, often including semi/retired professionals, service user and volunteer representatives, activists, local councillors and health and social care practitioners. Getting to know new people from different backgrounds will enhance anyone’s professional network and help make new friends.

Personal development – All trustees will be challenged in their role, over time, by new developments that their charity must respond to, be they new laws or guidance; changes in funding and organisational structures; to changes in the needs of those their charity exists to serve. Trustees benefit from the personal growth and stretch that these challenges offer.

Personal reward – Whilst wanting rewards for being a trustee may appear counterintuitive, it is extremely unlikely that they won’t come along! One of the most often reported benefits of becoming a trustee is the ‘feel-good factor’ and the deep satisfaction that comes from making difference to people where you live – and even beyond.

What support is on offer? 

Reading Voluntary Action has lots to offer anyone considering becoming a trustee – from knowing which charities are recruiting to providing training and good practice guides for new recruits and supporting existing trustees to govern well.

Up for the Challenge?

You can see our advertised trustee roles HERE.We’re also really keen to hear from anyone who’s interested in becoming a trustee so if you are interested or have any questions about what the role involves you can email advice@rva.org.uk. In the words of our former Advice Worker Andrew Robarts:  

Becoming a trustee should be challenging, enriching and rewarding but it needn’t be daunting