Why have young Trustees?

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  • Fellowship
  • Philosophy
  • Social innovation

This is a follow-up on Carol Jackson's earlier post asking Will it really take 70 years to achieve gender-balanced boardrooms in the UK? - timely, as the deadline for nominations for the 2013 RSA Trustee board elections is coming up on the 17th of July: what you need to know.

Now, I had the opportunity to speak to Alex Swallow FRSA, Chief Exec of the Small Charities Coalition and also founder of Young Charity Trustees about the role of Trustees in general and why he thinks charities should look to involve young people in specific at the governance level.

2013 RSA Trustee campaign - Alex Swallow from RSA Fellowship on Vimeo.

The questions in detail - with Alex' answers in a nutshell (see the video for more):

What do Trustees do? 

Alex: Trustees are the people who provide the governance of an organisations, in this case a charity - and they are the people who are trying to deal with the strategic intentions of the organisation.

Why have young Trustees?

Alex: There is a lot of talent out there. Charities need skills and sometimes struggle to get enough applicants. Widening the pool of applicants makes sense.

Practical steps?

Alex: Confidence is required on both sides - and use the resources out there: e.g. Young Charity Trustees LinkedIn group and Trustees' Week (and even more listed under next steps below).

Next steps:

  • CfE guide to being a TrusteeAre you a Fellow in good standing and willing to stand? We are looking to fill three elected posts on the RSA Trustee Board, to serve for three years as three current trustees are due to retire. You can find out more about the Trustee Board Elections 2013: What you need to know, and about how boards work linked below.
  • Want to encourage somebody else to stand? If they are a Fellow in good standing, be sure to share this with them – there is a Tweet button at the top… email also works


Michael Ambjorn is Head of Fellowship – Follow @michaelambjorn

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  • Sat on LC of RSA - awful experience for a young person. Eventually left (forced to). Willing to become a young trustee though - if offer still stands that is!

  • I was a Trustee of the British Youth Council - when I was young (once!) - we were all under 25. We had to work *very* hard to steer it through a very difficult time. I've been on lots of Boards since and would say we did a good a job as many I have come across in my almost 20 years supporting charities and community enterprises since then. We need young people to have a real stake in decision making and responsibly for now, not just for the future.