Are you a new Trustee/Responsible Person for a Charitable Trust/Private Ancillary Fund?

By: Chris Wootton   |   Philanthropy Australia

Congratulations – but where do you go for support? In the past you have just been expected to learn-on-the-job or bring your experience with you? This is no longer considered effective nor good practice! Being a trustee of a Charitable Trust/Private Ancillary Fund not only comes with a very high level of accountability - but also the personal and collective joy and benefit of making a difference and having an impact through trying to solve some of society’s deeply entrenched and common problems.

Here are 5 tips for New Trustees:

  1. Be adept at learning and research
    No one knows everything and as such you need to have an appetite for research, to learn about new concepts, to ask questions and actively seek out and listen to those who know more than you do.
  2. Confront your own biases
    Appreciate differences in culture, age, gender, values, personalities and opinions and challenge your own biases, passions and perceptions, especially when making decisions to fund something which does not reflect your own personal values/beliefs.
  3. Look for creativity and innovation
    Solutions to complex societal and environmental issues are not obvious nor easy to implement. In addition, Philanthropic funds are unique – they have the potential to be the powerhouse for innovative solutions, pilots and trials. Be willing to consider, encourage and support riskier projects/programs/ideas  – even if they appear ‘out-side-the-box’ or even ‘off-the-wall!’
  4. Appreciate where your funding lands
    Proactively meet and visit potential and/or currently funded projects/program deliverers and actual recipients/beneficiaries. See first-hand what is happening in the real world and put yourself in the other person’s shoes – all of which may provide you with a perspective or understanding that you may not have considered.
  5. Contribute to the personality of the Trust/Private Ancillary Fund

As a new trustee, you bring new expertise, experiences, networks and skills into the mix – it is important that you find the best ways to contribute these – as you all collectively further steward the journey and personality of your philanthropic trust into the future. If you are a new trustee or would like to gain confidence in your role as a charitable trustee, Philanthropy Australia has a range of resources to support you.

Governance Duties & Responsibilities for Charitable Trustees – Induction Program – delivered by AICD and PA


10 Common Traits of a Successful Company Director – Do you have these?

Frances Awcock AM in conversation – Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

Directors’ Tips for Executives – AICD

Sep. 05, 2017

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