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By Getting-On-Board, Nov 7 2017 02:53PM

At the start of 2018, Getting On Board will launch a new programme to support charities to recruit the trustees they need to operate effectively.

There are an estimated 100,000 trustee vacancies in the UK and our recent research showed that 74% of charities are still struggling to recruit the trustees they need.

As well as encouraging people to become trustees, there is an urgent need to professionalise trustee recruitment. Many charities are still recruiting trustees solely through word-of-mouth. It is estimated that only 10% of trustee vacancies are ever advertised. This leads to a lack of diversity on charity boards in terms of people, skills and knowledge.

With the support of Comic Relief, The Pears Foundation and the Anjoli Stewart Fund we will now work with charities to test free and low-cost trustee recruitment methods.

We will subsequently produce free guidance for any charity on how to recruit trustees effectively and cheaply.

For more information about this programme, please contact Penny Wilson,

By Getting-On-Board, Oct 4 2017 01:03PM

Taking a career break, whatever the reason, has its ups and downs. You might stop work for a few months on maternity leave, to care for a relative, or because of redundancy. Maybe your life simply takes a wrong turn, and you find yourself wondering how you can maintain your enthusiasm, skills and momentum without the regularity of working five days a week.

Whatever your reason for being off work, and whether it’s planned or a surprise; long-term or just for a few weeks, it is the perfect opportunity to volunteer as a charity board trustee.

Becoming a trustee is a great way to keep your skills up-to-date and also gives you the chance to develop new ones. It ensures you still have the opportunity to put your talents to good use, and is an excellent way to meet new people and make new connections. You could find that becoming a trustee while you are out of work opens up exciting new avenues when you return to your career.

And all the while, you will be providing much-needed support to the charity you volunteer for. Charities are crying out for new trustees and everyone has something to offer.

By Getting-On-Board, May 15 2017 02:10PM

Getting on Board’s research has found how poor practices are damaging UK charity effectiveness, and identified simple steps to improve things.

Our report, out on 16 May 2017, has found that outdated and unprofessional trustee recruitment practices are seriously threatening the efficacy of charities in the UK. There is a disparity between the number of British adults who say that they would be interested in being on a charity’s board and the large proportion of charities who report finding trustee recruitment difficult.

Key issues identified include the low levels of charities advertising their vacancies in the media and high levels recruiting simply through word-of-mouth. Few charities surveyed believed that their charity was well equipped to meet strategic needs in the coming years, and a disturbingly high number thought that their boards were not representative of the communities that they serve.

With increasing demand on charities to fill gaps in public service provision, board composition is increasingly under focus by funders. Also, crucially, we believe that more professional trustee recruitment leads to more effective boards. This enables charities to deliver a better quality of service to their clients.

The urgent need to identify new ways to professionalise trustee recruitment is not an intractable problem. Getting on Board has identified four areas in which ‘quick wins’ can be made, along with a list of key recommendations for further actions for charities, umbrella bodies in the sector, government, employers and funders.

For a full copy of the report please download it by clicking on the report cover to the right, or email /

By Getting-On-Board, Oct 27 2016 08:42PM

Charities affect the lives of millions of people every year- but are facing pressures and challenges as never before. In this environment, for charities to face the future with confidence, being able to bring good trustees onto their Boards is essential.

In a partnership between Getting on Board and Cause 4 we’re launching a campaign to promote good trustee recruitment and to find out some of the things that are holding charities back in this area.

Charity CEOs, chairs, trustees and other members of charity senior leadership teams are being asked to take a survey we’ve set up , before Friday 11th November. Initial results will be announced at the end of Trustees Week (7-13 November 2016) and in January, leading charity experts will take part in a round table discussing these issues ahead of the publication of a detailed report on trustee recruitment practices in the UK.

The current situation

Despite the fact that 21% of British adults are interested in joining the board of a charity, there are currently an estimated 90,000 trustee vacancies nationally. This is partially down to poor recruitment practices on the part of charities; fewer than 8% of vacancies are advertised as charities choose to recruit form their own limited network of staff, volunteers and other personal connections.

