Trustees’ Week 2020

November 4, 2020 Tags: , , , , , , ,

Trustees are the people responsible for running a charity, volunteering their time, and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s role.

As this is Trustees’ Week (Monday 2 to Friday 6 November 2020), we want to explore the role of trustees in charitable organisations in general, and tell you specifically what our trustees do here at Birmingham Community Matters.

Perhaps we can inspire you to join our board of trustees . . .

What is a trustee?

The UK government defines trustees as ‘the people who share ultimate responsibility for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run’.

They might also be called the board, the management committee, governors, directors, or something else.

Here is guidance from ‘The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do’.

Why become a trustee?

All charitable organisations need trustees so, if you’re passionate about a cause, joining the board of a relevant charity is a great way to focus your time and channel your knowledge in a way that does good and feels good.

Being a trustee is also a brilliant way to get strategic experience (which is not always easy to come by in the workplace), expand your networks and develop your team working and communication skills.

What do Birmingham Community Matters trustees do?

BCM currently has five trustees. These lovely people have broad and deep collective knowledge and experience in setting up and running community groups and projects.

While our paid team is responsible for the day-to-day running of BCM, our trustees have ultimate legal, strategic and oversight responsibility for our charity.

You can read our ‘role of the board document’ here but, in short, our trustees are here keep us on track, as both a charity and an employer, in doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

As well as attending quarterly meetings with our team, our trustees are on hand by email and/or phone when we need their expertise, or to run an idea or challenge past them. We’re very grateful for their support.

How do I become a Birmingham Community Matters trustee?

Do you have experience of volunteering with community groups and projects? We would love to strengthen our existing board and we’re particularly keen to recruit people who can help us reach more community groups in the east, west and north of the city.

In terms of our backgrounds, we’re not yet as diverse a team as we’d like to be. So we’d especially like to welcome trustees to our board who are underrepresented in the charity sector – people who feel they can help us better represent Birmingham’s diverse, brilliant population.

We carried out a trustee skills audit last year and identified some areas of knowledge where we could do with further trustee support. Those include financial management, human resources, marketing, social media, and knowledge of the private sector. So if you have experience in one or some of those areas, we’d love to hear from you.

If you feel too young to become a trustee or you are concerned that you lack some areas of knowledge, please apply anyway – we may be able to organise training to help you get up to speed. Have a look at the Young Trustees’ Movement for inspiration.

What else do I need to know?

Being a trustee for BCM is not a paid role but we can cover basic expenses for you to attend meetings and carry out trustee business – for example: for travel or childcare.

Time-wise, we would need you to prepare for and attend a minimum of four trustee meetings per year (currently being held digitally while we keep one another safe during the coronavirus pandemic). You may also be asked to contribute to or lead working groups focused on areas where you have experience – such as in policies and procedures, marketing, fundraising, or something else relevant.

If you are interested in becoming a BCM trustee please read:

BCM Responsibilities of Trustees
BCM Role of the Board
BCM Governance Principles
Our 2019-2020 annual report and accounts.

Then send an introductory email to, with the subject line BCM Trustee, briefly outlining your experience within community or volunteering organisations and what you believe you could contribute to the role of trustee for BCM.

Prior to any formal application, you will be offered the opportunity to have an informal discussion with an existing BCM trustee.

Events and resources

Here are some useful events and learning opportunities for trustees, and people interested in becoming trustees.


Festival of Trusteeship (Getting On Board)
Monday 2 to Friday 6 November

Trustees’ Week 2020 conference (Yes We Can)
Monday 2 to Friday 6 November

Active Boards Online; a global perspective (Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland)
Governance & the principles of equality, equity & diversity (Small Charities Coalition)
Wednesday 4 November

A different type of trustee (Small Charities Coalition)
Wednesday 4 November

Improving organisational resilience: what trustees need to consider (NCVO)
Thursday 5 November

Safeguarding – Responsibilities of Trustees (Connected Voice)
Thursday 5 November

Become a trustee – the what, why and how (Ealing and Hounslow CVS)
Thursday 5 November

Navigating Modern Trusteeship (Small Charities Coalition)
Thursday 5 November

Younger People & Governance Q&A (Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland)
Thursday 5 November

Trustees’ Week Chat (Dudley CVS)
Friday 6 November

Trustees’ Week: Understanding Accounts (Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland)
Friday 6 November

Roles and Responsibilities of being a Trustee (Slough CVS)
Tuesday 8 December

Virtual Emerging Chairs’ Programme (Cause4) – fee payable
Thursday 12 November

Resources: becoming a trustee

The Trustees’ Week website details several platforms for searching for or advertising trustee vacancies, including Trustees Unlimited and Do It’s Trustee Finder, which is also there for organisations seeking trustees.

Getting on Board
How to become a charity trustee
(new guide, launched on Monday 2 November)

Reach Volunteering
Become a trustee

Resources: becoming an even better trustee

Association of Chairs
Working as a team

CASS Business School
Tools for Success

Charity Commission
Five new five-minute guides about charity governance

Foundation for Social Improvement
Free advice and heavily subsidised training in strategy, governance, fundraising and impact.