Checklist: Becoming a charity trustee

By governance expert Lynn Cadman

Lynn Cadman
Lynn Cadman

People who work in or with charities are well placed to become trustees. As for anyone else, understanding the role and responsibilities are vital first steps. Guidance, including legal eligibility, can be found on the Charity Commission website.

Thinking about what matters to you will focus your search. What causes interest you? What skills and experience can you offer? What type of charity and commitment are you seeking - a national charity that employs staff or a locally based one that is run by volunteers?

Researching advertised opportunities will enable you to see what is available. Resources include adverts in the sector and national press or on charities' websites, and directories or trustee brokering services offered by umbrella bodies and others.

Finding out about what a charity does, how it operates and the challenges it is facing gives you something to compare with your interests and skills. A charity's website, accounts, annual report and role description are essential sources, but why not arrange to visit existing trustees, senior staff and key volunteers?

Thinking carefully about why you want to become a trustee will ensure you find the right match for you and the charity.

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