Why I Became A Charity Trustee
Why I Became A Charity Trustee
Why did I become a trustee for SurvivorsUK in April 2010? It is a question I have asked myself when juggling babysitting and trying to get out of work early to attend meetings on time. Right here, right now I am quite clear it is for all the right reasons: I have had previous voluntary roles and I fancied taking a role that would be further outside my comfort zone than usual.
I wanted to see something of the strategic side of an organisation and I was considering maybe moving career and becoming a company secretary. I knew I would need some board experience and thought a charity would be a good place to start. (As it happens I have realised that I am very happy being a nurse.) It is a small charity with 3 staff and several councillors and telephone helpliners.
So why SurvivorsUK? The charity exists to support men who have been raped as adults or sexually abused as children. It also supports partners, friends and professionals of survivors.
I was attracted to the charity because I much of my day job is about child protection and I had not really considered the impact on adulthood. As I said earlier, it hasn’t always been easy to fit being a trustee into my hectic schedule. I have a full time job as a school nurse practice teacher that can be demanding at times. The most important role I have is as a mother to my seven year old son. I also need to make time to spend with my husband (not as easy as it sounds because he is even busier than me!) Of course I try to attend JCI when I am available too.
I am particularly interested in the Community Projects and I have attended various evening events that have caught my eye. In truth I doubt I would be a trustee without the support of my husband and mother in law who have both babysat for me when I had meetings to attend. My diary is the most important tool I have. Everything I plan has to go into it or it will certainly be forgotten. And I tend to accept I am unlikely to be able to do things within a short notice period.
We all have different styles of working and it is essential to know what works for you and what doesn’t. I have to be honest and upfront with everyone I am trying to work alongside. Sometimes I can’t get everything done in time. Sometimes I am caught short. But I am trying in a small way to make a difference. I may not be perfect but the drive to help and support is what keeps me going. And what have I learned from being a trustee? I started my role after a turbulent time for the organisation so we had to form our team which took several months. I began in a rather uncomfortable role as treasurer. I am happier now I am the secretary. I’ve enjoyed seeing how board meetings work.
It has been great to see things develop from a proposal to implementation. Having had the opportunity to see an organisation from a completely different perspective is a new experience for me. This is a grass roots organisation but I am not dealing with the grass roots level. I have had to consider in more depth how the external influences such as politics and financial environment will affect the organisation.
JCI London Member