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Charity Commission's positive future outlook points to increase in trustee demand

Charity Commission's positive future outlook points to increase in trustee demand

Trustees with the prerequisite skills to rethink the plans of not-for-profit organisations and implement quick strategies are in high demand.

Furthermore, with the Charity Commission's optimistic outlook on the charity sector’s future growth - following its recent Annual Public Meeting (APM) - this could point to an increase in trustee demand, especially as the charity sector continues to make a strong recovery following the pandemic - according to charity specialists at national accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young’s Nottingham Office.

Following the Charity Commission’s APM, which took place on 30 September, Roger Merchant, partner at UHY Hacker Young, said:

“COVID-19 has challenged the charity and not-for-profit sector, and the emphasis now is to continue to strive to uphold service levels in challenging times. Having a diverse pool of trustees to bring new skills and ideas, is therefore going to be crucial to best manage risk.

“UHY Hacker Young welcomes the outlook of the Charity Commission and predicts that a wider array of trustee talent will help to bring greater opportunity for charities to create better run, more effective charities that are able to meet their potential.”

David Allum, director at UHY Hacker Young, provides his advice on sourcing skilled trustees. He said:

“In response to the changes from the pandemic, many charity boards have spent time reviewing their current needs and are unsure where to go to fill them.

“Fundraising also continues to be a challenge and requires novel approaches, with grant opportunities less easy to come by. More time is needed to identify sources, plan a future direction and possibly even rethink its overarching strategy and charitable functions.

“Trustees must be agile, capable of rethinking plans and implementing changes quickly due to the volatility of the third sector. While short term gaps might be filled by buying in services, long-term spaces should be more efficiently covered by obtaining new trustees.

“Asking the current professional adviser for any recommendations may prove invaluable for a charity. If the adviser has been helping with short-term gaps, their expertise and perspective will help them to know exactly what is needed for the charity and can potentially provide useful recommendations for recruitment.

“Based on post-pandemic anecdotes, I also believe that many people now have a greater urge to help others in need. The contacts and connections of existing board members are a useful starting point for charities in search of the appropriately skilled candidates – LinkedIn in particular is a valuable tool for identifying talent and establishing a stronger relationship to convince them how they can be beneficial to the charity.

“With most charities having a Facebook page to provide updates on activity and fundraising, social media advertising may be the most efficient way to source the best suitable candidates. This audience will often be knowledgeable with the charity’s services, aware of their aims and pre-existing challenges that are affecting it - and ultimately will be eager to help.

“Alternatively, there are a number of websites that can be used for advertising roles for trustees. I recommend reviewing roles for some of the larger, more-established charities to help you to create bespoke descriptions for roles - outlining the desired skills needed and framing the charity’s mission in a way that will attract the best talent.

“Having found suitable candidates, the current board must ensure that all efforts are given to establish that these may be the best person for the role. I strongly recommend that for any board looking to hire they review the Charity Commissions guide that outlines the requirements of trustees and the responsibility they will have to the charity.”

David added:

“UHY Hacker Young works closely with some of the region’s best-known charities and understands the pressures that come with finding suitable trustees. As we look ahead to Trustees Week (1-5 November 2021), the focus on providing ample opportunity for charities to source new potential trustees, will only increase.”

For more information on how UHY Hacker Young supports charities with issues as a result of changing economic forces, regulation and legislation, please visit or call 0115 959 0900.

Picture: L to R - David Allum, director / Roger Merchant, partner

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