In my last blog, I wrote about The Who asking “Who are you?” and considering if there are any skills gaps in the board of trustees which need filling. In keeping with the same theme, in their 1970 song The Seeker, The Who told us they were looking under tables, chairs, asking Bobby Dylan and even The Beatles, but still were unable to find what they were looking for. This may sound familiar to many charity boards at present having spent some time reviewing their current needs and not being sure where to go to fill them.
It’s quite likely at the moment that there are challenges being faced which require new skills. Fundraising continues to be a challenge needing novel approaches and grants may not be as easy to come by. This means more time is needed to identify sources, future direction and also strategy may need a complete rethink. There is a need for trustees that can rethink the plan and implement quick changes. As noted in my last blog, short term gaps might be filled by buying in services, but long term gaps should be more efficiently filed by obtaining new trustees.
But where should a charity look to seek the new skills they need?
One place that might work is the contacts and connections of existing board members. LinkedIn can assist greatly here – anecdotally there is a suggestion that post-pandemic, there is a spirit of wanting to help and a good source to find suitable candidates to help.
In a similar vein, asking the charities current professional advisers for any recommendations may also prove useful. If the advisers have been helping with short-term gaps, they will be in an ideal place to know exactly what is needed and potentially give the charity some really good recommendations.
Social media is another source. Most charities have a Facebook page and advertising on this may reach suitable candidates. One key advantage of this method is that the audience will often be very passionate about the charity and potentially be very knowledgeable about the aims and the challenges faced already.
But what if these don’t yield any results? Is there anywhere a charity can turn to for professional help in enlisting trustees? Well yes actually there is! There are a number of websites which can be used for advertising roles. A quick Google search will provide a number of these which can be approached and used to place a role advert. If this is the chosen route, some time spent reviewing roles for some of the larger and more well-known charities might be a useful thing to do in order to see how best to set out the role, describe the skills needed and how to set out the charity in a way that would attract the most suitable candidates.
Having found suitable candidates, the current board must ensure that all efforts are given to making sure the candidates are the best person for the role. I will repeat a link to some advice on selecting potential trustees from my last blog here. There is also good guidance on what the roles of trustees are in the Charity Commissions website here and these are a must review guide for any board looking to hire right now.
The next step
Your usual adviser will be more than happy to assist you if you have any further questions or queries.