How to run a charity : lesson 3

Lesson 3 is to get a diverse set of capable trustee's behind you.

Again I was a lucky boy in that a dream team of trustee's were already in place

  • Retired HR manager
  • Retired professor of social policy
  • Law professor
  • 2 qualified accountants
  • 2 interoperable councilors
  • Experience mental health worker
  • One I have yet to meet who has not turned up for any meetings

What is probably missing is someone with fund raising experience and some volunteer representation. None had been a trustee for more than 18 months. Indeed the 2 retired trustee's had been working full time-ish[ for which the CAB version of the Order of Lenin should be awarded ] for a year to make up for the lack of a Bureau Manager (in effect acting in that role) which meant they had reduced bandwidth for their role as trustee's and take the long view. This is an important point in that a trustee needs to be such and not act as an additional volunteer management. This has been addressed by the appointment of a very capable indeed manager.

So lesson 3 in summary boils down to

  • Get a trustee board of capable, diverse and appropriate trustees
  • If possible avoid trustee's being drawn into the management of the charity, they loose the oversight function. This is not a rule as sometime it is right to bridge the gap, but aim to make it short term.
  • Have a trustee who is experienced and motivated in the area of fund raising.
  • Ensure they are interoperable
  • If a trustee is any good, they will be already busy and allow for that
  • Need to think about the future and have a pipeline/succession plan in place (which I don't yet).
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