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My journey to becoming a young trustees: 6 weeks of action

Leander Bischof

11 June 2023

I took 6 weeks of action to become a young trustee, during which I learned all about the application process. On our Digital Hub, you find my weekly blogs with more details on each step of the journey. I wasn’t sure where to begin to become a trustees so in this blog, I’ll share what I learned and break down the application process into each step I took to help you along your journey. Read on to follow my journey and learn how you can apply.

Everyone starts small

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My goal was to become a young trustee and inspire others to do the same. However, I was starting out fairly unfamiliar with trusteeship. I had only just started as an Intern at the Young Trustees Movement and had a lot to learn about charity governance. Looking back, I did learn a lot and I feel much more confident about becoming a trustee now. At this point, I want to thank everyone at YTM who helped me throughout this process, my learnings would have never been the same without you!

Finding the right charity

In retrospect, the second blog focusing on finding the right charity was the most important one. Please feel free to revisit it on the Digital Hub! Here I provided many very useful sources to find the charity of your dreams. Personally, this second week was essential for me because I reflected about what I’m looking for in a charity. I think knowing what values I want a charity to represent and what causes to fight for is key to finding the right charity. During this week, I learned where to find trustee roles and how to do background checks on charities. I can very much recommend the guide from Getting On Board in this context, it really helped me with my search.

The application process

When thinking about the application process again, the Getting On Board guide was super helpful. It clearly outlined the different steps of the journey.In the third week, I wrote about CVs and cover letters. I began writing cover letters and tailoring my CV for the trustee roles I shortlisted. What a daunting process! There is nothing more annoying than writing applications if you ask me. Still, without writing good applications, I’ll never get what I’m looking for. While it’s annoying to write these, certain tricks like having similarities on cover letters for similar roles can save some time. Additionally, I always get myself a small reward after sending out an application. This way, I stay motivated to send out more applications. For me, it’s usually buying some fruits I love, Kumquats for example. I can only recommend that!

Moving forward

After I sent out all my applications and gave advice on the different steps in the application process in my blogs, I received first replies from the charities I applied for. While I did receive rejections, I did also receive interview invitations. Additionally, some charities have still not replied to me until today, which surprises me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it past the interview stage in any charity and therefore, my big plan didn’t work out quite as well as I expected. Obviously I would have preferred to be a young trustee by now, I think that would have been much more encouraging. In the end, I didn’t know how many applications it would take and I think the fact that I’m not a young trustee yet rather stems from that. I do believe I have a chance of becoming a trustee, the interview invitations support that confidence. For the aspiring young trustees reading this, if you are lucky six applications might be enough, but don’t bet on it. In my case it will take more than the initial six applications I sent. But, you never know how long it will take to find the perfect fit - this will differ for everyone. Therefore, my advice is to give yourself some time for this journey and don’t beat yourself up if the first few applications don’t work out! I think, throughout the process, I got much better at writing these applications and got much more familiar with the tasks of trustees. Therefore, I believe my future applications will be more successful.

Final words

As this is the final blog, at least the documented part of my journey ends here. Despite that, my journey is not over and I will continue looking for new opportunities to become a young trustee. I wish all you aspiring young trustees good luck and patience on your own journey. If you want to read more about my learnings from this journey, please read part 2 of this final blog.

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