Checklist: Becoming a chair from nowhere

By governance expert Judith Rich

Judith Rich
Judith Rich

A new chair from outside the voluntary sector, who has not previously been a trustee of the charity, faces great challenges.

To be a chair is a lonely role in any event, but to be one without knowing the background against which you are working and without being able to discuss it informally with people you know well is particularly isolating.

Such an appointment probably carries a higher degree of expectation than when the new chair is well known within the organisation. The outsider has probably been appointed because of success in another walk of life, which it is hoped will be applied in the new organisation. So they have to hit the ground running without having the usual comforts that come from knowing the environment well.

There is independent help. The Charity Commission recently partnered with other organisations to arrange Trustees Week in order to provide such support.

It's a challenge on every level, but it usually brings rewards, despite the commitment and dedication demanded.

Governance Advice

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