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How do you uncover the next generation of charity leaders?

8 September 2015

A new guide to develop the next generation of charity leaders
 will be launched today (Tuesday).

The Young Trustees Guide, published by Charities Aid Foundation, aims to change the face of charity trustee boards given that only two per cent of charities have a young trustee serving.

This is despite the fact that 85 per cent of people aged under 35 would consider becoming a charity trustee.

The guide is aimed at unlocking untapped potential.

The recommendations are backed by the Charity Commission and charity leaders across the UK.

The key highlights are:

  • Making the case for the benefits of young charity trustees for both charities and young people. For example, young trustees challenge the disconnect that can exist between board members and beneficiaries and get to work with established sector leaders.
  • Suggestions on how to improve trustee board recruitment practices. For example, the process should not rely on word of mouth or personal recommendations.
  • Key challenges, tips and solutions. These include considering working around young trustees’ exam timetables, ensuring they are legally up to speed and encouraging them to make their voice heard by asking disagreements to be logged in the minutes.

It is based on the findings of the Young Trustee Survey launched by CAF last year in partnership with Leon Ward, a trustee at Plan UK and Brook.

Charity trustees and Chairs provide valuable insights which are included in the guide.

One chair said having young trustees "energises the committee to think differently".

John Low, Chief Executive at CAF said: "Charities would benefit from tapping into the potential of young people, the majority of whom would consider becoming a trustee.

“Existing charity trustees should seek out and nurturing charity leaders of the future, and this guide is our contribution to that effort.

“This is the path to ensuring the UK’s most vital and valued charities organisations are in safe hands for generations to come.”

“Surely we can move on from current practice where the average age of British trustees is 57.”

Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said: "A board’s strength lies in its collective skills and perspectives.

"To understand the charities beneficiaries properly and serve them effectively, it needs a diverse range of people from a variety of backgrounds and experience.

"Trustees should particularly consider the benefits young people can bring to the boardroom such as new talents and fresh perspective.

"In return, trusteeship is an excellent way for young people to learn new skills and progress professionally."

Leon, 23, based in Cardiff, teamed up with CAF to write the guide.

He said: "This isn't just about appointing young trustees but it is about nurturing and harnessing the talent of future givers, philanthropists, thought leaders, chief executives and charity staff.

"And it is about developing incumbent volunteers and opening the sector up to outside talent.

"This is about helping to safeguard the future of the charity sector, it's about holding a sector, that so often talks about diversity, to account. If you like, it's about 'walking the talk'."

Notes for Editors

Figures and research quoted in release are fully referenced in the guide.

The Young Trustees Guide originated from the Growing Giving Parliamentary Inquiry and the recommendation focusing on ensuring that more young people are given the skills and opportunities to become trustees of charities.

We partnered with young trustee Leon Ward to launch the Young Trustee Survey back in November 2014, which surveyed young trustees between the ages of 18-30 and charities with a young trustee on their board which was designed to give us a detailed picture of the challenges, opportunities and experiences that young trustees have across the UK.

The Young Trustees Guide: Developing the next generation of charity leaders is a 23-page report which functions as a guide for charities and young people and features case studies from the National Children's Bureau,the Sheffield City Trust, Plan UK, Brook and others.

Charities Aid Foundation is a charity which helps people and businesses support the causes they care about.

The guide will be launched on Tuesday 8 September 2015.

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