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Take on a trustee role and boost your digital career

24 January 2018

Becoming a trustee can be a hugely rewarding and fulfilling experience for those working in digital. In return, the charity will benefit from your ideas, expertise and connections when driving forward its commitment to digital.

As a trustee, not only are you supporting a charitable cause, but you also have the chance to gain valuable skills that you can use in your career. You will learn about the strategic side of running an organisation, being involved in annual budgeting, business planning, measuring impact, and company law, all areas that will enhance your CV.

The future is digital and in this article, we explore how becoming a trustee will help to boost your digital career. 

Why digital is important

It’s recognised that charities are behind other sectors when it comes to digital maturity. A report by Skills Platform in 2016 found 50% of charities didn’t have a digital strategy at all, while only 9% had been through a full digital transformation. In addition, our recent salary survey for charity professionals found that only 54% of respondents felt that there was a good understanding of digital technologies from senior management and board.

However, for organisations that are improving their digital capability, their revenue is greater than ever before. Lloyds Bank’s UK Business Digital Index recently found that charities using social media are 51% more likely to report an increase in donations. Digitalisation goes beyond marketing and communications – it is the future of fundraising too.

Last year, Barclaycard worked with eleven charities to trial contactless donation boxes and all proved very successful. The boxes, which look similar to the traditional style coin boxes, allowed donors to tap a contactless bank card to donate. During the trial, the average donation for the NSPCC was £3.07, almost three times higher than the average cash donation.

Funding is often a restriction in the charity sector, that’s why innovative thinking is key. AZoe Amar points out “money is an obvious barrier, but so is structure and culture.” Most charities, especially smaller ones, are crying out for digital trustees who can help them make the business case for digital investment. 

It’s imperative charity boards have digital-savvy trustees who understand at a strategic level how digital technology impacts their organisations and consider the benefits it could bring. As Zoe Amar, digital guru (or equivalent!) puts it in the Guardian, “there’s no place for technophobe trustees”.

There’s no time like the present to get stuck into digital. Mary McKenna, tech entrepreneur, says “If charities don’t embrace technology to better address the societal challenges they’re trying to solve, then sooner or later the private sector will move into their space and effectively eat their lunch.”

Becoming a digital trustee

The first thing to do is consider the skills you’ve got to offer and find out more about the charities looking for those things. Are you a digital specialist? Do you know lots of digital suppliers? What is it that you could you offer a charity looking at ways to maximise digital?

Once you’ve identified your strengths, you’ll be able to sell your skills effectively. Ensure you’re engaged on relevant issues on social media, so a quick Google search of you by a prospective charity means people can be confident in your skills.

Get to know different charities (their campaigns, missions and challenges) and build your network.

Remember to keep a look out for positions being advertised on social media and join LinkedIn groups, such as Young Charity Trustees or Non-Profit and Charity Work.

Good luck in your quest to find the right trusteeship for you! If you’re interested in Trustee roles from TPP, you can view and apply for our current vacancies here.

Image: TPP

Read more:

Top takeaways from The Charity Digital Code of Practice

Toby Roberts

business manager, marcomms & digital , TPP

Toby joined TPP as part of the trainee scheme in the 2016 intake, graduating and being promoted to a full consultant in the October the same year.

Toby prides himself on the exceptional service that he offers to both his candidates and clients, offering a professional yet personal service. Toby covers the whole of the marcomms and digital spectrum, from communications to public Affairs, policy to social media and digital to PR and media, from assistant level to head of. He is passionate about delivering a high standard of service to both his clients and his candidates, all the while developing long term partnerships to gain a better understanding of the people he works with.

Toby enjoys his sports, particularly football and rugby and makes an excellent cup of tea.