Trustees play a pivotal role in any charitable organisation. They’re the people that work behind the scenes to ensure their organisation are meeting their charitable objectives; running well financially and help take the charity into the right direction.
But you might be surprised to hear less than 3% of charity trustees are under the age of 30*, something which is apparent in the charities I have been or am currently involved with.
Older Trustees bring great stability to Trustee boards and charities. They’ve got a wealth of knowledge, experience and strength which they bring to boards across the country, they’re just as valuable as anyone under the age of 30, but need to be accepting of new ideas, new ways of thinking and generally younger people joining Trustee boards, something organisations I’m involved with are brilliant at and supportive with.
I became a Trustee in 2011 for my local hospital radio station aged just 21. I’d never considered being a Trustee before and didn’t know what it would entail, but I wanted to make a difference ‘behind the scenes’ and this seemed like a good opportunity to do just that. Many of the people on the board of Trustees at that time were well over 30, making me the youngest Trustee at the station. I was a Trustee of the station until 2018.
Meanwhile, I became Trustee of national charity, the Hospital Broadcasting Association in 2016 and, up until recently, I was the youngest Trustee on the board, but the organisation now boasts two Trustee’s aged 30 or under. This is an organisation I really feel like I’m making a difference with and will continue to do so for a few more years yet (providing I’m re-elected in 2020!).
My experiences have been invaluable. Budgets; forward thinking, leading and working with a diverse group of people really make it an enjoyable experience. The ability to work from home most of the time and meet up regularly face-to-face is ideal. I’ve gained lots of skills that I use in my day job too.
If you’re aged 30 or under and are considering being a Trustee, I can assure you it’s nothing like you’d imagine. It’s not all about shuffling papers in a boardroom. You genuinely get an opportunity to make a real difference to a charity. You’re the people behind the scenes that those who interact with the charity on a daily basis don’t see. You get the opportunity to have your say and shape the future of your organisation. You get to be creative, diverse, dynamic in your approach.
But most importantly, you’ll be making a difference to an organisation you support and care about. You’ll be leading the next young trustees into post as the ‘old board’ retire and you’ll be setting charities up for the future, ensuring the skills of your generation enable charities to grow alongside technological advances and societal changes.