Trustees hold a vital role in charitable organisations as they ensure the organisation is operating within the law, finances are spent wisely and charitable objectives are met. It’s a valuable and rewarding position that around one million people in the UK fulfil.
Despite the high number of Trustees in the UK, there are always organisations looking for people to take on these roles.
In this article, Paul Keeping, Chair of Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC) tells us how he came to volunteer at this level and why others should do it too…
“I’m very pleased to have become a trustee at Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC), initially as a trustee and now as Chair and I would say it can be a rewarding and stimulating experience, full of learning, skill-building and leadership opportunities.
I had served on the board of a brilliant arts charity – Hijinx Theatre – back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, until potential conflicts of interest with my day job and time pressures with a young family made it less easy for me to continue. But it ignited a bug inside me, and once I found myself with more time and freedom on my hands and was invited to consider applying to become a trustee at C3SC earlier this year, I agreed readily.
There are so many fantastic charitable and community projects out there. For me, C3SC was a good fit – I knew the organisation, liked and respected the Chief Executive Officer Sheila Hendrickson-Brown, and felt that becoming a trustee could allow me to help an organisation that in turn empowers and represents Cardiff’s thriving and diverse voluntary and community sector.
Although most of my professional background has been in the public sector, this has not been a drawback – in fact it has been a boon in that I can help Sheila and team understand the mindset of a local authority, and how to promote cross sector partnership.
I work with a stimulating and varied board of 10 trustees, and as well as making sure the organisation has clear aims, is financially sound, well led and delivers on its plans, we have opportunities to get involved if we want in the more operational side of the job, which can be very rewarding.
The third sector has so much to offer – close to its stakeholder base, lean and competitive, enterprising and full of integrity. Long may it continue!
Some trustees may have a particular skill (e.g. finance, communications, IT, HR or other) which can be easily employed to support a small organisation. But life experience and common sense itself are assets, as is a willingness to contribute time and support. There is plenty of training (C3SC itself delivers trustee training and co-ordinates a Trustee Network), and organisations like WCVA and the Charity Commission produce extensive and helpful guides.
If you have any thoughts about supporting a local organisation, why not talk to a friend who is a trustee and find out their experience? If you’d like any further advice, you might find that your local County Voluntary Council (there is one for each local authority area in Wales, and Cardiff’s is http://www.c3sc.org.uk) or a body like Business in the Community or Governors Wales.
I get a lot from being a trustee – I’m sure you could too”
For more on becoming a Trustee or to find opportunities in Cardiff, contact or tweet @C3SC