Charities must do more to promote diversity on their boards


Charities must do more to promote diversity on their board, according to a new report.

The research recommends that charities do more to promote diversity on their boards and encourage applications from women, young people and people from ethnic minority and socially diverse backgrounds.

The report, commissioned by the Office for Civil Society and the Charity Commission, found that men outnumber women trustees on boards by two to one. The majority (92 per cent) of trustees are white, older and above average income and education.

The research also found that charity trustees, who are overwhelmingly volunteers, feel positively about their role and about the personal reward and satisfaction it gives them.

It also highlights that trustees’ contribution to charities amounts to a monetary equivalent of around £3.5 billion a year.

Helen Stephenson, the Commission’s chief executive said, “Trustees make a vital contribution to our society and communities up and down the country rely on their voluntary efforts.”

“It is heartening that, despite the demands on their time and expertise, trustees are overwhelmingly positive about their role.”

“But there is no room for complacency about the state of trusteeship.”

“Trustees do not reflect the communities charities serve.”

“Charities are therefore at risk of missing out on the widest range of skills, experience and perspective at board level – indeed trustees themselves report lacking in key skill areas, including digital.”

“Uniformity at board level also puts charities at risk by creating a culture of “group think” where decision making can go unchallenged – something our casework bears out.”

“Diversity of experience, approach and personality helps guard against such problems and enables any organisation to foster a culture that is conducive to good governance.”

“I welcome this extensive and rigorous research and hope its findings act as a catalyst for action by charities to promote diverse trusteeship, and to better support existing trustees in their work.”

“Trustees tell us that they enjoy their roles and I want more people from different backgrounds to benefit from this experience.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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