Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Young, Gifted...and a Charity Trustee?

Young people are few and far between on charity boards in England and Wales, with 18-24 year olds accounting for only 0.5% of trustees in 2010. Yet a recent survey undertaken on behalf of Young Charity Trustees (YCT) suggests that the vast majority of UK youth without board experience would consider trusteeship in future, while those young people who were or had been trustees overwhelmingly found the experience a positive one. This is particularly important when young people are struggling to find jobs and looking for ways to boost their CV, while charities are experiencing rising demand in difficult economic times and need to bring new skills into their organisations.

The survey, Young, Gifted…and a Charity Trustee?, was conducted online between July 15th and 23rd 2013 on a voluntary basis by Nicholas Fryer, a Charityworks graduate programme participant.

198 people in the UK aged 35 and under responded. Some of the main results included:

· 85% of young people surveyed who had no experience of trusteeship would consider becoming a trustee in future.
·  Of the young people with experience as trustees who rated this experience in the survey, 82% rated it positively and only 2% negatively.
·  The most common reason given for becoming a trustee was that it was an opportunity to give back, get more involved, or support an organisation or cause that the person cared about (53% of question respondents). The second most important reason for having become a trustee was the opportunity to learn, gain experience and skills or maintain skills (40%).
The two most common recommendations of respondents for how charities should encourage young people to become trustees were 1. Increase understanding and awareness of trusteeship (19% of all respondents) and 2. Advertise, publicise and promote the role and vacancies (18%).
Nicholas Fryer, who undertook the survey and analysis, commented: 
‘The number and quality of responses shows how much interest young people have in charity trusteeship and the incredibly positive experience of young trustees. Recruiting and supporting board members in a way which is inclusive of young people could reap significant rewards for charities, helping fill trustee vacancies and increase board diversity’.

Alex Swallow, the Founder of Young Charity Trustees said: 
'The survey results fit with my own experiences running YCT. Young people who become Trustees generally get a lot out of it, but a commitment to Board diversity from charities is patchy. I have seen some amazing examples of individual charities doing good work in this area, but sector-wide we all need to up our game. Getting more young people to become Trustees is a classic win-win for the young people themselves and for charities'.

Read the full survey HERE.

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