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What are trustees?

Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. They help to make the UK the sixth most giving country in the world.

They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work.

Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.

How many trustees are there?

There are approximately 196,000 charities in the UK (167,000 charities in England and Wales, 24,000 in Scotland, 5,000 registered in Northern Ireland). And just over 1 million trustees (of which some 850,000 are in England and Wales, 180,000 in Scotland and 30,000 in Northern Ireland)

From NCVO and CCNI research, we know just under half the UK’s trustees are women.

The average trustee in England and Wales is 59 years old, and 55 in Northern Ireland.

There are many young trustees too with some 86,000 trustee positions held by 16-34 year olds (of which 2,611 in Northern Ireland).

Trustee behaviours quiz

It’s important to have a diverse range of skills on a trustee board. Having different approaches, skills and experience on a board helps charities carry out their important work to the high standards that the public expect.

Complete our behaviours quiz to help you understand the skills you could bring to a charity.

If you’re already a trustee, are the results what you would expect? Is there a good range of skills on your trustee board?


The Young Trustees Movement – Will you pledge?

The Young Trustees Movement , aims to double the number of trustees aged 30 and under on charity boards by 2024 in England and Wales. While the spotlight is on the age factor, the movement is part of a wider call for diversity and best practice on charity boards. They aim to achieve this through three steps:

Mobilising charity leaders and young people to join & commit to the movement through a pledge

Supporting movement members to make their pledge a reality. We will do this by creating physical and digital hubs that provide:

  • Step by step practical and achievable guidance/resources e.g. a template meeting agenda, recruitment pack, etc.
  • Online learning, including a ‘Young Trustees in training’ programme
  • Best practice and shared learnings from failures and mess ups!
  • A space to connect and signposted to people and organisations within the Movement
  • Campaigning opportunities targeted at behaviour change in charity boards.

Creating a counter-narrative to challenge the current status quo of governance and perceptions of who a trustee should be.

Kira Lewis, 19, a Young Trustee of two boards said:

“With dire statistics such as one in twelve trustees being called either John or David, less than 3% of Charity Trustees being under 30 and less than 1% being under 25 – it’s no secret that board diversity is an issue.

People have been talking about board diversity for decades – what we need now is to combine this with meaningful action. There is already brilliant work being done in this space – but there is so much more to be done.

I’ve joined the movement to accelerate the pace of change, be part of a supportive network and to shine a light on best practice.

If you work/volunteer in the charity sector – we NEED you to get involved by pledging your commitment to the Young Trustees Movement”

You can pledge to make a difference here.

Community Action: MK Activities

During Trustees Week 2019 we will be sharing trustee vacancies in Milton Keynes as well as helping current trustees learn more about governance and assess the governance of their groups.

Watch this space!