I delivered a training course for GAVCA on Wednesday this week entitled “10 Top Tips for an effective Board”. I identified the 10 tips from my experience as a trustee and from talking to CEOs.

The Charity Commission, identify an effective board as one of their Six Hallmarks that delivers quality outcomes for its beneficiaries. So an effective board matters.

NCVO, ACEVO, SCC, ICSA & WCVA have collaborated to create a very helpful Code of Good Governance which I used on the training course to provide a framework for the training event.

As I talk to people in the Voluntary and Community Sector, both locally in Gloucestershire but nationally as well, I have observed that it is increasingly hard running a charity, and weariness is a common characteristic of the sector. My first three top tips relate to these observations and are about ‘attitude’ and ‘balance’.

My 10 Top Tips for an effective board

  • #1. Remember trustees are volunteers, so thank them and recognise they have other commitments in their lives
  • #2. Be optimistic, but realistic
  • #3. Have mutual trust and respect, support one another but be prepared to challenge
  • #4. Provide good induction to your trustees
  • #5. Know what you are taking on – have a clear understanding of your role and responsibilities as a trustee
  • #6. Remember that the trustees govern, not the CEO
  • #7. Believe in the mission but don’t be too emotionally involved
  • #8. Spend time trying to find good trustees, with an appropriate mix of skills, to recommend co-option to the board rather than leaving it to chance
  • #9. Have access to timely and relevant information, and the time to read and consider it
  • #10. Make clear and timely decisions, and let the CEO get on with delivery

Those attending the course came up with a Bonus Top Tip

  • Get someone to act as secretary to the Board and don’t use the CEO.

Finally, a very useful resource is the Charities Evaluation Services quality standard, PQASSO. I am a licensed PQASSO mentor so if you are interested in using PQASSO please get in touch.

What is your experience? Do you have any top tips?