Becoming a trustee was definitely not something I had planned on doing this early in my career, at what is considered such a young age for this role. So why did I apply? What attracted me to click the button on the British Youth Council website? The simple answer – it sounded fun, challenging and like I would learn a host of new skills. I also figured that I had useful skills already that I could bring to the table, having worked with young people in my full-time career.
One of the key roles of a trustee is supporting the CEO and wider staff team in planning, executing and reviewing the overall strategic direction of a charity. This ensures that the direction the charity is heading leaves it in a stronger position than it was previously. At the British Youth Council, this means ensuring our strategic direction is aligned with the mission, vision and values of our members, who are one of our key stakeholders. Excitingly, in this board meeting, we had input from nearly the entire board on various sections of our strategic process. Engagement like this is vital; if our board was disinterested or not passionate about the charity’s strategic direction, then this would filter down to the staff team and maybe even the young people who make up our membership!
Developing a strategy is not something that can be started and completed within a few board meetings, it is something – like all things that will have a meaningful impact – that takes time and much back and forth. This is just the start of the process, so watch this space because it is going to get exciting!
As mentioned previously, our members are one of our key stakeholders – they give the British Youth Council its mandate and allow it to speak with and for them in the rooms where decisions happen. That is why it is crucial for us as an organisation to keep our members in the heart of everything that we do, and always alongside us. As a team, we’re always thinking about how we can better engage our members, and maximise our offer package to them. The brilliant staff team at the British Youth Council is looking at different ways that we can do this, with the reinvigoration of the ’Youth Forum’ membership as just a start. We also are evaluating what we offer to ‘Business Class Members’ – those from businesses or corporations who have delegated the British Youth Council as their chosen charity and donated towards the future of young people.
A massive – and I really can’t state this enough – talking point in our Board meeting was the Anti-Racist Language Guide that the staff team at the British Youth Council have composed. This guide was a small part of the British Youth Council’s commitment to being an anti-racist organisation, and our board discussed its content thoroughly. While it is still in the final stages of completion and being passed around to be checked, scrutinised and edited appropriately, this is something which I personally think will be a great addition to the organisation. Championing anti-racism and providing positive alternatives to outdated or discriminatory language will make the British Youth Council a future-proof organisation and allow us to continue to provide a positive environment for its members.
I hope this summary of my first board meeting has been insightful. If you have any questions at all then please email email@example.com.