Why charities need to attract ‘Millennials’ to their boards

Charities need to do more to recruit ‘millennials’ (people aged 18-35 years) to their boards in a bid to stay more relevant to modern society and future proof their organisations, urges Trustees Unlimited.

The report titled: More to Give: London Millennials Working Towards a Better World, which coincides with Trustees Week (2-8 November) found that 53 per cent of under-35s working full time in London are wanting to volunteer more than they do, rising to 60 per cent in the younger 18-24 age group. 

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Ian Joseph, Chief Executive of Trustees Unlimited, which provides recruitment solutions to non-for-profit organisations, says: “Charities are missing out a huge pool of young talent and the significant benefits they could bring to their organisations. 

“Millennials have grown up in a technical era and can harness social media to engage their own generation in fundraising. They also bring energy, enthusiasm and they are our future generation of business leaders and pioneers. On the flip side, they can learn new skills, enhance their employability and progress professionally – it’s a real win-win.”

According to the ‘The ‘Young Trustees Guide’ launched by the Charities Aid Foundation fewer than 2 per cent of charities in the UK have a person under 24 serving as a trustee and the average age of a board member is 57.  

“We’re calling on all UK charities during Trustees Week to re-think their trustee recruitment strategies and appeal to younger people, such as using social media and other recruitment methods to attract them. We believe this will make their boards stronger, improve governance and decision making and make for greater innovation – ultimately helping to future proof the charity for many years to come,” added Joseph. 

The More to Give report highlights the importance of workplace schemes and initiatives in encouraging younger people to volunteer with over one-quarter (26 per cent) of those under-35s surveyed mentioning it as a positive influence. Over three-fifths of under-35s agree opportunities at work to get involved in supporting charities help employees to develop work-related skills (62 per cent).

Trustees Unlimited is currently running such a scheme with Barclays, law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges​ and others, to encourage their employees onto charity boards.

Justin Davis Smith, Executive Director of Volunteering and Development at NCVO, agreed that the future of the sector depended on finding better ways of harnessing the enthusiasm and skills of young people as volunteers particularly in governance and leadership positions. 

He said: “The sector is beginning to recognise it is missing the fresh perspectives young people can bring and many organisations are now changing their strategies to attract them.”


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