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Volunteering as a Charity Trustee

Personal development and a chance to shape the future direction of charities

There are over 180,000 charities in England and Wales involved in wide ranging activities for the benefit of the public. Like all organisations, charities need a governing body or board to direct its strategy and activities and this is where the role of trustee fits in.

Becoming a trustee can be a challenging and stimulating experience and is often great fun. It can allow you to put your skills to use in a new environment and can offer you ways to develop new skills, particularly in team work and strategic management.

Responsibilities of trustees

Trustees may be known as directors, board members, governors or committee members of a charity. They are responsible for directing the activities of the charity, ensuring it remains solvent and well-managed and delivering the outcomes for which the charity was set up.

As a trustee, your responsibilities will include ensuring that the charity complies with all relevant laws and regulations, prepares Annual Reports and Accounts and uses its funds and assets reasonably for delivering the activities of the charity. Further information on the responsibilities and duties of Charity Trustees is available in the Charity Commission's Essential Trustee publication.


As a trustee, you will be expected to use your personal skills and experience as needed to ensure that the charity is well-run and efficient. You will also be expected to prepare for and attend trustee meetings and often other meetings and functions. Time commitment varies according to the size and activities of the charity. So, it is important that you find out what your responsibilities, duties and time commitment would be as a trustee. Many trustees of large charities devote 1 day a month to their role.

Interested in volunteering?

Many charities need more trustees. If you are interested in becoming a trustee, it is very important that you find a charity which inspires you but also one which has a board who you feel you can work with. You may want to visits a few charities before you make your decision, perhaps experiencing a few "taster" sessions and meeting the Chief Executive and Chair.

To help you find the right volunteering opportunity ICAEW and CABA have launched the volunteering website icaewvolunteers.com. On this website you can read about other members’ experience of volunteering; search for current volunteering roles; set up an alert to get the latest roles that match your criteria emailed directly to your inbox; or let organisations find you by uploading your profile.

Further information