Charity trustees, please step into the limelight!

Following a tough 18 months with negative headlines and dwindling public trust, the charity sector is picking itself up, dusting itself down and taking another hard look at how it operates.

During Trustees Week earlier this month, a consultation was opened on the Charity Governance Code, a significant revision of the current code of good governance – all are welcome to contribute their views before 3rd February 2017 and I urge anyone with an interest in this area to do so.

Raising standards in trusteeship is part of The Clothworkers’ core mission; we were involved in the creation of the original code back in 2005. We recognise that a revised code for governance should allow charities to move much further on their journey towards great governance, and we are looking forward to the outcome of the consultation.

But getting charity practices right is just part of the picture. All too often, good (even great) charity boards and their individual trustees remain hidden ‘backstage’. This allows media column inches to be filled with unflattering stories whenever things go wrong. Charities should look to draw their effective trustees out of the shadows and into the spotlight: we all need role models! This is exactly what we hope to do with the Charity Governance Awards, now in its second year.

Of course, we want charity press offices to push forward the human-interest stories, the headline grabbers and the photo-opportunities. However, charity PRs must work hard to help the public understand how a really effective charity board is often the starting point for these inspiring stories. By threading the good governance message into even the most populist of stories, the public can see for themselves how well run charities can be.

The inaugural Charity Governance Awards in 2016 rewarded charities for achievements in board diversity, risk management and impact improvement. We celebrated our winners at the Awards reception in May, and published their stories in a free ebook available now to anyone to read about real life examples.

Now entries for the 2017 Charity Governance Awards are open – we’ve added a new category ‘Embracing Digital’ to illustrate how digital communication can aid great governance. Charities large and small, working in all areas, are invited to enter. It’s a chance for entrants to win a £5K grant, but in terms of a lasting legacy, it’s also an opportunity to be a governance role model: leading the way in the charity sector, and helping to rebuild all important public trust.


For more information visit here, and to enter complete your application before 13 January 2017.

For more information on the Charity Governance Code consultation, visit here.

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