FAQs for trustees

For all questions concerning what a trustee is, why people become trustees, who can be a trustee, the skills needed and the time commitment required see our guide to being a charity trustee.

Are there any legal issues I need to know about?

Being a charity trustee carries legal responsibilities which should be understood before taking up a position.

It is worth taking some time to understand these duties and to find out the specific situation at the organisation you are considering joining. If a charity is also a company limited by guarantee then the liabilities of a trustee, for example, are different.

Trustees are not expected to be experts in every area, even with the collective skills and experience of the board overall.  They are expected to use reasonable care in their role as trustees applying their skills and experience and involving professionals where needed.  Read more about your legal duties as a trustee, in our guide to trustees' responsibilities and liabilities (PDF, 96KB) written by Russell Cooke LLP.

The Charity Commission also offers information and advice on both best practice and legal requirements.

How likely am I to find a role through TrusteeWorks?

We place  hundreds of volunteers every year so your chances of success are pretty high. However , it can take some time to find the right match. It is important that you explore any questions or doubts thoroughly before committing to join a board. And don’t be downhearted if your first application is turned down. Charities do turn down applicants – sometimes because they feel that someone else offers a better fit, sometimes because they do not fully understand what the candidate offers. Make sure that you have explained how your skills are transferable! 

What is the process that I will go through to find a trustee role?

To find a trustee role, you will need to register with us as a skilled volunteer. To find out more, read How to register and apply in our volunteer section.

How and when do I commit to an organisation?

Treat the application stage as a process of exploration. Do your research – visit the organisation’s website and entry on the charity commission.  You will want to meet up with a senior staff member and the Chair of the organisation and you will probably want to meet up with some of the other trustees as well. There may be a formal recruitment process or a series of informal meetings. This will depend on the organisation. There is no need to commit until you are happy that the organisation is right for you.

Explore our useful resources for trustees.