Category Archives: trusteehour

Tips for hosting meetings online #Trusteehour

April 2020 #Trusteehour focused on ‘tips for hosting meetings online’. Here is a list of what came up:


  • If you’re the host (or planning to share your screen or anything like that), give yourself some time beforehand to test it out and get familiar with where everything is @TrusteeLeaders


  • Get participants to commit to some ground rules and expectations for the meeting @traceymbird1
  • Important to recognise the challenges of chairing a remote meeting @traceymbird1
  • Important to check you’ve got the necessary quorum to proceed and remember to accurately record actions and circulate minutes quickly afterwards @traceymbird1
  • Doing a quick check in round the room can help trustees get into the same headspace and check everyone’s audio is clear (the ’round robin’) @johnfitzg


  • Ask questions in the comment box – the chair can read these out or can invite the person to speak. This could bring about a more inclusive meeting style. @weavermiles
  • Encourage participants to use the ‘raise hand’ function if you want to come in (ensuring mics muted at the start) @weavermiles
  • long meetings: a big shout-out for scheduled comfort and coffee breaks! ☕️ @CEO-CarnegieUK
  • Remember videoconferencing is extra tiring @MairWCVA (due to it being unusual in terms of reading body language and feeling like you need to be super alert @TrusteeLeaders)
  • Note: Zoom and Webex allow 40+ faces to be seen. Teams seems to allow 4 (MS say ‘9’ and that this is a priority). This seems to be popular with Zoom.

Running a good meeting:

  • Nominating a ‘tech steward’ to mute/unmute and liaise with folk having tech issues helps the chair focus on the meeting @johnfitzg
  • Well-structured and clear agenda, shared with everyone in advance. Good, confident facilitation has worked well too @CEO-CarnegieUK
  • Important to allow some time for a chat at the start and end. There are always technical difficulties (less so now). We are social creatures and many will miss this interaction. @weavermiles

When things go or can go wrong:

  • No one wants to replicate the “zooming-from-the-toilet” moment… @TrusteeLeaders
  • Make sure the resident teenager doesn’t barge into the room with ‘sick music’ blasting out the phone mid webinar.  That was last week.  @ian_mcl
  • It’s more the unexpected entrance of children in swimming costumes or the noise of a tantrum for me @TrusteeLeaders
  • I do prefer to see people, personally, but it’s also quite distracting! Especially when I keep spotting my own feed and seeing that I’m not actually looking at the camera! @TrusteeLeaders

Other Advice and caution:

  • On suitable attire: Afraid so – have had to maintain a routine for on-line meetings in the same way I would for meetings face to face, so up, dressed, makeup (obviously!), favourite earrings, squirt of perfume (I know!) and ……wait for it…………fluffy socks! @traceymccillen
  • Buy a data cable for a better connection (don’t rely on wi-fi) – I did this and now everything is running lovely and fast @weavermiles
  • Show some good humour and understanding in these times, we did not expect to be working from home. Home schooling … dog barking and views from the kitchen table etc., @weavermiles

Note: These were compiled during #Trusteehour and placed into likely categories. No other sorting has been done and note that these are the tweets of #Trusteehour contributors.

Fundraising tips for trustees | Summary of Feb #trusteehour 2019

 discussed fundraising tips for trustees after  (Feb, 2019). We thank @HIVScotland for sharing the Institute of Fundraising free Trustees and Fundraising guidance, produced in partnership with CFG, NCVO and ACEVO. This includes a handbook, powerpoint presentation, ten top tips, blog and the below animation.  It is not worth repeating the top ten tips here, please view them directly on the IoF website here.

OSCR also has some excellent advice on its website, covering regulation, rules, Scottish charity law and handling complaints.

Other than the general guidance available we considered the potential of a ‘Fundraising Trustee’ role. This was seen as positive and many suggestions were made on how best to get value out of trustees with fundraising experience and interest. Plus, the recognition that all trustees have collective responsibility for fundraising.

