Here in the UK, it’s currently Trustees’ Week – the sixth annual celebration of trusteeship. Trustees’ Week aims to highlight the great work that trustees do, and to draw attention to the opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a real difference.
Getting involved in Trustees’ Week is a no brainer for us. We already work with thousands of students taking part in social action, and becoming a trustee is another fantastic way for them to contribute their energy and unique perspective to support the work of charities large and small.
We believe that more students and young people should consider becoming a young trustee, and that charities, and organisations like us, have a crucial role to play in signposting them to quality opportunities and making sure the door is open when they get there.
With plenty of great articles available already, we’ve put our own twist on our advice for students and young people with this TRUSTEES acrostic… enjoy!
T is for Talent – Not only do students and young people have talent to contribute now, but you are the charity leaders of the future, so expanding potential roles for you on charity trustee boards is crucial to the future of the sector.
R is for Role – Charities will look for potential, not necessarily experience, when they’re recruiting for a young trustee role. You should be able to see a role description and be supported through an induction and ongoing mentoring with existing trustees to help you feel welcomed and informed.
U is for Underrepresented – Two-thirds of charity trustees are aged over 50. Despite making up 12% of the UK’s population (2012 CAF report), 18-24 year olds account for less than 0.5% of all charity trustees, and fewer than 2% of charities have a young trustee serving on their board (2010 Charity Commission report). Clearly, trustees in the UK are not representative of the population.
S is for Skills development – Overseeing a budget, helping to develop the strategy of an organisation, holding management teams to account… these are all skills that you can develop as a trustee.
T is for Time – The perception is that students have loads of free time, but it can tricky committing to something with a variable timetable, big deadlines, exams and holidays. Charities should be upfront about the time commitment and you should communicate your availability clearly from the beginning.
E is for Engagement – Networking and being social is the bread & butter of most young people today. You are digital natives, social media gurus and you take a fresh approach to marketing and communications. You understand what appeals to other young people like you, enabling charities to improve their outreach to a new generation of donors, volunteers and beneficiaries.
E is for Enthusiasm – we know that your generation is more likely to volunteer for a cause they care about than donate money. In London for example, 60% of 18-24 year olds want to volunteer more than they currently do (2015 City Philanthropy and Cass Business School report).
S is for Start here! – If you’d like to connect with other young trustees and find opportunities, we recommend this Young Charity Trustees LinkedIn group, this Trustees’ Week webpage about becoming a trustee, and also just getting in touch with charities whose work you admire!
This week and beyond, we’ll continue to spread the word (or in this case the acrostic) at our local Hubs about the fantastic opportunities that young trusteeship offers both young people and charities.
If you’re part of a charity that’s looking for young trustees, get in touch so that we can connect you with our network of 30,000 university students, plus additional outreach through over 70 colleges and universities taking part in Student Volunteering Week next February.
And what would a Trustees’ Week blog post be without recognising our own trustees, 2 of whom are ‘young’. (No offence to the rest of them!)
– Trewin Restorick, Founder of Global Action Plan and Hubbub
– Dave Jarman, Head of Enterprise and Employability at Bath Spa University
– Jake Leeper, former Oxford Hub President
– Jenny Ekelund, Co-Director of Oakgrove Associates
– Hannah Martin, Environmental Campaigner at No Dash For Gas, Hub Alumnus