Trustees’ Week is all about celebrating the work of an estimated 250,000 trustees across Scotland and the role they play in governing our charities and voluntary organisations.

Hosted by Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum there’s a packed programme of free online events between 1-5 November to support trustees with learning and development. At SCVO we’re starting the week nice and early at 9.30am with a Rise and Shine webinar where we’ll celebrate the finalists from the Trustee of the Year category of the Scottish Charity Awards. The session will showcase the amazing work they’ve done over the last 12 months, the lessons they learned along the way, and what they find most rewarding, and most challenging, about the role.

Following that SCVO will be running a series of events throughout the week that will focus on board recruitment and diversity. Sponsored by our partners CCLA, we’ll be focusing on this theme as effective boards need trustees with a wide mix of skills, experience, and backgrounds. Diversity in all its forms strengthens your decision making as a board, bringing new perspectives and informed voices. There’s also a strong business case for increased diversity with research from the corporate world revealing that the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform their less diverse peers on profitability.

But charity boards are less diverse than the general public, and tend not to reflect the communities they serve. According to Taken on Trust research by the Charity Commission in England and Wales only 8% of trustees are non-white, just 36% are women, and only 0.5% are aged 18-24. There’s no evidence to suggest the situation is any different in Scotland, and our sector is losing out on diverse talent, knowledge and experience which could affect decision making and future sustainability.

This lack of diversity on boards is made worse by most organisations recruiting trustees by word of mouth or personal recommendation. We’re hoping to change that with our webinar on Getting the Right Mix of Trustees This will look at a great new trustee recruitment tool, Reach Volunteering’s Trustee Recruitment Cycle which is designed to help boards recruit more effectively and inclusively. We’ll take you through the six stages you need to go through, from defining the mix of skills and experience you want to recruit for at the start, to interviewing, induction and evaluation at the end.

It can be hard to recruit trustees, and that’s where advertising widely can help. So we’re really excited to launch a special offer from goodmoves the sector’s recruitment one stop shop. Join us on Monday 1 November to find out more about how you can access free advertising to over 80,000 people looking for roles in the voluntary sector.

We think we know a lot of the questions around board diversity, but certainly don’t have all the answers and that’s why we want to give other organisations working in this space a platform. So we’re also hosting discussions on lived experience on boards and how trustees can champion board diversity later in Trustees Week. This will bring you up to date with new thinking, offer challenges and solutions, and highlight some great resources. Change is needed in our sector to ensure boards reflect the communities they serve, and we want to hear from you about your own trustee experience. Take a look at our programme of events and join us to celebrate Trustees Week 2021!