How to run a charity : lesson 1

For reasons which are not that interesting, I found myself as the acting chair of the Aberystwyth Branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau a month after becoming a trustee. This means I know very little about what the C.A.B. does at an operational level (i.e. giving advice). At the same meeting it was also determined that the Bureau did not have sufficient money to carry on and would close at the end of December 2009. I am pleased to say that won't happen and I am going to document the main lessons I have learned through either my

  • good luck
  • poor judgement and subsequent reflection
  • lack of knowledge and subsequent reflection
  • observation of how other behave, either rationally or irrationally

Why? So if you happen to have a similar opportunity, it might be an easier ride and you may be able to make more of it.

Lesson 1 : Ensure that you have a local elected representative (councilor, etc) who is committed because it is the right thing to do and they believe in the charity. This was the good luck bit on my part, 2 just arrived by magic about the same time I became a trustee. Even better, though from 2 different political parties, they are fully interoperable. They just know how the funding system works and who and how to influence. They have a wide network in the local area and probably an existing press relationship. I suspect there is a flip side here I have not seen where you get an elected representative who has an agenda which is not compatible with that of the charity.

If you don't have a star elected representative on your side, my 1st action would be to find at least one, but no more than 2, making sure they are interoperable.

Stay tuned for further installments.

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