November 1-5 marks a week of celebration of the 250,000 trustees across Scotland who all make a difference in our communities for Trustees' Week. At SCVO we’re starting off the week with a Rise and Shine Webinar which will focus on the fantastic finalists from the Trustee of the Year category of the Scottish Charity Awards. The session will showcase the amazing work these remarkable individuals have done over the last twelve months, a year unlike any other, and the lessons they learned along the way.

We know that an effective board needs strong teamwork and a mix of skills and experience to ensure good governance. But what individual qualities make a good trustee? Here are five that are crucial:

  1. Commitment

A good trustee needs to be fully committed to their organisation’s purpose and beneficiaries. But not only that, they need to give the time and dedication to the role to ensure they make a positive difference.

2. Challenge

A good trustee should be willing to have an informed debate at meetings and make well thought out decisions. They’re there to ask important and sometimes difficult questions, to scrutinise and to challenge.


A good trustee should be open in their governance to protect the reputation of their organisation. They should also be open to the voices of their stakeholders and actively listen to their views.

4. Collective

A good trustee needs to be a team player who works with other board members to advance the best interests of the organisation and its beneficiaries, and their collective responsibility in decision making and governance.

5. Curious

A good trustee should be curious, not just about the work of their organisation, but also about their role and responsibilities. They don’t have to be an expert in all areas of governance, but they do need to know where the gaps lie and get the support and training to fill them.

This is not an exhaustive list, and I’m sure you can think of many other qualities you need to be a good trustee. Why notjoin us next Monday and hear what our inspiring Trustee of the Year finalists think, and contribute your own thoughts. They’ll discuss how they became a trustee, and what they find most rewarding, and most challenging, about the role.