Too many glory hunters on charity boards

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Charities don't do enough to recruit right calibre of trustees for their boards

11th November 2014 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Too many "obsessives, colonels’ and gong hunters" sit on the boards of British charities, a new study has revealed.

The same study reveals leadership, finance and chairing are the most sought after skills for charity trustees.

Trustees Unlimited surveyed 2,000 of its members in the run up to Trustees Week and discovered that finding these skills was often a difficult task but organisations weren’t being creative enough when recruiting people with these talents.

It also found that 47% of trustees recognise there are skills gaps on their boards while another 46% say their charity doesn’t appraise the performance of board members.

And over a third said their chair isn’t appraised either.

It is the responsibility of the chair to bring out the best in trustees

Despite recognising skills gaps, charities still recruit new trustees by word of mouth and through their own networks (42%).

Only third use recruitment agencies or job boards and only 8% advertise vacancies.

Ian Joseph, chief executive of Trustees Unlimited said the findings were “extraordinary.”

“On the one hand it is commendable that almost 50% of organisations recognise where they have skills gaps, however, it’s extraordinary that almost half of trustees are unaware of the skills they are lacking,” he said.

“It is also worrying to see that the approach to appraising board performance is so variable when governance is more important than ever. A lack of diverse skills on a board is a huge risk.

To be a good trustee takes many skills but also a firm commitment to the role and the charity cause said Joseph.

“It is the responsibility of the chair to bring out the best in trustees – using their skills in the right way, ensuring that meetings are run effectively and that everyone makes a valuable contribution at each meeting,” he added.

“There is no room for obsessives, colonels and gong hunters on charity boards, especially given charities are under ever increasing scrutiny from the public and from their regulators.”