Charities are constantly struggling to fill placed on their Board of Trustees. Their recruitment processes are ad-hoc, informal and actually, anyone who wants to be on a Board can because the current Board of Trustees are just grateful that someone wants to join them. Is that really the way to increase the membership of the Board of Trustees? Of course not.
Anyone can come along to a Board of Trustees and spin any old line and will be believed because there are no checks or requests for references. A charity might conduct a DBS check and that will be about it.
Typically an organisation will ask prospective employees if they know anyone who works their or is on the board. So why does that not happen when a new Board of Trustee is appointed? Relationships to be wary of are relatives, especially living partners, life-long friends, work colleagues. Some Board members, particularly Chairs, will recruit their friends and relatives so their decisions are carried forward.
When recruiting new Trustee for the Board conduct a formal recruitment process. Be clear about the skills you require and do not compromise. A shortage of Board members can lead to accepting anyone. On a long term basis the relaxed strategy or take anyone strategy risks recruiting people with egos, gaps in skills, people with similar skills, people who will agree with anything that is presented to them and not be prepared to challenge.
A successful Board of Trustees needs honest, hardworking people with integrity. So check they are who they say they are and make sure they know what is expected of them and it will all work out well.
Photography by Tim Gouw