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Becoming a charity trustee

03 December 2014 Candidate Blogs

Louise Parkes, Director of Fundraising at the British Heart Foundation, was recently appointed as a new Trustee to the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust, joining the board to take on the exciting challenge.

Working with Morgan Hunt recruitment agency, Louise secured her role as Trustee in September 2012. With Louise now nine months into her trusteeship, she talks about her motivations for pursuing the role and what advice she would give others looking to become a Trustee for a high profile charity.

The Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust enables disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track and benefit from the skills, expertise and experience of world class athletes through a range of personal development programmes. The charity, founded in 2008 by Dame Kelly Holmes, has helped more than 50,000 young people to lead more positive lives.

The DKH Legacy Trust has recently been awarded £6.9million in funding from Sport England to support the roll out of the charity’s successful Get on Track initiative nationwide over the next four years.

With the charity moving forward with ambitious plans for growth and a new strategic direction, a new Trustee was required to play an integral part in realising the DKH Legacy Trust’s long-term growth and development goals. As a national supporter and proud partner of the DKH Legacy Trust, Morgan Hunt was approached to recruit for this exciting position.

How did you hear about the Trustee post at DKHLT?
"Morgan Hunt was involved in the recruitment for a senior role at the British Heart Foundation and Ben Pountney approached me directly with the Trustee role at the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust."

What influenced your decision to apply for the post?
"Having previously been a Trustee of a small charity, I was looking for a trusteeship for a cause I was passionate about, where I felt I could make a valued contribution."

With DKHLT being one of the fastest growing charities in the UK it must be an exciting time to be on the board. How does the charity plan to build on this success and continue to grow and develop in the future?

"It is a very exciting time to be involved with the Trust. Part of my role is to provide support and guidance on fundraising. Managing rapid growth and ensuring it is sustainable can be challenging, but the Trust is ensuring that it diversifies its income generation activities to provide a stable base moving forward."

How does your role as a Trustee differ from your role as Director of Fundraising at the British Heart Foundation? What are your typical responsibilities as a Trustee?
"The role is quite different, but there are some similarities. As a Trustee I have responsibility for governance and strategy, but I am also able to provide support, guidance and expertise in fundraising."

What's the most rewarding aspect of your role?
"The most rewarding aspect of the role is seeing and hearing the difference that we make to the lives of young people. Some of the stories are quite inspirational."

How do you feel your skills and experience complement those of your fellow board members?
"It is a fantastic board of Trustees, with each bringing different skills and experience to the table. Some of the Trustees have been involved in the Trust since it started, and have managed and guided the organisation through phenomenal growth. Understanding where an organisation has come from is a really important part of supporting its development in the future."

What qualities and attributes do you think are essential for anyone looking to get on the board of Trustees for a high profile charity such as DKHLT and what advice would you give for those wanting to pursue a Trustee post?
"Different organisations will be looking for different skills and attributes, depending upon the type of charity and the current constitution of the board. It can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also a significant commitment. Make sure it is a cause you are passionate about and can fully meet the expectations of the role and the organisation. I would recommend to anyone who cares about making a difference and has skills to offer to pursue a Trustee post."


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