Two reports, published this week to coincide with Trustees' Week 2017, highlight the need for charities to have a diverse range of trustees, to strengthen the charity and help it to fulfil its purposes more effectively.
Diversity means not only having a range of ethnicities and age groups represented, but also a range of skills including legal, marketing and digital skills. The research found that over half of all charity trustees are retired and three-quarters have above-average income. This doesn't mean than other people are unwilling to get involved; it may be the case that younger and less affluent people feel they lack the time to be able to commit to serve as a trustee.
Charities are advised to look at the level of diversity in their trustee board and to consider what steps that could be taken to support and encourage a more diverse range of people, with different backgrounds and skill-sets, to get involved.
Key to this will be providing new trustees with suitable training and mentoring. Currently it can be difficult to know where to find support and resources. This can come from other third sector organisations such as NCVO and The Cranfield Trust; and many charity lawyers and accountants do provide varying degrees of pro-bono training and updates. The Charity Commission provides extensive guidance notes but it would be helpful to trustees if other resources were more clearly signposted.
The reports were commissioned by the Office for Civil Society and the Charity Commission and can be found at:
charities do more to promote diversity on their boards and encourage applications from women, young people and people from ethnic minority and socially diverse backgrounds