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Digital Trustees Scotland – learning how to recruit and become a digital trustee

By Sally Dyson on 6th Nov 2019

Trustees Week 2019 saw Third Sector Lab and SCVO Digital bring together charities and people working in digital industries to create greater understanding of how we practically get more digital folk on charity boards. Digital Trustees Scotland was part of the roadshow developed and championed by Ross of Third Sector Lab over the past eighteen months.

Learning from previous events we took delegates back to basics with Jude Turbyne – Head of Engagement at OSCR (Scotland’s Charity Regulator) giving a brilliant presentation outlining the hidden Superhero nature of those who get involved in the governance of charities. OSCR publishes some great guidance for those about to embark on this exciting journey.

For me, the key takeaways from Jude’s presentation were:

  • You’re never alone, trustees have a collective responsibility to ensure the charity is well run and this helps inspire public trust & confidence and protect reputation.
  • The charities governing document, constitution, rules everything. As long as you stick to it and review it fairly regularly, you’ll stay in good shape.
  • Comply with the Charities Act 2005. You don’t need to know it word for word, but the two key things are
  1. Ensure the charity always follows its purposes and the reason it’s been established, in everything that it does.
  2. Operate with care and diligence, with good decision making and a high standard of care that protects the reputation, asset beneficiaries, staff and volunteers.

Delegates were then set off on a journey of discovering the barriers that charities face in recruiting digital trustees and those faced by people wanting to be part of a charity. An interesting exploration that culminated in some interesting revelations, including:

  • Will I be expected to ‘build’ something?
  • How will I know what’s expected of me?
  • How do we make sure that all the other trustees are on board with changes that will come from someone with a digital background?
  • How do we know what the ‘right type’ of digital trustee is for us?

All issues that are very real and feel like ‘big’ hurdles. But can be solved by knowing where to look for reliable sources of information and having genuinely good conversations.

When we got into solutions mode the best piece of advice was around ‘affinity’. When choosing a charity to support, make sure that it’s something that you have a real passion for and when recruiting someone with digital skills – make sure you click.

If you know you’d like to be a Trustee, or are ready to recruit then Good Moves and Reach Volunteering are great places to look. If you need a little more information this infographic is a great resource. If you’d like to dip in and chat to other people around these issues #TrusteeHour takes place every month on twitter

If you’re a little less sure keep an eye out as there may well be more events near you next year as well as a dedicated online group.