Being a trustee - a professionally and personally rewarding experience

Being a trustee might not be suited to everyone, but I am pretty certain there are many, many more people who would gain from the experience than currently get involved. And there are certainly many organisations that would benefit from the skills that volunteer trustees can bring.

My interest in volunteering started in what is probably a fairly traditional way: first the Parent Teacher Association and then Governor at my children’s schools. I quickly realised that I really could make a huge difference, not only by raising money, but also by supporting the senior teams with strong governance, guidance and challenge.

My children may both now have left school far behind, but I have continued to volunteer.  It gives me so much in return, why wouldn’t I? Whether it’s a new playground for children; the opening of a new theatre with a community play; the award of Technology status to a school or the involvement of company employees in raising money for special causes … whatever the volunteering opportunity, the reward far outweighs the effort.

And that’s what is so exciting about being a trustee for TimeBank. Here is an organisation which lives and breathes volunteering and which is making a truly significant difference to some of the UK’s most complex social problems. Projects such as Talking Together which offers informal spoken language training and mentoring support to long-term UK residents who have little or no knowledge of English; and The Switch which matches volunteer mentors with young people who are living with mental health issues like depression, anxiety or self-harm. Personally, I am really interested in the work TimeBank does to encourage Employee Volunteering and the Leaders Together project which matches leaders from small charities, social enterprises and community groups with senior professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds in London.

As a trustee of TimeBank I can use the skills that I have developed in my corporate life to support the aims of the charity. I get to work with other people who are similarly passionate about volunteering, but from whom I can learn a huge amount professionally. We are bound together by this passion, but we come from many different backgrounds and walks of life and all contribute to the success of the charity. This is not mere ‘do-gooding’. This is working at a highly professional level as part of a senior decision making team; in many ways similar to being a non-Executive Director of a corporate company. Whether it’s decision-making at board meetings; assisting with fundraising strategies; supporting the CEO and her team at TimeBank events; it is a professionally and personally rewarding experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough.