There are lots of ways to support charities, including volunteering. Many could not provide the breadth and quality of services without their volunteers.
VAL recruits and places volunteers across Leicester and Leicestershire throughout the year. We have also had over 2,000 people come forward during the COVID crisis to help those most in need in our local communities. Thank you to you all.
There is an important volunteering role which can get overlooked – that is being a trustee of a charity. All charities have to have a Board of Trustees.
But there is an important volunteering role which can get overlooked – that is being a trustee of a charity. All charities have to have a Board of Trustees. Depending on the size of the charity, they usually have between 5 and 15 trustees. Their role is to set the strategic direction of the charity, employ the staff, set and monitor budgets, and agree policies.
This may sound rather dry. It certainly isn’t.
I am Chair of both the VAL Board of Trustees and that of VASL (Voluntary Action South Leicestershire). They are very different organisations in size and the types of services they provide. As such, their Boards are different, in size and composition. At VAL, we have 15 Trustees, and at VASL we have a small board, usually of around 8 people.
Whilst the critical work is the delivery of our services, the charities could not exist without trustees, and are stronger as a result of effective planning and financial management.
In both cases, we work together with the CEO or Charity Manager to ensure the organisation is working effectively and plan for the future. Whilst the critical work is the delivery of our services, the charities could not exist without trustees, and are stronger as a result of effective planning and financial management. I and the other trustees are proud to contribute to the success of both organisations, and to use our knowledge, skills and life experiences to strive to make them even better.
I have been Chair of VASL for over 9 years and I love it. I have only been Chair of VAL since February, although I had a previous stint as Chair a few years ago. I look forward to our board meetings and know that my fellow trustees share my desire to do all we can to lead an outstanding charity which meets the needs of our communities.
You can imagine that this year has presented new challenges due to the COVID pandemic. The Trustees of both charities have had to make some difficult decisions about staff working from home, the remote delivery of our services, and how best to continue to help those in most need in our communities. We have risen to this challenge and both organisations continue to deliver effective services, albeit in different ways. We have had to be flexible and responsive as organisations.
What I have learned is that the role of a trustee is an important one and plays a critical role in the health and development in any charity.
What I have learned is that the role of a trustee is an important one and plays a critical role in the health and development in any charity. There are challenges ahead for all Boards of Trustees. The ongoing COVID pandemic, and its longer term impact, will be with us for months ahead.
Would you consider becoming a Trustee of a local charity? There are no specific requirements but they need people who have a range of experiences and skills to be part of the team.
It would help to have trustees who have experience of strategic planning, budgets, marketing or human resources. But, what is most needed is those who care about the charity, want to make a difference in their local community, and contribute to a successful organisation providing a range of services pertinent to them and their local needs.
I can assure you, you will love it and your contribution will make a difference.