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Why running your own business and becoming a charity trustee go hand-in-hand

By Getting-On-Board, Jul 6 2016 12:04PM

Starting a small business is an exciting time, but cash can be tight, meaning there is little to spend on training and development. Step forward the perfect solution - volunteering on a charity board! It’s the ideal option for entrepreneurs as becoming a trustee is a fantastic way to gain and hone the skills you will need as a business owner and can give you a real head-start.


Sitting on a charity board gives you access to all sorts of training and development opportunities. As a trustee you will work with the charity’s paid staff and other volunteers and get to know all the functions of a company. From HR and financial matters to planning ahead and fundraising (which requires similar skills to pitching for new business) – almost everything you do as a board member is transferable to your role as a business owner.


Many entrepreneurs miss the daily office banter, not to mention the networking opportunities. So life as a trustee will give you the chance to make lots of new contacts, broaden your horizons and regain that team-working element.


Our US counterparts are already embracing trusteeships, with 61% of entrepreneurs sitting on the board of a non-profit organisation and 50% being a board chairman, either currently or in the past.


“I’ve learnt more from being a charity trustee than any other form of professional development, and the wide-ranging skills I have gained from being a board member have helped my business in so many ways,” says Katie Hodgson, Director of Creative Sensemaking.


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