Case studies > Trustee matching

Verlie & Monika

Image from the Reclaim Project
Image from the Leeds Children's Charity
Image from the Reclaim Project

                RECLAIM Project                          Leeds Children's Charity                          RECLAIM Project

In 2011, we trialled our free trustee-matching service.  Similar to our 1-2-1 skills sharing and mentoring service, it facilitates the sharing of experience and knowledge between charities. The unique feature of this service is the fact that it is specifically aimed at trustees, with the aim to provide an opportunity to discuss governance-related matters outside of their charity’s board.

For our pilot, we matched Verlie McCann, Chairman of Leeds Children’s Charity, which arranges to send 500 under-privileged children to a holiday centre in Silverdale each year, with Monika Neall, a trustee of Reclaim*, an award-winning leadership and mentoring scheme that works to empower young people across Greater Manchester.

In their trustee matching surveys, both Verlie and Monika indicated that they would like to focus on financial management matters as well as governance issues. Over the next few months, they were in touch over the phone and e-mail to share experiences and discuss issues as they arose.  Monika was keen to exchange ideas with Verlie on how “you can build a board from individuals who meet fairly infrequently and fairly briefly, into a real team that works well together”. At the time, Verlie was bringing together a group of volunteers to work for the charity, so she was also interested to discuss issues around this topic with Monika – as well as a fairly specific query on how to go about “changing our constitution to introduce a clause regarding the election and removal of trustees”.

Verlie and Monika decided to meet up in Manchester to discuss things face-to-face which was a very productive approach to the match for both trustees. 

Monika later recalled:

The face-to-face meeting worked really well and we both came away with some good ideas of ways to implement change and improve tings on our boards.

Verlie commented:

I think that the face-to-face meeting with Monika worked really well for both of us, as it allowed more discussion and time to consider problems being experienced by both parties..

We are delighted that Verlie and Monika still continue to keep in touch and discuss issues around their boards and running a charity.

Reflecting on the whole trustee match experience, Verlie noted:

Following our discussion regarding trustees and board meetings, I was able to consider matters in a different way, and approach problems from a new level (…) The different approach regarding trustees' responsibilities has resulted in the organisation having a wider management position and a better understanding of the governance of the charity.

Monika also expressed her appreciation of the experience:

Being matched with another experienced trustee was great. It meant that we were able to share ideas and issues and find solutions together. It worked best to meet face to face first and build on that with phone and email as I found that we came up with ideas in conversation for issues that I hadn't clearly identified prior to meeting.

With respect to the services provided by the Small Charities Coalition, Verlie said:

I have found the connection with the Small Charities Coalition a really useful one for support and networking.  I have attended some of your workshops and found the information extremely useful, as well as offering the opportunity to meet with other charities to discuss various issues with them too.  As a small charity, I have found it invaluable to be able to talk to others in similar situations and to share help and support.

If you would like to learn more about signing up for our trustee matching service, please visit the Services section on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!

* Monika stepped down as trustee of Reclaim and became a paid staff member. She is currently planning to become a trustee of another charity.

Match completed in September 2013

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