Trustees’ Week 2023, "Many voices, Working together, With purpose"
Welcome to Trustees’ Week 2023. This week is a time for the sector to come together, and to acknowledge the contribution of our nearly one million trustees across the UK. It is an opportunity to connect with one another, to share experiences and develop skills through the range of events, training and guidance that is available.
You can follow @TrusteesWeek on Twitter for updates or visit www.trusteesweek.org to learn more.
What is the theme of this year’s Trustees’ Week?
Many voices. Working together. With purpose. This year we are going to celebrate the huge impact that charities and not for profit organisations have on society and the dedication of our trustees. The week is focused on celebrating the individual talents, viewpoints and experiences that each trustee brings to their board, how diversity can help make a charity stronger, and how we can work together to form an even stronger sector.
What are you planning during Trustee Week?
Here are some suggestions:
- Refresh your knowledge with the Charity Commission’s “5-minute guides for trustees”
- Attend an event (see the websites of Third Sector Support Wales or Trustees’ Week for a range of online events)
- Take time to thank your current trustees for their tireless (and usually unpaid) work.
Geldards LLP will be contributing to Trustees’ Week by bringing you brief legal and sector updates each day.
For our contribution today, we would like to highlight the potential benefits of working together through collaboration.
What is collaboration and how can your Charity benefit?
Collaboration describes joint working by two or more organisations to better fulfil their purposes, while remaining as separate organisations. Collaboration can relate to any aspect of your charity’s activities: administration; fundraising; campaigning or service delivery. It can be as simple as borrowing or lending equipment, forming networking groups, having joint training, or sharing information or expertise.
You can also consider formal, long-term collaborations, which could include high profile fundraising events, sharing office services, joint employment of staff, or working on building projects together.
What is the Charity Commission’s view on Collaboration?
The Charity Commission encourages charities to regularly and creatively explore ways to better serve their beneficiaries through collaboration with other organisations. The ultimate aim of any charity must be to provide the best services for those they help. Collaboration can lead to improved organisational effectiveness, reduced duplication, better use of resources and more value for money.
So what key questions should you ask yourselves before moving towards any collaboration?
- How can we better meet the needs of our charity and its beneficiaries by working with others?
- How will potential partners be identified? Do we already have an existing relationship with them?
- Is the proposed partner charity(s) compatible with us in terms of its objects, culture, governance arrangements, organisational structures and funding base?
- What are the reasons for collaborating?
- What will or might our charity gain and lose from collaborating? Have we considered the wider impacts on our charity?
- Do we plan to approach stakeholders for their views, particularly service users?
- Does the collaboration further our charitable purposes? Is it an appropriate use of charitable funds? Is any private benefit incidental?
- Are there significant reputational or financial risks? If yes, are we carrying out a due diligence exercise?
Food for thought?
Collaborating has advantages and disadvantages. Charities should spend time and effort in the early stages to clarify the purpose and goals of the collaboration. You should keep the issue and the desired outcomes central to any discussion and at the forefront of any planning.
There are lots of resources available if this is something that you think that your charity should consider, many of which are listed in the Charity Commission guidance on collaboration which can be found on its website called “Choosing to collaborate: helping you succeed”. This is a good place to start understanding the process. You can assess if it’s suitable for your organisation and also determine what the possible risks are.
During Trustees’ Week, consider whether your charity could enhance its services by collaborating with other organisations. Additionally, assess whether you can improve any aspects of your work by collaborating with others.