Checklist: Trustees from the corporate sector

By governance expert Judith Rich

Charity boards often welcome recruits from the commercial sector with open arms. But people who have been successful in the commercial world are not necessarily equipped to provide effective charity governance.

Good inductions are essential. It is also worth the chair taking time to ensure that new board members are happy with their role and that support and information is always available.

Friction can arise over the financial and other limitations under which most charities operate. Corporate recruits do not appreciate that consultants can't be employed at will and often become impatient with the inability of volunteers to accept new working practices.

The chair must be very clear how the new corporate recruits are to be used, and be aware of the need to limit some of their activities to minimise disruption and potential resentment.

Charity trustees can also move the other way; many of the skills trustees require are applicable to corporate governance and can bring fresh thinking to that field too.

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