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Introduction to Charity Governance - Inspiring Scotland

Introduction to Charity Governance

Apart from the individuals a charity aims to help, board members/trustees are the VIPs. And it is the diversity of these individuals, that can lead to either the make or break of a charity work. They have the potential to thrive or bring the operations of a charity grinding to a halt.

Those supported by the services of a charity are dependent on its trustees to make good decisions and lead well. Tackling the daily work of improving social problems can lead to a host of challenges. To fully understand and address such challenges, trustees need a wide range of skills.

Working as a team to bring different knowledge and experience together successfully. For a charity to be successful their board of trustees must challenge the status quo but also one another. To navigate the ever-changing context which they operate.

Lead by Diversity

Just like the people a charity strives to help, no two people, situation or stories are the same. There is no such things as a ‘one size fits all’ strategy or an ‘ideal board’ of trustees. The mix of people and experience your charity needs will be specific to a project and will evolve over time. Bringing together a rich mix of qualities and experience makes for a healthy and effective board.

The Power of an Open Mind

It can be tempting to recruit on a ‘like for like’ basis, particularly if you are recruiting for a replacement. But you can’t assume that the skills and experience one individual has are critical in another. Keeping an open mind to the type of individual who ‘fits the mould’ can lead to unexpected benefits.

Consider the advantage of recruiting more than one trustee to cover a wider skill base. A collaborative approach can also lead to greater flexibility around the type of experience a new recruit might be able to bring. Making recruitment a more open-minded process allows for the selection of individuals who might otherwise be overlooked.

Evaluate and Grow

While considering board development, some diplomacy with existing trustees is needed. Stepping back and looking forward can highlight skills required from trustees in future.

This isn’t to suggest that your current team are lacking, and it’s important you communicate this so that there is no perception of criticism.

Rather, it’s about making sure your board as a whole continues to be equipped to provide sound leadership. This should be presented as a positive opportunity to re-assess expanding growth. The power of a charity’s work comes from the ability of those managing it to evaluate, learn and grow.

Find the Gaps

Many boards avoid carrying out a formal skills audit. This might be because the job can seem difficult, time consuming and overwhelming, or because they haven’t thought about doing so in the first place.

Yet a formal skills audit can be a valuable and vital part of any recruitment exercise, revealing any gaps to fill while highlighting any over-reliance on one skill set in particular.

For further Information on Governance please click on these links below and don’t hesitate to contact Inspiring Scotland direct.

https://www.oscr.org.uk/guidance-and-forms/guidance-and-good-practice-for-charity-trustees/

https://www.oscr.org.uk/guidance-and-forms/trustee-information-and-guidance-pack/

https://storage.googleapis.com/scvo-cms/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/SCVO-GovernanceToolkit-SCREEN.pdf

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