Trustees oversee the management and administration of a charity. They play a very important role in ensuring that their charity has a clear strategy, that its work and its goals are in line with its vision.
Trustees work collectively as a ‘board’. Together, they have legal responsibility for the charity and as such, they must ensure that the charity complies with the law.
They safeguard the charity’s assets – both physical assets, including property, and intangible ones, such as its reputation – ensuring that they are used well and that the charity is run sustainably.
Trustees don’t usually do the day-to-day running of the charity – they delegate this to the staff, led by the Chief Executive. Instead, they play the role of ‘critical friend’ to the Chief Executive by giving support and by challenging – in a supportive way – to help them manage effectively. However, in smaller charities with few staff, trustees may take hands-on roles too.