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Call for more women trustees

Women are being encouraged to become charity trustees to advance their careers and gain new skills and experiences.

According to the Charity Commission’s ‘Taken on Trust’ report 2017[i], of the 700,000 charity trustees in the UK just one third are female.

Trustees Unlimited is is now encouraging more women to join charity boards.

Sophie Livingstone, Managing Director at Trustees Unlimited, said:

Getting more women on charity boards can help charities improve their diversity and promote better decision making. Women also benefit from learning new skills, widening their networks and getting boardroom experience earlier on than they might in their careers.

Trustees Unlimited runs the board-level volunteering programmes ‘Step on Board’. Companies such as Barclays, BlackRock, British Land, Credit Suisse, EY, Google, law firm Mishcon de Reya and PA Consulting have used Step on Board to place their employees onto charity boards.

Rebecca Bland, Managing Director at Barclays, completed the Barclay’s Board Placement programme last year and went on to join the board of Time & Talents, a London-based charity dedicated to creating a place where everyone feels part of a community. The charity brings people together and offers a range of services and activities that address social isolation, increase mental and physical wellbeing, and reduce divisions across the community.

Rebecca said:

I wanted to get involved in a charity in my local community and fortunately, Time & Talents, near to where I live, was looking for someone with a finance background, so it was a good fit and perfect timing.

My background is very different from the other trustees. I’m used to commercial decision making and can bring a flavour of this to the board. This helps the charity in their strategic decision making.

It’s fascinating to use my skills and experiences in a different context. I’m also learning about new areas such as charity fundraising, safe guarding and engaging with different community groups and the local council, which I find interesting. It’s also made me much more aware of the social issues in my area; as well as appreciate how smaller organisations make decisions and operate with fewer resources.

Rebecca would recommend becoming a trustee to anyone, but particularly women:

For those looking to step up to a board role then the more experiences you can gain and the different environments you can put yourself in, the better. Being a charity trustee is a very effective way to gain board experience and work in a completely different area than your day job.

Sophie Livingstone added:

As a charity trustee myself at the Royal Voluntary Service and the youth social action charity, Generation Change, I think trusteeships are a fantastic way to develop career and life skills doing something purposeful that gives something back to people and the community.

Photo: WOCinTech Chat, licensed under Creative Commons