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Recruiting charity trustees – top tips for crafting a successful recruitment ad

Written by: Kristina Kopic, Head of Charity and Voluntary Sector
Published on: 5 Mar 2024

Recruiting trustees is a crucial task for charities, as board members play a pivotal role in guiding the organisation, shaping its strategy and ensuring its mission is fulfilled effectively. However, many charities are hampered by board vacancies, so it’s never been more important to make your advertised role stand out from the crowd.

To attract the right candidates, it's essential to create a compelling recruitment ad that not only outlines the responsibilities of the role but also highlights the unique opportunities and rewards of serving as a trustee. I have reviewed the roles that attracted the highest number of applications on our ‘voluntary job site’ ICAEW Volunteers in 2023, and here are my five top tips for crafting a successful trustee recruitment ad.

  1. Clearly define the role and responsibilities: The most popular ads on ICAEW Volunteers define the role in more detail, for example with a title of ‘Trustee and Chair of the Finance Committee’. Ensure that the recruitment ad provides a clear overview of what your charity’s specific trustee role entails, including the time commitment, and expectations associated with the role. If your charity is looking for a trustee with specific work experience, don’t be afraid to spell it out. By clearly defining the role, you will find it easier to attract candidates who possess the skills, experience and commitment needed for the role.
  2. Highlight the impact and mission of the charity: While many ICAEW members are motivated by their desire to use their financial skills for good, most will choose a charity because they resonate with the cause. It’s therefore important that the recruitment ad emphasises the work and impact of the charity. Candidates are more likely to be drawn to organisations whose values align with their own and whose work they feel passionate about. It's essential to showcase the difference the charity makes as well as the opportunities for trustees to contribute to its success.
  3. Seek diversity and inclusion: Diversity on a charity's board of trustees brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and skills that can enrich decision-making and drive innovation. When crafting recruitment ads, charities should actively seek to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented communities. Emphasise the importance of diversity and inclusion in the recruitment ad and encourage candidates from all walks of life to apply.
  4. Use positive, inviting language and images: The most popular ads on ICAEW Volunteers include the charity’s logo, use positive and welcoming language and are easy to read. Using subtitles and bullet points makes it easier to absorb key information quickly. If possible, offer a conversation with the charity’s Chair or CEO. Also, let candidates know what training and guidance they can expect to receive, especially if you welcome applications from individuals without prior trustee experience.
  5. Provide clear instructions for applying: Finally, ensure that the recruitment ad provides clear instructions for candidates interested in applying for the trustee role. Include details on how to apply, any required documents or information, the deadline for submissions and when interviews will take place.

By following these top tips, your charity will have a greater chance of attracting trustees with the right skills and attitude, and who add to the board’s diversity. Good luck!