Thoughts from our Founder, Sarah Hodgkinson
In 2004, the concept of Getting on Board, to encourage employee board level volunteering, was launched at a conference for leading employers, hosted by Ford Motor Company.
In November 2005, Getting on Board became a registered charity, and, earlier this week, the charity celebrated ten years of helping individuals become trustees at a reception, attended by representatives of public companies, government departments, the voluntary sector and a range of related organisations.
Employee board level volunteering is win, win, win, as it :
• strengthens charities’ governance
• is a great way to develop skills, particularly leadership skills, which are transferable back into the workplace
• is good for employers’ Corporate Responsibility profile
The Charity Commission’s initiative, Trustees’ Week, is key in raising awareness of trusteeship and strengthening the boards of charities and other organisations, by encouraging people with skills to volunteer for boards. Getting on Board was a founding partner of Trustees Week, now in its sixth year, and is delighted to be still involved.
Since 2005, there has been a significant increase in employers’ and employees’ understanding of the benefits of board level volunteering. More and more employers are encouraging their employees to volunteer. One reason for this is that increasingly candidates are asking employers at interview “What does your organisation do for the community?” People are wanting to work for an organisation that “puts something back” into society, and offering board level volunteering helps employers to become “Employers of choice”.
We’ve worked with many different employers and also with professional associations such as the Institute of Directors and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. In the last ten years, we’ve encouraged and helped thousands of people become trustees. Our pilot project in Suffolk, to engage with SMEs, so as to encourage employees of smaller organisations to become trustees, is attracting significant interest, and the plan is to roll this out to other counties.
Two weeks ago someone who’d just attended a Getting on Board seminar wrote :-
“Volunteering as a trustee is something I’ve been considering for a while but wasn’t entirely sure how to go about it. So your organisation is exactly the type of service I need”.
Celebrating ten years of raising awareness of trusteeship, with some of our key supporters, was special, and we now look forward to an exciting future, working with employers and professional associations, to “spread the word” about the benefits of board level volunteering even further.