The next  will take place on Tues 26th March, 8-9pm on the theme ‘Fraud and cyber-crime – what trustees need to know.’

reflecting on #trusteehour 12 ‘Should charity trustees be paid, or should the role remain voluntary?’

 12 took place in November, with a theme selected by students – ‘Should charity trustees be paid, or should the role remain voluntary?’

 kicked off the hour with a poll on the question posed. 86% of participants agreed that the role should remain voluntary which dominated the conversation with some thoughts on the influence of rumuneration and whether this would attract different voices into the sector. @BCharitable also provided a useful context to the discussion by recognising the professionalism of the sector and that the contribution of trustees should be recognised, encouraged and supported. 

There were a number of threads/points raised:

  • whether rumuneration would attract more younger trustees  ( or even attract trustees with a genuine interest in the cause and desire to drive the organisation forward (
  • (unpaid) board with all the legal duties & risk and (paid) executives without directly the same duties & risk @BCharitable
  • different dynamics between the CEO and the relationships with the rest of the board 

There were many comments that training should be mandatory to improve standards of governance (@Menai_OJ) and removing of barriers such as travel and other expenses being made available without stigma (). @Sus_Hunter20 also noted that timing for meetings is important so that trustees that are in work (comment made in the context of #youngtrustees) don’t lose income or have to take leave to attend. suggested that it is important to promote the positive impact that  involvement can have on an individual as well as an organisation.

Maybe making training mandatory when taking up the role of #trustee would help standards of governance, instead of paying trustees. I suppose the question is, what are we trying to achieve by paying trustees? #trusteehour

— Menai Owen-Jones (@Menai_OJ) October 17, 2018

@maltdub posed a very interesting thought that aroused some debate:

@weavermiles saw the merit in the principle but commented that you need to be paying tax for this model to work. Yet we want more young people, to attract all earning levels and of course, the majority of the trustees are retired.

A key theme that re-occurs each month is the need for training and a good induction:

One way of supporting this is to encourage more organisations to have a policy on volunteering and talking up #SkilledVolunteering. Trusteeship being the ultimate of skilled volunteering?  supported this by suggesting that corporates can do more to allow time to support volunteering. Effectively, the worker is paid but can gain new skills and experiences too in the form of a trusteeship. 

Another suggestion focused around a unitary board model, like the ones seen in the corporate world. This would mean the trustees would act in the same way as the non-executive directors.

Let’s finish on a positive note: #reachout. @YLSSarahRobbo did and she was pleasantly surprised with the responses that she received:

Next on Tue 13th Nov 7-8pm is a special collaboration with looking at what trustees need to know and do about Safeguarding.

Guest blog by @juliekhutchison – reflecting on #trusteehour 9: looking at charity sub-committees

With over 3,500 views, our July #trusteehour looked at charity sub-committees, and the ups and downs shared by followers online.  It looks like some of you really value the blog to bring together the contributions into one summary – thanks for getting in touch @JanineEEdwards


Charity sub-committees can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Whether it’s Finance, Fundraising, Nominations, HR or Audit, there are plenty of examples of boards delegating to smaller working groups.  Are these committees always effective?  @sallyld drew out a few examples of what can make a committee worthwhile:

@sallyld replying to @trusteehour

Ah sub committees. They can be brilliant with a tight remit, clear reporting structures and a clear review process. Otherwise steer well clear (in my opinion). 

Committees can be a necessary way to focus on delivery of the board’s strategy and objectives, as @ian_mcl points out – a board does not have time to get into the detail of everything, and needs to find mechanisms to support delivery and oversight:

@Ian_mcl replying to @TrusteeLeaders @trusteehour

4 board meetings pa for 3 hrs is 12 hours a year to do everything. Create work plan and delegate spadework to cttees to get coverage without having too many. Driven by board objectives. 

However, there were some examples of poor time management, which raises questions about how meetings are being chaired:


And Ian wasn’t alone in that experience.

We returned to the theme of the importance of a tight remit, and the way things can become inefficient if not handled well:

julie 9.png

Another angle we drew attention to was the opportunity offered by a committee role, as a first experience of charity governance, or a means to share your expertise without the full commitment of a trustee role.  A number of charties do co-opt external members.  External members can share their expertise on whichever sub-committee they sit, although don’t attend board meetings and are usually not trustees.