The result is a lack of diversity on boards in terms of background, skills and viewpoints. For example, only 0.5% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 (12% of the UK’s adult population) are trustees. Through my work as the Founder of Young Charity Trustees, I’ve seen how young people are willing to step up to the plate but unsure how to get involved or about whether charities are really interested in engaging them. Other underrepresented groups include disabled people, those leaving the armed forces and ethnic minorities.

Charities also tend to recruit trustees from a limited number of industries such as accountancy, law and finance. While such skills remain vital, the sector needs an injection of fresh talent in “21st century” areas such as PR, social media and digital in order to ensure it is capitalising on new opportunities such as social enterprise and crowdfunding.

Other issues include charities’ general lack of confidence around recruitment and current Trustees not feeling that they are making a worthwhile contribution to their Boards- meaning that they are unable to act as effective advocates for potential Trustees.

Katherine Sparkes, CEO of Getting On Board says “At the moment, the charity sector is selling itself short when it comes to trustee recruitment. If we are to tap into a wider talent pool, charities need to change their practices to be more open, accessible, welcoming and professional - actively welcoming trustees who better reflect both the demographics of service users and beneficiaries and the UK population as a whole. Put simply, a good board is a diverse board - in terms of skills, background and age - and charities need to do more to attract the best talent.

“And trusteeship is not just about what trustees can do for the charity, but how charities can help individuals develop through their experiences as a trustee. Just as you would with other volunteers or paid staff, investing in Trustees will reap rewards. The research we are conducting will help inform our knowledge about the challenges charities are currently facing in recruitment, and what remedial steps those working in the sector ought to take.”

Michelle Wright, CEO of Cause 4 added: “Great governance can only happen with great trustees, and at the moment, the sector just isn’t doing enough to recruit the right people. This means that many charity boards aren’t operating as well as they should, meaning that they are not meeting their objectives in the most effective way.

“We hope that this survey goes some way towards discovering what is going wrong in the sector in this area, and what steps can be taken to address any issues.”

Can you help?

We know that there are lots of problems with the way many charities currently recruit trustees, but also that there are a great deal of positive examples out there too. We’d like to learn about both.

So, we need your help! Please fill in the survey: share it with others who you think would have a view- and please get in touch if you are interested in attending the roundtable.

You can follow and support the campaign using the hashtag #trusteerecruit – we look forward to working on this important issue with you in the build up to Trustees’ Week.

by Alex Swallow

By Getting-On-Board, Jul 20 2016 09:20PM

A call for evidence went out today from the ‘Select Committee on Charities’ seeking views on charity sector sustainability.

In the wake of high profile events questioning appropriate practice in the charitable sector the committee has been established to look at issues related to sustaining the charity sector, and the challenges of charity governance.

Recommendations will be made to the UK Government on how to ease the pressures on the charity sector and to make sure the sector is sustainable for the future. The Committee is looking for examples of best practice, innovation and ideas to bring the sector together and are welcoming written evidence by 5 September 2016.

To find out more please visit and to join the online conversation on twitter use the hashtag #HLCharities.

By Getting-On-Board, Jul 14 2016 10:34PM

Getting on Board launched a new training workshop, ‘Preparation for Trusteeship’ in Spring 2016. We were hearing more and more from individuals interested in becoming a trustee but hesitant to take their first steps towards a role due to questions around whether being a trustee was really for them, what would the role really involve and how much time would they need to commit?

We wanted to ensure that everyone recognises Trusteeship is something they could volunteer to do with confidence and our half day workshop does just this by bringing trusteeship alive through case studies, activities and real-life scenarios.

At our most recent workshop, delivered for Burges Salmon in Bristol 82% of attendees reported feeling more confident about becoming a trustee after the workshop and 100% would recommend the workshop to someone else.

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