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Recruiting charity trustees – top tips for crafting a successful recruitment ad

Author: Kristina Kopic, Head of Charity and Voluntary Sector

Published: 11 Mar 2024

Recruiting trustees is a crucial task for charities, as board members play a pivotal role in guiding the organisation, shaping its strategy and ensuring its mission is fulfilled effectively. However, many charities are hampered by board vacancies, so it’s never been more important to make your advertised role stand out from the crowd.

To attract the right candidates, it's essential to create a compelling recruitment ad that not only outlines the responsibilities of the role but also highlights the unique opportunities and rewards of serving as a trustee. I have reviewed the roles that attracted the highest number of applications on our 'voluntary job site' ICAEW Volunteers in 2023, and here are my five top tips for crafting a successful trustee recruitment ad.

1. Clearly define the role and responsibilities

The most popular ads on ICAEW Volunteers define the role in more detail, for example with a title of ‘Trustee and Chair of the Finance Committee’. Ensure that the recruitment ad provides a clear overview of what your charity’s specific trustee role entails, including the time commitment, and expectations associated with the role. If your charity is looking for a trustee with specific work experience, don’t be afraid to spell it out. By clearly defining the role, you will find it easier to attract candidates who possess the skills, experience and commitment needed for the role.


  • "ABC Charity is seeking dedicated individuals with significant finance and e-commerce experience to join our board of trustees and our finance committee"
  • "As a trustee, you will play a key role in guiding the strategic direction of the organisation, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and overseeing the effective management of resources"
  • "Board meetings are held monthly in our London office on a Wednesday from 10am to 12.30pm and we estimate the total time commitment to be about 2 days per month (including preparation for meetings)"
  • "We will cover reasonable expenses"

2. Highlight the impact and mission of the charity

While many ICAEW members are motivated by their desire to use their financial skills for good, most will choose a charity because they resonate with the cause. It’s therefore important that the recruitment ad emphasises the work and impact of the charity. Candidates are more likely to be drawn to organisations whose values align with their own and whose work they feel passionate about. Don’t forget to showcase the difference the charity makes and how the trustees contribute to its success.


  • "Joining the board of trustees at ABC Charity means being part of a team dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of [insert service user group]. As a trustee, you will have the opportunity to shape the direction of our organisation, advocate for those we serve and ensure that our mission of [insert mission statement] is upheld with integrity and compassion."

3. Seek diversity and inclusion

Diversity on a charity's board of trustees brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and skills that can enrich decision-making and drive innovation. When crafting recruitment ads, charities should actively seek to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented communities. Emphasise the importance of diversity and inclusion in the recruitment ad and encourage candidates from all walks of life to apply.


  • "We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive board of trustees that reflects the communities we serve. We particularly welcome applications from women and from individuals from minoritised backgrounds, individuals who are disabled and/or who identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community."

4. Use positive, inviting language and images

The most popular ads on ICAEW Volunteers include the charity’s logo, use positive and welcoming language and are well designed. Using subtitles and bullet points makes it easier for candidates to absorb key information quickly. If possible, offer candidates an informal conversation with the charity’s CEO prior to application. Also, let candidates know what training and guidance they can expect to receive, especially if you welcome applicants without prior trustee experience.


  • Replace "we are seeking a new trustee for our charity" with "would you relish the opportunity to learn how [insert how the charity makes a difference]?"
  • Welcome individuals without prior trustee experience, "we welcome applicants without prior trustee experience and will provide you with support and training to help you navigate your trustee responsibilities" – then follow through!
  • Offer an informal chat, "if you would like to have a conversation with our CEO before applying, please drop us a line [insert email address or phone number]"

5. Provide clear instructions for applying

Finally, ensure that the recruitment ad provides clear instructions for candidates interested in applying for the trustee role. Include details on how to apply, any required documents or information, the deadline for submission and when interviews will take place.


  • "To apply for the position of trustee, please submit a CV and covering letter (max 2 pages) outlining your interest in the role and relevant experience to [contact email or address]. The deadline for applications is [insert deadline date]. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview in w/c [insert date]."

By following these top tips, your charity will have a greater chance of attracting trustees with the right skills and attitude, and who add to the board’s diversity. Good luck!