Being a trustee for a charity is both an honour and a responsibility. As MS Research seeks to fill several roles on its board of trustees, we wanted to communicate the importance of these roles to the success of this small charity.
Foremost, a passion for the objectives of a charity is important for any trustee.
In our case that means seeking better treatments and contributing to the goal of finding an eventual cure for MS through research. We believe that research is key to finding more effective and equitable treatments and care for the long-term benefit of the MS community.
At MS Research trustees act like a board of directors, with each trustee taking responsibility for different areas of activity and overseeing various aspects of the charity’s function. Trustees, therefore, provide essential guidance and support to charity staff with strategic assistance.
What does an MS Research Trustee Do?
Time, energy, and skills are key elements needed for successful trusteeship, as a trustee needs to be flexible and be able to commit to volunteering.
Trustees are involved in the planning, organisation and implementation of activities and usually work with staff in specialised areas such as fundraising, communication and financial management. Overseeing and directing charity activities, trustees ensure that we stay on course to meet our aims and objectives, while remaining compliant with legal and financial obligations.
Trustees are not staff and are not paid but can claim expenses such as travel to meetings or for expenditure.
The workload of trustees depends on the size and nature of the charity and can vary greatly. MS Research trustees usually meet 3 times a year to set budgets, approve annual reports and oversee the growth and development of the organisation. Trustees also address issues that may be causing concern or where changes in policy are needed.
They are also available most of the year for consultation to offer support in specialised areas such as finance and fundraising. Or they may be required to support specific tasks, such as website development, communications or matters of policy.
MS Research is registered with The Charity Commission. The commission provides excellent information and support for all UK charities as do other organisations, including NCVO.