It’s the end of the holidays, school goes back this week. That means I need to focus on recruiting one or two more trustees for York CVS – in time for our AGM on Wednesday 6 December. Thinking about how to promote this opportunity to the sector here in York, I came across this piece https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2015/nov/06/20-reasons-to-be-a-charity-trustee   Here the reasons come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but without a doubt, with an underpinning desire *to make a difference*, whatever that might mean to the individual.

Later I reflected that becoming a trustee is a very particular form of volunteering, probably best suited to particular stages of life. For me, my working life nearly behind me, it offers an opportunity to apply any wisdom I have gained to develop something I believe in, whilst continuing to learn, to be stretched and tested.

Theoretically I know about strategy, the need to consider what might be happening in our business in five years’ time, the value of taking well evaluated risks.  Applying this knowledge responsibly is the challenging bit, especially in our sector, with its constantly changing environment and ever decreasing resources.  Someone commented on our VCSE working world early in my time as Chair here “there is no money, we need to think” – what an opportunity.

However, if I had my time again, I would have become a trustee much earlier in my career, maybe in my 30s/40s. Then I knew a little about leadership, the realities of organisational behaviour, the need to think boldly whilst understanding the bottom line and I had lots of contemporary knowledge.  However I had much to learn. I suspect I recognised this but was easily diverted by the next big and interesting job.  Until  .. I noticed that Yorkshire Arts, the regional arts board in the days when we had money to spend, were interested in new members.   For me, theatre, dance and art – what could be better.  My life as a trustee had begun.  And the reality of that takes me to my last observation: you need real passion to get you through the inevitable paperwork, procedures and policies.

So, if you were to ask me what would my ideal candidate for the board of York CVS at this stage in our redevelopment look like, I’d say that it would be someone who

  • Is knowledgeable about or working at senior level in the sector here in York
  • Is digitally comfortable, and passionate about business development, as well as the sector
  • Relishes cross sector learning, challenge and cooperation
  • Asks hard questions, with care

Given the current composition of our board, personally I’d welcome interest from younger people who fall into the younger age band.  Ideally they would be concerned with the environment or place, young people and children, the arts and culture, housing and poverty, enterprise or education or the needs of particular groups.
If this appeals to you or might to someone you know, do contact me  at jane.hustwit@yorkcvs.org.uk.  I’d be delighted to hear from you and tell you more about the practicalities and opportunities.

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