The Benefits of becoming a Trustee
Trustees Matter to Communities
Becoming a trustee gives you the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the Not-For-Profit sector.
Not-For-Profits in Ireland play a vital part in tackling many of society's problems, they provide much needed services to vulnerable people and Communities, they protect the environment, undertake research, inform on policy and lobby for social change. Trustees have the ultimate responsible for Not-For-Profit's and therefore the role is very important to continue to have positive impact in Society.
The Benefits of Board Diversity
Not-For-Profit boards should include people with a mix of experience, skills, and perspectives. This ensures a broad representative of society, and leads to healthy debate around the board table ensuring robust decision making for the Not-For-Profit.
There are many parts to achieving diversity around the board table: age, experience, gender, ethnic diversity, as well as skills, ways of thinking, and competencies. Boardmatch promotes and encourages all aspects of diversity with an emphasis currently to encourage younger people to become trustees.
The Not-For-Profit sector needs YOU!
Ireland has over 29,000 Not-For-Profits, approx 10,000 of these are charities registered with the Charity Regulatory Authority. This equates to approx 188,500 trustees.
Ireland needs more people to understand that they can become a trustee too! Good governance encourages Not-For-Profits to have annual board renewal, this reinvigorates the board and gathers fresh new ways of thinking around the table. It keeps the board fresh and focused on the objectives of the Not-For-Profit.
Becoming a Trustee is Rewarding
Boardmatch encourages all individuals to "Play their Part". Becoming a trustee is a way to volunteer in an organised and strategic way which suits certain individuals. It is a unique way to challenge yourself while also giving back to society.
Through a trusteeship you:
Contribute to the development of a stronger Society
Develop your leadership skills
Strengthen new skills
Transfer essential skills from one sector to another
Increase your understanding of the board room environment
Strengthen Your Profile
A strong detailed profile will match you with the right board vacancies
To find the right board vacancy for you, it is important to take some time to think about the different types of Not-For-Profits in Ireland, which appeal to you, and where do you want to have impact in Society.
Ireland has a large and varied Not-For-Profit sector with over 29,000 organisations who operate in many areas; e.g. animals, health, rehabilitation, addiction, children, environment, advocacy, schools, etc.
*On your profile, choose as many areas of the Not-For-Profit interests so you can see relevant board vacancies for you.
The skills section is where you can choose your strengthens, what you feel you can offer a Not-For-Profit board.
Ensure that you only add skills to your profile that you feel you are experienced in and can share your knowledge with the rest of the board.
This will ensure that you will see board vacancies seeking the skills you are offering.
This is an opportunity to add more detail about yourself outside of a CV. Why do you want to become a trustee? What are your other interests? Do you have personal experience of a service? What do you do in your spare time?
All this information will strengthen your profile when engaging with a Not-For-Profit.
*Your Personal Bio is only visible to Not-For-Profits once you accept their contact request, or apply for a role.
Avril McDermott, Board Director, Cluid Housing
"Cluid develops and manages social housing for those on low incomes and has a large portfolio of 5000+ properties. Cluid Board Members come from diverse backgrounds, and I've found that every contribution is welcome and this in turn broadens the discussions. Understanding the controls for governance and the strategies required for growth is quite complicated, so you need to prepare well by reading all the material available, which is now accessed on-line v hard copy. It’s no easy ride, this is a professional organisation making a real impact and as a Board Member you need to be committed to give of your best. As a new member of Cluid Housing I'm still learning the ropes and definitely moving outside my comfort zone! I’d highly recommend the experience of NFP to both stretch yourself and to gain experience in a different business sector."
Siobhan O’Shea, Trustee, TeenLine Ireland, Client Services Director, Cpl Resources plc
"Taking on a board position was a goal I had long set for my professional growth. I am interested in pursuing further Board roles in the future, so it has been invaluable to gain this experience. Also, because of the work I do in Cpl I’m very aware of the struggle to shift the dial on female representation on boards – I felt it was the right time and opportunity to get off the fence myself!
To someone considering joining a charity board I would say ‘Go for it!’. You can make a profound difference to both the charity and to yourself.
I would also advise joining a charity that you feel a genuine connection to in light of the time commitment required – a belief in the charities’ purpose and values is key to staying the course.
It has been an excellent learning journey. The diversity of leadership, skills, energy, ideas and thinking adds great value not only to Teenline but to each other.
When I joined the board, it had been through a period of significant change. This change presented the opportunity to get involved in a broad variety of Board work from governance, strategy, operations and more that may not have presented had I joined a more established board.
Getting involved in a charity as a Trustee has been hugely rewarding on every level – I would highly recommend it".
Gerard O’Connor, Board Director, An Turas Jobstown Childcare Centre
"I first came across Boardmatch on the radio. I decided to join a NFP board as I have been privileged with my career in Dublin hospitals, and wished to return something to the community. The directorship was everything I thought it would be—and I was fully able to contribute my skills in relation to governance, risk, and quality. I have been on the board for 18 months, and am benefiting from new learning. I would certainly use the service again, and would recommend it to friends and co-workers."
Patrick Bolger, Board Director, CKU Centre for Counselling and Therapy
"I decided in early 2016 to volunteer my services as a board director to a not-for-profit organisation. In searching the Internet I came across Boardmatch and registered my details. Shortly afterwards I received a number of approaches and eventually decided upon CKU. My motivation was really based upon what they were looking for from a NED and my fit to that. To date, I hope and believe that I am a valuable addition to their board and am assisting them to “think outside of the box” as well of course as adding increasing professionalism to operations and management. I have gained a huge amount of satisfaction from this appointment and look forward to assisting CKU for many years to come."
Anne Cody, Board Director, Cairde
"I am working in the public funding of health research and have always had an interest in inequalities. In 2014 I also applied for Irish citizenship. As somebody with all the advantages (EU citizen, fluent English, well educated, well connected to Irish society and culture) I still found it hard on occasion to understand the process and the form – and I have designed many applications forms myself in my professional life. So, if I find it hard, how is somebody without all my advantages going to cope?
On Boardmatch’s register I found a position for Cairde, an organisation looking to reduce health inequalities for migrants. This really ticked all the boxes for me. I was slightly apprehensive in terms of the level of governance in place but was reassured quickly that this is a well-run organisation that I am more than happy to have my name associated with. I can bring my experience from a statutory agency into the NGO sector, and in return get a hugely rewarding perspective of the very important work done. We have recently worked through a number of items making us compliant with the Governance Code, an important exercise. In my professional life I interact with charities and having a good understanding of the perspective of a small charity has been highly useful."
Ray Woll PhD, Board Director, PACE Housing Association, Sarah Bird Foundation
"As a project leader for much of my career, I have to admit that I was always sceptical on the relevance of a board - who from the external seem only to attend periodic meetings and offer occasional gems of insight. Is there relevance to a board beyond corporate governance and regulations?
I initially joined one board with scepticism but am now a board director of several – as it was not until I experienced the passion and relevance of other board members that I awoke to the reality of the seriousness, responsibility, and privilege which the position entails.
It is the creative collaboration between a diverse mix of board members that brings the company in a positive direction which can impact upon the lives of those persons whom it serves. It requires mindful collaboration and cooperation between members.
I have learned how to make difficult decisions which impact others and how to manage these challenges. And with the service that board membership brings; I’ve met some fantastic people who have pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me a more capable person.
My advice is to become a board member, serve passionately for social change and achieve more personally and professionally than you thought possible."