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Two-thirds of charities actively seeking to improve trustee diversity, survey finds


Two thirds of charities are actively working to recruit trustees from more diverse backgrounds, according to research by Ecclesiastical Insurance, with almost 4 in 5 saying charities need to do more.

Out of 250 charity trustees surveyed by Ecclesiastical Insurance, 54% said their charity had vacancies. 51% said they found recruitment difficult, increasing to three out of five (60%) when asked whether it had become more difficult in the last 12 months. 37% of trustees had also seen resignations rise in the last 12 months.

The survey was commissioned to coincide with Getting on Board’s Festival of Trusteeship, a week-long series of events sponsored by Ecclesiastical which ran last week, between 7 and 11 November.

54% said they struggle to recruit trustees from a range of social and ethnic backgrounds – an increase on last year’s 48%. However, two thirds said they were actively seeking trustees from more diverse backgrounds while almost three quarters said that their charity board was already made up of trustees from a diverse range of social and ethnic backgrounds.

The majority of respondents (80%) agreed that board diversity was a good thing, with 79% feeling charities need to do more to encourage trustees from a wider range of ages, backgrounds and communities.

The survey also asked trustees what they thought charities could do to encourage more trustees from different backgrounds. The main responses given were:

To promote the benefits of being a trustee to a wider audience (51%) To demonstrate how being a trustee can boost CVs (43%) To more actively recruit young people (42%) To encourage more flexible meeting options (39%)

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said:

“The findings from this research show us that charities are facing a real challenge when filling positions on their trustee boards.


“With over half of charities saying they have vacancies on their boards there is a real need for charities to look at how and where they bring trustees in from. The positive news is that two thirds say that they are looking to bring in trustees from a more diverse background.


“By encouraging trustees from a wider range of ages, backgrounds and communities charities can bring in new ideas, identify different opportunities and safeguard against potential risks they’re not currently sighted on.”

Penny Wilson, CEO at Getting On Board, commented:

“It’s really positive that this research commissioned by Ecclesiastical shows a growing interest from trustees in diversifying their boards.


“Finding trustees through open recruitment gives charities the best chance of finding the skills, knowledge and experience they need. Building strong, diverse boards is all the more important in the current cost-of-living crisis.”

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