Friday, 16 January 2015

Being a young trustee - why you should do it!

At 25 surely it’s too early to say it, but I’m starting to feel old. People born in 1997 are old enough to drive – as I found to my horror when I sold my car last month. Friends my age have told me they’re already using anti-ageing cream.

I’ve found a better approach to feeling young - surrounding myself with people who are older than me. This is why I became a trustee.

It isn’t. Actually I stumbled into it. I had supported the charity for a long time and went to their AGM last year to get more involved. I met the Director, and a conversation about volunteering led to one about fundraising, which in turn led to her emailing me when a trustee position became available.

What clinched the interview was my enthusiasm. I walked away from it knowing that while I might not have as much experience as other candidates, the interviewers couldn’t doubt my dedication.

Being a young trustee is absolutely brilliant. I get to support a cause I love. I have a huge motivation to learn about all types of fundraising, not just my field. And I get to see the inner workings of a charity.

What does the charity get out of it? Someone who understands and loves fundraising. I’ve drawn on everything I know about fundraising and put together a plan for new income streams like individual giving and challenge events.
The charity is totally reliant on trust income – and if we don’t branch out it simply won’t survive. It’s terrifying and exciting in equal parts.

They also get someone with a good work/life balance - I don’t have an all-consuming job, or any responsibilities at home. It’s us young’uns and the oldies who have time. Both categories are equally needed.

So why don’t more young fundraisers do it? Firstly, I think young people may feel they don’t have much to offer. But if you’re working in the sector you will almost certainly have vital skills and experience other charities need.
It’s well known that people can be wary about fundraising – even if you sit on the board just to fight its corner or explain why you need a proper database, you can make a massive difference.

Secondly, on a practical level, it can be tricky to find these opportunities. Try groups on LinkedIn like Young Charity Trustees or UK Charity Trustees, where roles are sometimes advertised. And be proactive – network, find charities you’re passionate about and go to their events.
There are small charities crying out for support from trustees with time and energy, it’s just a matter of finding them.
Seek out these opportunities and give it a go - I really can't recommend it enough. You will learn stacks and it's incredibly rewarding - and it's cheaper than anti-ageing cream!
Ruth Stokes

1 comment:

  1. I love your enthusiasm. I have looked out for trustee opportunities for quite a while, but living in Suffolk/Norfolk means that the chances are slim. Thanks for the inspiration!