News & Insights

POSTED Monday 06-11-23

Trustees’ Week 2023 – Find Your First Trustee Position

This week from the 6th of November to the 10th of November is Trustee Week 2023, Trustee and Board Member Recruitment are a big part of what we do here at Aspen People so we would like to take this opportunity to highlight key steps to find your first Trustee Position

Everyone has volunteered at some point in their lives. To either get some work experience, kick start your first CV entry, or give something back to an organisation that has supported you or your family at some point. Volunteering opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, so there will always be something for everyone. What is often overlooked is the opportunity to volunteer professionally and robustly as a 3rd sector organisation or a not-for-profit Trustee.

What are you passionate about?

Rather than researching what a trustee position is right off the bat. Consider what you’re passionate about. What cause do you care strongly about? Think about the online articles, documentaries and public lectures you found interesting. Think about heated discussions you had with your friends or family. Also, remember to think of the organisations where you’ve worked or volunteered, even if it was a long time ago. 

What issues pique your interest, and what would you like to change in your community or world? Try to drill this down to tiny bite-sized pieces in terms of the scale, size and service delivery approach. For example, if you’re interested in making creative arts more accessible to 0-5 years. Is this on a local, national, or even global scale? Next, consider what type of organisation attracts you most. Are you, for example, more drawn to large advocacy charities or small community-based charity that provides creative arts for children?

For some people, this step is straightforward. Others might need help to narrow down what they enjoy working on. If this is the case, you can also turn it around: eliminate what you need to find interesting enough. Discussing with others can also help you get a clearer perspective on what you really care about. Don’t be afraid to take your time with this step. After all, you’ll be investing time and energy to work on this cause if you become a trustee.

What does it take to be a trustee?

So, that’s a tricky part, completed and in the bag. But it’s good to put what cause or causes you really feel passionate about on paper! 

Next, you’ll need to look into what it exactly entails to be a trustee. What are your duties and responsibilities? What are the legal liabilities? The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations have lots of helpful information and events on their website. 

You can also reach out to Trustees via email or LinkedIn and ask if they’d be willing to talk so you can get more insight into what it’s like to be a Trustee. Be aware that the charity’s size often influences a Trustee’s duties. Although every Trustee will execute specific tasks, your role will likely be more hands-on in smaller charities.

If direct contact with the charity’s beneficiaries regularly is more something for you than developing overarching strategies, then becoming a trustee might not be something for you. However, that is different from saying that the two can’t go together. Trustees often also volunteer ‘on the ground’ to get a better impression of the work and needs of the organisation. Knowing what goes on in the organisation and understanding the beneficiaries’ needs can help you develop appropriate short and long-term strategies and solutions. Moreover, you’re more likely to get the staff on board if a change of direction is needed.

Suppose you decided that a Trustee role doesn’t match what you enjoy doing; that’s okay. What is important is that you’ve found the cause you care about, so you should consider volunteering in a different role.

Start your Search 

By this point, you know what you’re passionate about and have decided you still want to become a Trustee. Then, you can start your search for a fitting Trustee role. Finding a trustee position can be lengthy because they’re often not widely advertised but don’t let that put you off!

You can search online for Trustee Roles in your town or city. Because you know what moves you and what charities fit your profile, you could check their websites directly. Even when you don’t see Trustee positions listed, it’s worth dropping them an email or a phone call to ask about any available Trustee positions and information on when they’re likely to be recruiting again. This proactive approach can prove successful as many Trustee positions are only sometimes (widely) advertised.

Remember to check our Current Opportunities as we have many Trustee opportunities. Even if none of the current opportunities are what you are looking for please Register to be part of our executive talent database and always be informed of new Trustee opportunities that we are working on.

We take great pride in ensuring that any marketing treatments we publish reflect the stellar efforts of our Talent and Client Partners and the Consultants and Directors. Our collective approach is arm-in-arm, driving towards the outcomes that best match the client and candidate requirements.

Prepare your Application

You have found the perfect role! Now it’s time to prepare your application to land that first Trustee Position. Use Google, the company’s website search and social media to find out as much about the organisation as possible. Being a Trustee comes with responsibilities, so you should know what you’re getting yourself into. That means asking for access or a show of their annual reports. Often these are found on their website.

Your charity-specific research did not put you off? Good! Then it’s time to start writing your Cover Letter and tailoring your CV. Tip; keep your CV document to 2 pages (3 max) rather than create a new document for a Cover Letter. Please start a new page after your CV and start there. Keep your Covering Letter to no more than three pages. The perfect situation is to have a 2-page CV and a 2-page Cover Letter. If you need more, don’t worry about it. Tell your story.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog. If you have any questions about the Current Opportunities that we have, contact the named person in the advertisement or for some advice on Trustee roles please contact Debbie Shields.