Diversity & digital among key challenges for trustees, research shows


Key challenges facing charity trustees, along with recommendations to help, have been revealed in research published by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and chartered accountancy body ICAEW.

The researchers interviewed trustees from local, national, and international charities, including faith-based, educational, humanitarian, health, animal welfare, and women’s organisations. The report outlines six key challenges for trustees:

Financial resilience – Diversifying funding is key.Working together – Trustees can affect the collaboration within charities.Diversity – Achieving diversity in all forms remains a challenge.Support and training – Trustees need more coherent and centralised support.Digital – Charities are at different stages in digitalisation.Sustainability – Trustees want to do their bit towards sustainability.

Over the next three years, it shows, charity trustees intend to focus on achieving financial stability, growing sustainably, and increasing their influence and impact.

The report also makes recommendations for charity trustees as advisers and leaders of their organisations. These include broadening their networks, recruiting a greater diversity of trustees to the board to encourage new ideas, and accessing centralised training and support.

Alison Taylor, CEO of CAF Bank and Charity Services, said:

“Charities have shown themselves and others exactly how strong and impactful they can be over the last two years, and adapting to recent events has highlighted new opportunities. Now is the time to take stock, rebuild finances, and devise strategies for moving forward purposefully and sustainably.


“Strengthening trusteeship benefits the charities they advise, but also the ability of their organisation to deliver essential services to their communities and promote their valuable causes.”

Michael Izza, Chief Executive at ICAEW, also commented, saying:

“ICAEW Chartered Accountants possess the knowledge, skills and ethics needed to enable a world of strong and sustainable economies. Many of our members bring these qualities to their roles as charity trustees, supporting the invaluable work of many charities across the UK. In a fragile post-pandemic, post-Brexit world, it is more important than ever that charities and their trustees understand how best to ensure their organisations’ stability and build their resilience for the future.


“This examination of the challenges currently facing charities and trustees, and insights into how these challenges might be turned into opportunities, will be critical in helping charities to evolve, adapt and continue to deliver meaningful results. It is in all our interests that we get this right.”

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