Forty per cent of new charities have not trained their trustees, says Charity Commission

Survey of 3,000 charities registered between April and September this year finds a large minority of them have not given trustees any tuition

Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission
Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission

- This story has been corrected: please see final paragraph

Almost half of new charities do not train their trustees, according to a Charity Commission survey.

The commission’s registration bulletin, published yesterday, reveals that 40 per cent of the 3,000 organisations that registered between April and September 2011 do not yet train or support their board members.

The approximate figure of 40 per cent has been arrived at by including the 36.1 per cent of new charities that currently offer no training to trustees but will consider doing so in future, and the 3.4 per cent that do not provide training and have no plans to do so.

Another 40 per cent of new charities admit their training and support needs to be developed further. The remaining 20.2 per cent of new charities say they already offer comprehensive training.

According to the bulletin, 38 per cent of new charities believe their boards need to improve their knowledge of fundraising and 21 per cent that they need to learn more about charity law and regulation.

Most new charities recruited their trustees through personal connections, word of mouth or from their volunteers, staff or members.

Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: "While there is plenty of evidence of forward thinking, we would like to see these new charities recruiting more widely and offering new trustees more training and support.

"When starting out as a charity, it is essential to have strong governance arrangements in place. These are the foundations upon which successful charities are built."

The figures show a significant growth in the number of new charities that provide services (rather than, for example, making grants) – 59 per cent of new organisations, compared with 34 per cent of all charities. The number of new organisations set up to alleviate poverty or take part in religious activities has also grown.

- The questions about trustees and training were answered by 119 organisations which applied to be charities between April and September 2011. The information on charities’ purposes, such as the proportions of new charities set up to alleviate poverty, undertake religious activities or provide services, came from slightly more than 3,000 charities which registered between April and September 2011.

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