This week commencing 13th November is #trusteeweek and I thought that rather than write a technical article about the rules and regulations, I would instead write about what being a trustee has meant to me and done for me. I had the honour to serve as a Governor of a large educational establishment for the best part of 13 years including a stint on the audit committee. I have in turn been a trustee of a very small local charity for over 20 years and next year I will be taking on a couple of new appointments.Why do I do it?
Well it certainly not for the money as they don't pay most trustees and the fame has escaped me (as fortunately any notoriety too!) so what is the benefit?
Well it has given me confidence in my dealing with the world at large as it opened up a whole new group of people to interact with from a completely different background. They helped me broaden my experience which in turn, helped to make me a more rounded character. It taught me patience (a great deal of it), as suddenly I was operating in an environment where the answers were never easy and often frustatingly just out of reach.It taught me about teamwork, as trustees cannot operate as individuals but need to use everyone's skills for the benefit of the whole. It taught me flexibility, as I rapidly learned there was often more than one way to reach the answer. And it taught me humility, because so many times when you are feeling sorry for yourself you find the people you are there to help have it so much worse than you do, yet they overcome so many obstacles to achieve their goals.
And that really is the point! There is so much satisfaction in playing a small part in making peoples life better. When you are there to give the prizes at an awards ceremony and you find out what the student has overcome to achieve the award and all the pleasure their teacher has in the success of the student, all those hours attending meetings and committees and reading briefing papers which are part and parcel of being a trustee become so much more worthwhile.
So when I stand up in front of a group of trustees and frighten them with all the things that technically could happen and they have to be aware of, I always finish by reminding them that there are only problems when people do stupid things and fail to use common sense. For all the individual bad news stories like KIDS Company there are 100's of good stories that never see the light of day because hundreds of thousands of trustees do their job properly and make a significant and positive difference to millions of people who need your help. So come on and take the plunge! Become a trustee and experience the joy of making a difference.