In a new guide from Roundhouse we find out how to include young people on your board and in your decision making processes.
Why should we have young trustees?
A question you might like to ask yourself and your board is how are you going to find the next cultural movements? What kind of experience do you need on your board to do this? Qualified accountants can look at accounts; lawyers can look at contracts, but who is going to help you stay on top – or ahead – while the world is rapidly changing?
According to the Charities Aid Foundation, despite making up 12% of Britain’s population, 18-24 year-olds account for less than 0.5% of all charity trustees1. We know that young people are willing to take on the leadership mantle – research shows that 85% of under 35s say they would consider becoming a trustee2 – but clearly more needs to be done to pave the way.
In this guide we put forward the case for affirmative action – setting aside seats on your board for 18-25s and actively recruiting – to help redress the balance. This isn’t so much about preventing discrimination as it is encouraging inclusion. Many young people may not feel worthy or experienced enough to apply for a board position entirely off their own back, so having a specific role defined and reserved for their age group can give them the confidence they need to engage. We believe that greater diversity makes for better decision making.
We are not saying, however, that young trustees will be able to represent all young people, and indeed – as we will make clear throughout this guide – there are additional ways to bring the voices of young people into your organisation too. Not all young people want or are able to become a trustee, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an important contribution to make to your organisation. Additional platforms such as youth advisory boards (ours is known as RYAB, short for the Roundhouse Youth Advisory Board) offer the dual purpose of engaging a wider group of young people and providing a safe space for future young trustees to learn and grow.
Image: Courtesy of Roundhouse. Photo credit: Cesare de Giglio.