Trustee at a Charity

How to pass, fit in, eventually set an example, and ultimately lead the way.
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guitarplayer
Posts: 1249
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:43 pm
Location: Scotland

Trustee at a Charity

Post by guitarplayer »

Hi ERE council

I have been approached by a friend who is a trustee of one charity saying that with my knowledge I could be a useful trustee in that charity as well. I have read up on the charity's memorandum and checked out the past 5+ financial statements. I like the topic (it is actually quire ERE aligned in some sense) and the charity is in good financial standing. I read in the memorandum that there is no financial liability in case the charity goes bust other than a token amount of money (a pound).

From this springs the question on pros and cons of being a trustee at a charity. I am not sure exactly about terminology, but with this particular charity (or maybe more generally in Scotland?) being a trustee equals being at the board of directors. I know that some people on the forum were in the position of sitting on the board of directors of a non-profit organisations (notably founder of the forum).

In terms of gut feeling, it feels I'd like to get involved, since my friend had asked me but also because the charity deals with something which significantly altered my life on many levels + it has an ERE1 (financial) element to it. Obviously this is volunteering my time and I am now working and not wanting not to work because I enjoy it. So there's also the question of how much is involved in being in such a role (which probably varies from one organisation to another, and one board to another) so that I don't end up committing to something (unknown(s)) and making myself miserable.

As always, appreciate good advice.

7Wannabe5
Posts: 9261
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Trustee at a Charity

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

My DD32 was on the board of a non-profit. I think she found it rather awkward, because everybody else on the board was much older and wealthier. It was also a bit of a commitment, because it was an organization run mostly by volunteers that sponsored many events and work-days which she felt semi-required to attend. However, she is naturally ( didn't get it from me-lol) the sort of super conscientious human who will tend towards over-doing in such a role, so MMV.

Frita
Posts: 935
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Re: Trustee at a Charity

Post by Frita »

Yes, it would be good to get a firm idea of the time commitment and term length. What is the ratio of time spent on important things versus BS? I would also want to understand the composition of the board, to include tenure and turnover. Are there any conflicts or turf wars? (Are you expected to fix things or join a side? If so, I encourage you to run away.). What are the challenges and plans to address them? Is there a closeted expectation that you are a donor and, if so, are you comfortable with the amount? Seek information from others as well as your friend.

My spouse and I have both served on boards. If nothing else, it’s a learning experience. (I would not recommend an officer position as a newbie. That is a red flag and has biten my spouse a couple times now. Watch and learn first.)

guitarplayer
Posts: 1249
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:43 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Trustee at a Charity

Post by guitarplayer »

Thanks both!

I think everybody else other than my friend and another person would be much older and while a few people would potentially be wealthier than me, because of ERE1 I would be on the wealthier side. I will take your remarks with me for when I am chatting about it with my friend. I would hope to learn some strategising in a group setting, because on an individual / couple level I am already pretty good at it. Due to the nature of what that charity does, it would have direct impact on lives of people who had been 'live players' for the most part and definitely had their skin in the game of life, and this is pretty cool.

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