Happy Friday, folks! Today’s blog is by our friend and Guest Speaker, Alex Swallow, Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition, and Founder of Young Charity Trustees. It’s a timely blog, for two reasons: firstly, it is the 2nd anniversary of Young Charity Trustees, and secondly, in the spirit of Board Diversity, The I Am Group is hosting our inaugural Trustee Networking event next week – details below. But for now, over to Alex…
First, thank you to everyone who has signed up to and/or generally promoted our Thunderclap in support of Board Diversity. We still need quite a few more people to sign by our anniversary next Friday for it to work so please both sign up and spread the word. It is very quick and painless to do. We currently have an amazing social reach for it of more than 600,000 people!
We’ve already had sign-up support from a wide range of individuals and organisations, including The Charity Commission, Girlguiding, CAF, Trustees’ Week, Reach Volunteering, Young Advisors, Peter Wanless, Trailblazers, UpRising, the Foyer Federation, CASS CCE, G2G, The Social, Community Action Southwark, Mark Pack, IG Advisors, and a RT from Paralympic legend and sector star Tanni Grey-Thompson! Even Beth Kanter, who for my money is probably the world expert on charities and social media, has signed up.
I am very proud that Young Charity Trustees (YCT) is nearly two years old. There are lots of ways in which we can potentially grow as an organization, but I believe the most important impact that we can have is simply to raise awareness of the issue, to allow young trustees to network, and to highlight best practice.
There are a couple of people I’d like to particularly say thanks to who helped at the beginning of YCT. The first is Nisha Kotecha– YCT Ambassador, charity professional and social media volunteer extraordinaire, who supported me right from the start. I didn’t think at the beginning that very many people would be interested in the topic of young trustees to be honest, so having someone else believing in me and the organisation made a real difference. The second is Emma Kynoch from Russam GMS and others at Russam who helped make me think that this was something worth fighting for.
Thanks to our volunteers and our Ambassadors who help to spread knowledge of what we do. Leon Ward and others have directly represented YCT at events, helping to inspire the next generation of potential brilliant young trustees.
One thing that I have said time after time is that having diverse Boards of course isn’t just about young people. It’s also about looking at gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability and background. It is also making sure that a diverse group of people not only sit on Boards but Chair them. And this isn’t just about the charity sector, we need to break down barriers for top-level participation in every sphere. Hopefully alongside many other organisations with much bigger clout than us, YCT can play its part in hastening a future where all of those things happen.
While not everything may change as quickly as we would like, I believe our time is coming.
My favourite part of the adventure that YCT has been so far is learning more about other organisations that care about young people taking on positions of responsibility. Organisations like Uprising (I’ve been a mentor), Charityworks (I am a mentor) andDare2Lead (I’ve been a trainer). And many, many more.
So thanks to every person and organisation who have supported me and supported YCT so far, whether it has been a conference invite, an introduction to someone fascinating, or a RT on Twitter. This isn’t just our journey, it is your journey too.
You can follow Alex on http://alexswallow.wordpress.com, or better still, come and meet representatives from Young Charity Trustees and Small Charities Coalition at next week’s Trustee Networking event. More details can be found at: http://trustee-networking.eventbrite.co.uk/