Headlines: August 23rd, 2005

Experienced public sector staff are being urged to become charity trustees. Research has shown that half of the UK’s 190,000 charities admit to problems in recruiting trustees and as a result the volunteering charity TimeBank and the Charity Commission have launched the ‘Get on Board’ campaign to inspire more skilled and professional people to put themselves forward.The bodies believe that charities are crying out for more diverse boards of trustees and that the expertise of more Civil Service or public sector professionals would make a significant impact on their effectiveness. TimeBank says such professionals could help charities to develop more efficient systems as well as sharing their knowledge of grant application processes and their useful public sector contacts.

A ‘YouGov’ survey commissioned to mark the opening of the campaign, showed that 41 per cent of Civil Service and public sector professionals wanted to have higher status or a higher salary in five years time. Almost a quarter of them said they would look at professional training or courses and 21 per cent said they would try to build their reputation while one in ten would learn new skills. The leaders of the campaign say becoming a trustee could help them achieve all three aims while helping others.

They point out that as well as making a difference to the community, trusteeship can help professionals gain new skills and improve career prospects. Research shows that almost three-quarters of employers would choose a candidate with voluntary experience over one without and more than nine out of ten employers think volunteering would add to the skills of their workforce.

Leading support for the campaign Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop, who is herself a trustee, said that as well as being a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference to a cause, trusteeship was a golden opportunity to gain career experience and make important contacts outside of the workplace.

Moira Swinbank, TimeBank’s Chief Executive, said the campaign aimed to dispel the myths about being a trustee. People did not need to wait to be asked and it was not necessary to be a powerful mover and shaker.