Non-Executive Director appointments & Charity Trustee roles in the voluntary sector are a way of giving something back by using your corporate skills for the benefit of others.
If one of your New Year resolutions for 2014 is to do more for charity and you are looking for new and different ways to develop your skills, becoming a non-executive director or trustee on a not-for-profit board, or charity could provide you with a unique opportunity and provide much needed support to the voluntary organisation.
More and more people with careers predominantly in the private sector are thinking about making a change, to do something different and are looking at public and voluntary sector roles. The not-for-profit or charity boards gain often much needed commercial expertise and the non-executive directors or trustees gain insights and knowledge from their involvement in the strategic and organisational development of an organisation.
These roles are generally unremunerated, though some do pay small fees and nearly all pay reasonable expenses - in most cases you will be giving much of your time for free and will be genuinely volunteering.
So, how do you go about getting a position with a not-for-profit or charity board?
The first step is to look around your network on LinkedIn or Facebook to see who else is doing this sort of work and contact them to find out more about what they are doing and to see if there are any vacancies coming up which may be of interest.
There are also a number of web-sites dedicated to filling these roles such as the following:
You might also want to identify local charities in your area - you can search the Charity Commission web-site below to get the contact details and then approach them directly
Competition for Non-Executive and Trustee positions in the public and voluntary sectors is fierce, however so it is wise to prepare yourself before making an application for a vacancy. Find out as much as you can about the organisation, what issues they are facing and who is already on the Board - often this information can be found on their web-sites.
It is also a good idea to talk to the Chair of the organisation informally if possible to see exactly what sort of skills they are looking for in a new NED or trustee.
You can also develop your knowledge of the role by enrolling on a Non-Executive Director training course such as the How to become a Non-Executive Director 1-day course from Excellencia - the legal duties and responsibilities of a company director are just as onerous on the board of a charity as they are in the private sector, some may say they are even more so - so it is good to be prepared!
There may also be other ways in which you can be involved with a charity as a volunteer which can lead to a Board position if you are not immediately successful with a NED or trustee application - the important thing is to get involved!