A week in the life of a trustee

Last week was Trustee Week. If you wonder what we get up to, here is one week in the life of a trustee (me!).

A nice cup of tea in the morning and…

I tend to look at NWR emails daily and then I also have a to-do list from the last or next trustee meeting.

Checking the budget

One of the most important governance tasks for a trustee is overseeing the financial situation of the charity. So on Tuesday, I received a draft budget for 2017.

I reviewed the assumptions made for our income which of course comes mainly from membership fees, then looked at the bottom line to ensure that the income covers proposed expenditure and finally considered the individual expenditure headings to ensure that they reflect our strategic priorities. 

There were some queries from staff and comments from other trustees and we will be ready to formally adopt the budget at our December meeting.

Time taken: 2 hours

Working with the staff

On Wednesday, our National Organiser, Natalie, and I had a catch-up via Facetime. We aim to chat every two weeks or so between the quarterly trustee meetings and we both keep a rolling agenda of topics. It is an opportunity to discuss forthcoming activities, reflect on progress and air any issues arising. 

We have a very small team of six committed and hard-working part-time staff led by Natalie who constantly amaze me with their enthusiasm and ideas. Apart from our office in Norwich, all the staff and trustees work from home so we use dropbox, email and Facetime for communication and are always considering ways to work more effectively together. 

Time taken: 1.5 hours (including preparation)

Out and about

On Thursday, I met with the Honorary Treasurer, Josephine Thomson, for lunch in London. We talked about the budget and investment options for NWR funds. We also discussed the regional NWR event, The Pursuit of Happiness, that we had both attended on Saturday 29 October. 

Later, we went to a joint Association of Chairs and Honorary Treasurers Forum meeting. These type of events always provide networking opportunities to raise the profile of NWR and, sure enough, I met one other charity representative who had heard of us and several who hadn’t. 

Lovely lunch, scrumptious nibbles provided and back home by 11pm.

Time taken: 4 hours

Day to day…

Other tasks this week were to use my contacts to secure recording facilities for an audio version of our magazine (something I’m still working on…), to reply to some members who have written to me and to comment on some terms and conditions for a video competition.   

And there is always our website, Facebook and Twitter to monitor, contribute to and interact with members and to promote NWR.

Never a dull moment

Certainly, being a trustee is a more demanding role now than it probably was even five years ago. Even though we are a small charity, we still have to follow Charity Commission good practice. I probably spend six to eight hours a week on NWR work with more during trustee meeting weeks. 

But there is never a dull moment and I relish the opportunity to continue to learn and contribute to sustaining and developing NWR.

I really enjoy being a trustee as it has enabled me to use the knowledge and skills gained during my working life and give back to an organisation that has given me so much over many years.

By the way, if any of this interests you, we have a vacancy on our board and would welcome enquiries about being a trustee.

Josephine Burt, NWR Chair



Image by Cathredfern