LETTER : How to find a good trustee

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The Independent Online
SMALLER charities do undoubtedly have trouble in finding suitable trustees but the reason is more likely to lie in their recruitment methods than in the lure of the quango shilling ("Charities suffer as trustees take quango shilling", Business, 28 May).

National Council for Voluntary Organisations research shows that the main reason why people become trustees is a commitment to the cause of the charity. Only 29 per cent even bother to reclaim expenses.

The pool of potential trustees is far from empty, as schemes such as Business on Board have demonstrated. But many people who would make excellent trustees do not get asked.

Most charities limit their research for new trustees to their members or the contacts of the existing trustees and staff. Those who have cast their net more widely, for example by advertising trustee vacancies or using one of the trustee registers, have been pleased by the response.

Charities must also pay more attention to supporting their trustees. The NCVO research showed that only a third of new trustees were offered any form of training, so it is hardly surprising that "the trustees have no great understanding of the affairs of the charity".

Kate Kirkland

Director of Charities Group

BDO Stoy Hayward

London W1

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