About Charity Trustees:

FMYCA Trustees have overall control of a charity or community organisation, and are responsible for making sure it’s doing what it was set up to do. They may be known by other titles, such as:

  • directors
  • board members
  • governors
  • committee members

Whatever title they have in a particular charity, trustees are the people who lead the charity and decide how it is run. Being a trustee means making decisions that will impact on people’s lives. Depending on what the charity does, you will be making a difference to your local community or to society as a whole.

Trustees use their skills and experience to support their charities, helping them achieve their aims. Trustees also often learn new skills and develop into new areas during their time on the board.

This section provides a quick introduction to being a Trustee. It aims to help you understand what is involved in being a trustee and how to choose a good trustee role.

Trustee roles and responsibilities

Trustees make sure the charity is running well and is doing what it was set up to do. This includes ensuring the charity:

  • has the money it needs
  • spends its money sensibly, on the activities it was raised for
  • follows the law, including preparing reports and accounts to send to the Charity Commission
  • doesn’t break the rules in its governing document (its constitution, trust deed or articles)

Trustees of smaller charities might take on all or most of the work of running the charity. In larger charities, trustees often delegate the day-to-day operations to the staff and senior management.

As a trustee, you will use your skills and experience to make sure the charity runs efficiently. But trustees are allowed to get advice from external sources like solicitors or other experts if they need to.

Making decisions

Charity trustees make decisions about their charity together, working as a team. Decisions don’t usually need to be unanimous as long as the majority of trustees agree. They’re usually made at charity meetings.

Research potential risks carefully before making a decision, especially before your charity enters into any contracts or borrows money.

It’s extremely rare for trustees to become personally liable for the charity losing money. But this could happen if trustees, for example:

  • behave irresponsibly or dishonestly, causing the charity to lose money
  • don’t take appropriate steps to manage serious risks, for example by following safety procedures

Chair, treasurer and secretary trustee roles

Some trustees have special roles, such as the chair, the treasurer and the secretary. They are known as executive officers.

The chair:

  • helps plan trustee meetings
  • may represent the charity at events
  • might also work as a link between trustees and staff

The charity treasurer:

  • makes sure the charity is keeping the proper accounts
  • takes the lead on making policies for finances and investments

The charity secretary:

  • makes sure the charity documents all meetings
  • takes the the responsibility for reporting matters to the Charities Commission and funding organisations

Charity executive officers don’t have any extra powers or responsibilities than the other trustees. All trustees are equally responsible for finances, for example.

Legal responsibilities of trustees – you and the other trustees must:

  • follow the law and the rules in the charity’s governing document
  • act responsibly and only in the interests of the charity
  • use reasonable care and skill
  • make well-informed decisions, taking advice when you need to

Follow the link, to get a greater generic understanding of a Trustee’s role:


For further reading, The Charities Commission has produced a document called “The Essential Trustees, what you need to know, what you need to do”


If you are interested in becoming a trustee at FMYCA, please complete the Trustee Application Form using the Role Person Specification document as an aid. Trustee’s are elected to serve for the term of 1 year, usually elected in March of the current year.

Trustee Role Person Specification Document:


Trustee Application Form