Governance, Trustees

Why I became a trustee

Phyllida Perrett, DSC Trustee, talks about her trustee journey, motivations and experiences.

My trustee journey

I became a trustee in 2011 at Hill Holt Wood in Lincolnshire because I wanted to help make a difference to vulnerable young people and adults who are their key focus. I knew that volunteering to support people face-to-face wasn’t where my strengths lay, but I did have wide experience of business development, raising funding through bidding, and knowledge about Ofsted and key regulations that Hill Holt Wood had to abide by so I felt becoming a trustee was the best way I could help. And it was. I had a very intense and enjoyable six years on their Board. From a personal development perspective, I also wanted to gain experience at board level too and I learnt a huge amount while I was there. I wanted to make sure that I was a really useful trustee, so I started a Masters at Cass Business School in Charity Leadership and Finance and became knowledgeable about a wide range of areas in which to bring insight and expertise to the charity.

Having introduced a maximum of two x three year terms into the charity’s governing documents, I left after six years and joined Directory of Social Change. I knew DSC’s work already having personally undertaken training with them and booking training for one of my team too. I believe society needs its charities and social enterprises to be strong, trustworthy and succeed in their mission. DSC values, vision and mission strongly appealed to me and so I was very honoured when I was appointed to their Board. I am in my fourth year with DSC and have learnt so much from my fellow trustees, the Chief Executive and the wonderful team there.

I highly recommend becoming a trustee because: you can make a positive difference to the way our world works; because it’s amazing how much you learn; because it’s good for your CV and because you get to work closely with other committed individuals. You need to put aside time to understand the charity, read through all the board papers (highlighting anything you don’t understand or you want to query) and go to every board meeting and away day you can. You need to be prepared to ask what might seem, obvious questions at the meetings because it is your responsibility to make sure the charity is functioning to the best of its abilities and is meeting it’s charitable objectives and abiding by charity rules and regulations. Finally choose a charity which accords with your own values and whose mission and vision are close to your heart.


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