A Place on the Board: Chloe Donovan of Step Up to Serve

The 19-year-old board member of the youth charity says there's no good reason for a charity not to consider appointing a trustee from her age group

Chloe Donovan
Chloe Donovan

At 19, Chloe Donovan might be at the younger end of the trustee spectrum. But in some ways she is a veteran, having been a member of the UK Youth Parliament and young facilitator for the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services.

She is one of two teenagers who were recently appointed to the board of Step Up to Serve, a charity that campaigns for social action opportunities for young people.

"I had not been involved with a charity before, but I'd had contact with politicians," she says. "This role is a great chance to influence a national campaign and is a good development opportunity for me."

She thinks it's regrettable that so few charities have trustees from her age group. "Young people are capable and have passion and commitment," she says. "But many charities think they are not up to it or that it would take too much effort to get them into that world."

But she says there's no good reason for a charity not to consider appointing a young trustee. "It's not as hard as charities think it is," she says. "Young people have valuable opinions – especially on our board, which is dedicated to getting young people more involved in social action. It's really down to the individual and personal experience."

Most of her fellow trustees are much older. "Of course, you need people with longer experience in certain areas," she says. "But at the first board meeting, they all wanted to speak to the two youngsters – perhaps because they felt we had all the answers!"

Having finished her A-levels, she says she is postponing plans for further or higher education for the time being and has committed to the charity for a three-year term. Trusteeship, she says, is a good way to give back to a sector that gives a lot to people of her age. "It's an opportunity to make a change and leave your own mark," she says. "Charities do so much to help young people."

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