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Trustees' Week Blog #5 - What is a Charity Trustee and how do I become one?

Welcome to Trustees' Week, now in its 12th year! There are over 250,000 trustees in Scotland who guide the work of our vibrant voluntary sector.

Throughout this week, we're featuring daily blogs by Abi Clarke, our Development Officer, who has based her blog topics from conversations with various organisations across Moray over the last 6 months.

Read Abi's fifth and final blog below.


Currently, there are over 100,000 charity trustee vacancies across the United Kingdom.

That may seem quite overwhelming if you are new to all of this; however, if you are keen to give back to an organisation or to your community, this a great way for you to do so as well as gaining new experience, skills and growing your network of contacts.

A trustee is a volunteer; a volunteer who is part of a team, leading a charity and ensuring it achieves what it was set up to do – this means trustees make sure that a charity is meeting its vision, mission and objectives within their governing documents.

A trustee uses their skill, knowledge and experience to support a charity they are passionate about to achieve their aims. A trustee can have several titles including director, committee member or a governor.

It's a good idea to check you are eligible to be a trustee first. You must be at least 16 years old to be a trustee of a charity or charitable incorporated organisation.

As well as this, you must not act as a trustee if you are disqualified unless authorised to do so by an appeal or waiver from the Commission. The reasons for being disqualified including: being bankrupt, having an unspent convictions for certain offences and being on the sex offenders register. More information can be found on this link.

According to the UK Government website, there are 6 main duties of a trustee:

1) Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit - by ensuring you understand the charity’s purpose as set out in the governing document, plan what your charity will do, explain how all the charities activities are intended to support its purposes and understand how the charity benefits the public.

2) Comply with the law and the charity’s governing document - by ensuring that the charity complies with its constitution and comply with charity low requirement any other relevant laws that apply to your charity.

3) Act in your charity’s best interests - by doing what you and co-trustees decide will best enable the charity to carry out its purposes, make balanced and adequately informed decisions, avoid putting yourself in a position where your duty to your charity conflicts with your personal interests, not receive any benefit for the charity unless its properly authorised and is clearly in the charity’s interests.

4) Manage your charity’s resources responsibly - by ensuring assets are only used to support or carry out its purposes, not over commit the charity and comply with any restrictions on spending funds.

5) Act with reasonable care and skill - by making use of your skill, experience and taking appropriate advice when necessary and give enough time, thought and energy to your role.

6) Ensure your charity is accountable - by being able to demonstrate that your charity is complying with the law, ensure appropriate accountability to members and ensure accountability within the charity.

You can find out more information and training courses for supporting in your role as a trustee through this link.

If you are looking for local opportunity as a trustee, please check the tsiMORAY Hotlist below.

Trustees' Week Hotlist (A4 Document)
Download PDF • 428KB

And if you ever have any questions about your board or governance, just send me an email:

Thank you for reading!


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