There are over 900,000 serving charity Trustees in England and Wales who have a real desire to make a difference to society and not only contribute their time and expertise to the aims and objectives of charities but learn from the people with whom they interact.
The responsibilities of being a Trustee are serious and far reaching and include:
- Directing the affairs of a charity;
- Ensuring it is well run and solvent;
- Delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public;
- Ensuring the charity complies with applicable charity law and if relevant with company law;
- Ensuring the charity is run in accordance with its governing document;
- Avoiding personal conflicts of interest; and
- Using reasonable care and skill in your work as a Trustee.
These are the fundamental obligations of accepting a role as a Trustee and it is also worthwhile doing your homework before agreeing to the task, for example:
- Learn as much as you can about the charity;
- Enquire into their induction procedure for an incoming Trustee;
- Attend Board meetings prior to accepting the role;
- Meet the key staff and potentially beneficiaries; and
- Review the filed charity accounts and governing document;
Becoming a charity Trustee should not be undertaken lightly as it can be a large commitment of time, onerous obligations and no remuneration. However if the right people can come together on a Board to bring their experience, passion and knowledge in the advancement of a charity, it can be an enormously rewarding role.
Please see the Charity Commission website for more information on becoming a charity Trustee.