Three reasons to become a trustee

It’s Trustees’ Week and, therefore, the perfect time to promote being a trustee. I’ve been a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition for three years and I have two more years left of my term. In that time, I have learnt so much about governance and the vital role that the Small Charities Coalition plays in our sector. Thanks to our small but amazing team, our volunteers and my fellow trustees – past and present, we have provided advice, support and help to thousands of small charities and given them a voice through our policy work.

As we all know from the closure of Kids Company, being a Trustee is a huge responsibility. Essentially you are legally responsible (along with your fellow trustees) for your charity so always make sure to do your due diligence before applying for a trustee role – it’s vital that you know what you’re getting yourself in to. But with this responsibility comes a heap of benefits too.

Here are three reasons to become a trustee:

  1. Gain experience in different areas

Prior to becoming a trustee, I had never held a management position. By becoming a trustee, you quickly learn about management, governance and strategy. It’s a great way to gain skills in areas where you are lacking. It’s a position of great responsibility so can help boost your CV. How? Well, the CEO of the charity reports to the trustees and the trustees also help manage finances and issues of governance.

  1. Feel good by giving something back

Being a trustee of a charity where you really care about the cause is very rewarding. There are no financial rewards as being a trustee is a voluntary role and it can sometimes be quite full on. However, knowing that your skills and experience are helping a charity reach its strategic objectives is a wonderful feeling. Even better is when you know how much your time, skills and experience is appreciated and valued.

A charity should always have a Board who all bring different skills to the table with them – although of course some will overlap – so that they can best serve their charity in all areas. As a digital marketing trainer, I offer my services to our members by delivering training or webinars on behalf of the charity. I also have a monthly column in Third Sector where my by-line says that I am a trustee of SCC, which helps get our name out there. And whenever I am delivering external training or presenting, I always introduce myself as a Trustee of SCC so look beyond just what you can offer in the boardroom.

  1. Extend your networks

SCC has 10 trustees from different areas, sectors and stages of their careers. By joining a Board, you are extending your network of peers and engaging with a diverse range of people. As a trustee of SCC, I’ve been invited to events which of course allows me to meet people and expand my network. I’m also a huge advocate of social media and always promote the work of SCC to my networks whenever I can, and I know that some people have followed me on Twitter or connected with me on LinkedIn because of my trustee role. Our CEO, Mandy Johnson, wrote this excellent post about the role of social media for a charity CEO and how it can be used to connect with our members across the UK as well as allowing ourselves to be transparent.

During Trustees’ Week, why not explore what trustee roles are available on Trustee Finder, in partnership with Make a lasting difference.



Are you social media obsessed? Then volunteer for a charity!


I spotted this in the February edition of Glamour magazine and it gave me the rage. Ok, maybe not ‘the rage’ but I was jolly well annoyed.

There are so many things wrong with this… I made a list

  1. Just because you are social-media (and why does it have a hyphen?) obsessed does NOT mean you know how to do it well
  2. Social media for a charity/brand is a full time job. Any person doing this professionally will attest to this. And by full time I mean way beyond the 9 – 5, Monday – Friday. Could a volunteer realistically commit to this?
  3. Volunteering for a charity, local or otherwise, should not just be a means to boost your CV
  4. Last time I checked, volunteering was *mainly about a passion for that cause and wanting to do something good for man or animal-kind. (* I am not naive, of course it also helps your CV – you learn new skills and employers like it)
  5. Social media is about knowing your charity/brand and your audience inside out and how to position your messaging. It’s also about conversations, not just ‘spreading a message’
  6. Also, it’s a professional job. Not one where you get to sit at home in your PJs with one eye on the telly … (unless it’s at night of course during a relevant show and you’re live tweeting. Then PJs are allowed)
  7. Lastly…. and this is quite an important point – charities don’t have the time to invest in a volunteer who isn’t invested in the charity. Please don’t take Glamour’s advice and apply to a local charity because you think it will boost your CV and they’ll be grateful to have you.

On a more positive note…. if you really are interested in volunteering then find a charity and a role that’s right for you. Check out the opportunities section on the website of a charity you have an affinity for or take a look at these organisations :

Three things I learnt from this video

This is the video of my 300 Seconds presentation on How to Build a Personal Brand. Watching it back I have learnt three things:

1. I don’t like the sound of my own voice (but then, who does?)
2. I really over-ran….it was meant to be 300 seconds, not 450. I must work on my timing
3. I need to work on my nerves – it shows in my voice

Now I just need another presentation opportunity to apply these newly learnt skills…..

Some very exciting news….

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I have been appointed* as a Trustee for the Small Charities Coalition! The charity is a networking, mentoring and support organisation for small charities and is committed to helping staff, volunteers and trustees access the skills, knowledge and resources that they need to best serve their cause.

Small Charities Coalition

For those who know me, you will know that I embody the charity’s mission wholeheartedly. With first-hand experience, I understand the challenges of working in a small charity and that is why I started the Sole Communicators group with CharityComms, over a year ago now, to give sole communicators a space to network with peers and share knowledge.  It’s also a professional development opportunity to develop their skills through our themed events with speakers from the sector. The next one takes place on 5 November with Helen Jones from Refuge who will be talking about their Don’t Cover It Up campaign.

I also believe in giving back and sharing your skills with others on a one-to-one basis, which is why I have mentored small charities through Media Trust’s Media Matching service and I’m currently a CharityComms mentor.

I really can’t wait, in my capacity as a Trustee, to help the Small Charities Coalition spread the word about the vital work that they do to empower small charities and trustees with the skills they need to best serve their charities and, most importantly their supporters.

Alex Swallow, Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition, has written this brilliant blog post for Third Sector. I urge you to read it.

*There is the small formality of meeting the Board before being formally appointed