Trustees & Governance - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Trustee?
Trustees serve on the governing body (Board) of a charity and are responsible for directing the management and administration of the charity. They have a wide range of duties and are responsible for making the charity effective, providing overall direction and maintaining sound management of funds. Being a Trustee can be hard work but it can also be rewarding, giving many opportunities for personal development and the chance to give something back to their community.

Q: Can anyone be a Trustee?
Most people over 18 can be Trustees. There are some exceptions: where a person has been convicted of an offence involving deception, an undischarged bankrupt or someone who has previously been removed as a Trustee.

Q: What does a Board of Trustees do?
A board is the group that ensures a charity or voluntary organisation:

  • Has a clear set of goals, strategy or vision
  • Is making sure the action to achieve those goals is being taken
  • Meets its legal and financial obligations

Boards may also be called management committees, a council of management or board of directors.

Q: How many trustees do we need on our board?
As a minimum, your charity should have 3 trustees. There is no upper limit to the number of trustees you can have, but having too many may make it difficult to make decisions. Ultimately, the number of trustees should reflect the skills and diversity required to lead your organisation effectively.

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