Search more widely for trustees, Charity Commission tells would-be charities

Sam Younger, chief executive of the commission, says the sector needs to raise awareness of the benefits trusteeship can bring to people

Sam Younger
Sam Younger

The Charity Commission is urging would-be charities to recruit more widely for trustees, after new research found the majority relied on informal networks to find board members.

The results of an online survey by the regulator, released to mark the third annual Trustees’ Week, show that organisations most commonly recruit trustees from existing staff, volunteers or members, with 53 per cent of respondents using this method.

The report, Birth of a Charity: Governance of organisations seeking registered charitable status, is based on responses from 667 charity register applicants in the year to August. More than 60 per cent of the respondents have annual incomes of £25,000 or less.

Forty-six per cent of would-be charities enlist trustees through other personal connections, such as friends and family, according to the research, while 39 per cent use word of mouth. Only one in 10 would-be charities advertises vacancies online, and 6 per cent advertise in the press.

Sam Younger, chief executive of the commission, said the findings showed there was more that charities could do when recruiting trustees. "With a third of these actively looking to recruit trustees, more needs to be done to raise awareness of the wide range of benefits trusteeship can bring to the individual, such as the opportunity to develop new skills and take on responsibility for major decisions affecting the charity’s drive and direction," he said.

"I would encourage charities to recruit as widely as possible for new trustees, targeting young people in particular, who are often able to bring new talents and perspectives to an organisation’s work."

The commission received more than 6,000 new charity register applications during the time the survey was conducted.

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