Is there a crisis in trustee recruitment? Perhaps it hasn’t quite got that far yet, but there are certainly difficulties when it comes to recruiting trustees, whether for organisations just getting started or even well-established groups with long and respected histories.
Currently, the Volunteer Centre is in contact with a number of organisations in desperate need of new trustees, but finding them can be incredibly hard. One of the major hurdles in trustee recruitment is that most people, certainly in our experience, who want to volunteer are looking for something regular. They have a few hours a week that they want to fill and trustee work is often more ad hoc, and certainly tends not to be weekly. Meetings might be monthly, or even quarterly. Workload might be minimal oversight or routine hands-on management. Potential volunteers will sometimes dismiss the idea of trusteeship because they think it will be too much work or not enough. They might feel that they don’t have the necessary skills or experience to be a trustee, or might not even realise that trustees are volunteers in the first place, thinking that they are paid roles.
Another recruitment challenge is that trustees will often have some kind of personal tie to the work that they are doing, and if you are an organisation with a specialism, looking for someone with a passion, with that connection, the potential pool for recruitment can be significantly smaller than for a more general volunteering role.
As helpful as passion can be, it isn’t essential. A commitment to the role is more important than prior knowledge or experience, and trusteeship is something that you can grow into, through experience and training. Almost anyone can become a trustee (there are certain exceptions due to age or criminal convictions for example), and being a trustee is a very rewarding experience, giving you the opportunity not only to see the impact of the work being done but also to help guide it and ensure that it is sustained.
If you have never considered being a trustee, give it some thought. If you have considered it but dismissed the idea, perhaps revisit it. Got questions? Then get in touch. You could make a significant difference to a lot of people, including yourself.