Preparing for trustee recruitment

Successful trustee recruitment depends as much on preparation as on interviews and induction. Follow these steps to prepare for trustee recruitment.

First, plan the recruitment process including:

  • a timetable, including the closing date for applications and date(s) for interviews
  • who is going to be involved and what they need to do
  • what budget is available to support the process.

Identify skills and experience

Carry out a skills audit (if you haven’t done one recently) to determine gaps in the skills and experience within your board, bearing in mind what you may be losing if a trustee is leaving. Also identify any skills you will need to carry out any known plans for the future.

Consider the diversity of your board. Is it broadly representative of the community, users and members your organisation serves?  A board will be more effective if it understands the needs and wishes of the charity’s staff and the people who benefit from its services. In addition, having trustees with a mix of backgrounds, approaches and perspectives is proven to lead to better decision-making.

Use this to determine what you are looking for in a candidate, including skills, experience and background, and split your requirements into what is essential and what is desirable. Agree this with the board from the outset to reduce the chances of disagreement later on. 

Create an information pack

Create an information pack for applicants that includes:

  • a summary of the role (feel free to adapt our model role descriptionsin the resources section below )
  • a list of any specific skills and experience you are looking for
  • an overview of the organisation and its priorities for the next two to five years
  • details of how to apply for the role and how the appointments process will work.

At the same time, you can start to prepare an induction pack for the successful candidate (See below for details.)

Final checks

Before advertising the vacancy, check any legal restrictions, such as limits on the number of trustees, the process for nomination and terms of office, and ensure you are aware of any restrictions on who can and cannot be a trustee. Also ensure you have a process for responding to all applications and any queries from potential applicants – a speedy response will help you to ‘sell’ your vacancy (and it is a condition of using our service that you reply within five working days).

More in this guide

Recruiting and retaining trustees

Every charity can build a strong board if it invests time and effort in recruitment and retention.This guide will take you through the process step by step.

The recruitment process

How to recruit trustees: listing your vacancy, references and interview questions.

How to complete a skills audit

A complete guide to a charity board of trustees skills audit: including when and how to do one, and a skills audit template.

Resources

Model role description chair of the board
This is a generic description that you can adapt to the needs your particular board.
194.56 KB
Model role description treasurer
This is a generic description that you can adapt to the needs your particular board.
194.7 KB
Model role description digital trustee
This is a generic description that you can adapt to the needs your particular board.
194.39 KB
Model role description HR trustee
This is a generic description that you can adapt to the needs your particular board.
194.62 KB
Model role description marketing, communications, public relations trustee
This is a generic description that you can adapt to the needs your particular board.
194.64 KB