We would like to encourage more charities to consider co-opting new members onto their sub-committees.  This could be a win-win.  A great way for someone new to charity governance to gain some first experience and volunteer in a way which is less onerous than a full board role.  It enables them to get to know a charity, where later they may consider a trustee role when a vacancy arises.  This ‘getting to know you’ process works both ways, and it could also prove particularly useful as a way to involve younger people in their first role:

@TraceyMcCillen replying to @trusteehour

Will certainly give it some thought and let you know. Keen to engage Young Trustees and see change in perception on how people with learning disability can engage at all levels of governance, Board, Committees etc.

If your charity could create a committee role to expand the pipeline of future trustees, there’s a place on twitter where vacancies can be shared:

julie 3

Finally, join us for our next #trusteehour on Tuesday 14th August, 7-8pm (note earlier time) where @TheYardScotland is hosting us as we look at top tips for charities embarking on a capital build project, a theme we’re supporting to help the Yard with their forthcoming new project.  We’re keen to continue to take #trusteehour on tour – if your charity has a specific area of interest for a future #trusteehour, get in touch with us @trusteehour!

Blog by Julie Hutchison @juliekhutchison
Founding Editor of @InformedTrustee

12 August 2018

Please note: some of the graphics were unable to load on this occasion, so they are placed as text. 

Guest blog by @juliekhutchison – reflecting on #trusteehour 7

With over 7,000 views, our topic for May’s #trusteehour clearly struck a chord – what research should you do before saying yes to a charity trustee role? Thanks to @RummleGumption for the theme idea.
Here are the top tips shared:
1. Basic due diligence online means checking out a charity’s website; googling for news stories involving the charity; look at their accounts online; look at their information on the charity regulator’s website. Thanks to @ian_mcl for his list of these.
2. Think people and culture, as @friend_natasha points out:


3. Look carefully to find out about the exact legal structure of the charity. There are two main kinds. One is unincorporated (for example a trust or an unincorporated association). The other is incorporated (for example a company limited by guarantee, or a CIO in England and Wales, or SCIO in Scotland). This latter type offers a bit more liability protection for charity trustees and has other benefits, such as contracts can be in the name of the charity instead of individual trustees.
4. Find out if the charity has indemnity insurance in place. Some do, some don’t. For unincorporated charities, this was seen as being particularly important:


5. Consider practical things, like location, which day of the week are board meetings held, and at what time. Those practical points could rule a potential trustee role in or out – also check out skype/video conference options, which might be specifically enabled in a charity’s governing document:



6. Do you get any help from your employer? There was mixed experience with this one, with some employers actively offering paid leave to support employees who take on voluntary roes:





7. If things get to the interview stage, ask for a copy of the governing document if it’s not otherwise available online – worth a read in advance:


8. Understand what the time commitment is going to be. Will there be committee meetings as well as board meetings? Will you be expected to ‘represent’ the charity and be an ambassador at events, as @sallyld points out:


9. To help make sure you are not ‘out of pocket’ in taking on a trustee role, what expenses does the charity offer to refund? It’s normal to find travel expenses can be refunded, for traveling to and from a board meeting. But there might be more help available. @ian_mcl shared an interesting idea for charity boards, which may help encourage younger candidates to consider a trustee role:

10. If you’re in Scotland, check out @GoodHQ for reviews and comments on charities in Scotland – this can help you research a role:


Two blogs were shared.  The first was a guest blog I wrote for OSCR’s website with top ten tips on due diligence.  The second blog was from @CT_charities, which made a good point about checking if induction support is available for new trustees.
And finally, news of our next #trusteehour on Tuesday 12th June 8-9pm – the topic is ‘When is it time for a trustee to step down?’ with thanks to @MairWCVA for the theme idea.

Blog by Julie Hutchison @juliekhutchison
Founding Editor of @InformedTrustee
5 June 2018