Being a Charity Trustee is Different from my Day Job in a Corporate
By Alex Dwek — Trustee at BeyondMe, and Strategy Consultant at KPMG
This week is Trustees’ Week. Alex highlights the great work trustees do and reveals his tips on how young professionals can get involved.
1. How did you become involved in BeyondMe?
I first became involved in BeyondMe (then known as Young Philanthropy) three years ago. I had recently joined a graduate program at KPMG, and wanted to find different ways of supporting charitable projects.
After an initial inspiring chat with BeyondMe’s co-founders, Michael and Adam, I enthusiastically set about founding KPMG’s first BeyondMe team. Since then, we have started seven teams, with close to 100 employees giving time, money and skills to different charitable causes they care about.
2. Why did you become a trustee?
I saw it as an exciting opportunity that was too good to turn down.
After a successful launch of BeyondMe at KPMG, I increasingly found myself talking to Adam and Michael about the future direction of the movement. From our conversations it was clear that BeyondMe had great potential to grow across the City, but needed to find the resources to help drive this forward.
My first involvement was helping pitch to potential funders. Luckily for us, the meeting was a success, and subsequently I was invited to join BeyondMe’s Trustee Board to assist the charity with its growth plans.
3. What does your role involve?
My role has evolved as the organisation has grown. I initially provided general business advice, but I am now BeyondMe’s Treasurer, responsible for ensuring that the organisation is financially well-run and is using its funds appropriately. On a day-to-day basis this involves reviewing how the charity spends its money, from staffing levels to decisions about whether to invest in new technology.
As one of three trustees, I am also involved in discussions around strategic issues such as long-term growth plans and ways to increase our level of income so that we no longer have to rely on charitable grants.
The level of time commitment varies, but on average I spend an hour or two dealing with emails and phone calls each week. I also attend Trustee and Advisory group meetings (about 10 evenings per year), as well as meeting with the CEO monthly to review budgets.
4. What advice would you give to young people interested in becoming a trustee?
I think many young professionals underestimate how useful their skills can be to charities. I found that many charities are looking for additional support and are often delighted to take on people with a financial background that can help them with areas such as writing business plans, setting budgets and funding applications.
My advice for anyone interested in becoming a trustee is to first get involved with a charity as a volunteer, demonstrate your value to the organisation, and then grab a coffee with one of the existing trustees to see if there is a vacancy available.
5. What have you got out of the role, personally and professionally?
I have now been a trustee for 18 months, and have enjoyed every minute of it. Being involved in charity that is fast-growing and a start-up is very different from my day job in a large corporate. I have found the experience has really opened my eyes to some of the challenges facing small business and charities.
Personally I have also learnt a great deal from the people on the Trustee board and Advisory group. They are always coming up with smart and innovative ways to take BeyondMe forward.
Overall, I would highly recommend the experience.
BeyondMe is a growing movement in which professionals, businesses and charities join together to make a meaningful impact on the world beyond them.