Every charity has a form of governance, often called a Board.
The Board is responsible for ensuring the organisation is being run in a responsible and effective way, and that it is meeting its objectives set out in it’s governing documents.
Judgment is a must. In many ways, it is THE job of a trustee or Director member. A member with solid judgment keeps you out of trouble and helps you navigate difficult situations.
A great trustee member needs to have as much relevant context as possible in order to offer actionable and on-point advice. There are four areas to consider:
To have great judgement, wisdom is pretty essential when making critical decisions and thinking strategically about the future.
Trustee work is hard work. There can be a lot of meetings, especially with committee duties, homework, and times when very difficult, delicate, and challenging decisions must be made, often concerning people.
This is less critical than some of the others, but ultimately a trustee member’s style should be compatible both with that of the CEO and with the other trustee members.
An often under-appreciated role for trustee members is that of coach or mentor.
Maybe THE most unappreciated trait. Your trustee members need to have the courage of their convictions, as well as the courage to face up to hard truths, and to make tough calls when the answer isn’t always obvious and when there are considerable consequences if the call is wrong.
Those running a company limited by guarantee with charitable status are both directors under the Companies Act and charity trustees under charity legislation. This means that they are subject to both company law and charity law in addition to general law.
Remember a duty is a legal obligation. Failure to carry out duties as a director can result in fines and in some cases personal liability. It is therefore essential that anyone considering becoming a director of a community anchor organisation is clear about their role and responsibilities.
Charity law imposes similar, but slightly wider, duties on trustees. These duties are based on common law and reflect the fact that trustees are in a position of trust and have ‘fiduciary’ duties.