Do I need a digital trustee?

Janet Thorne
2 min readNov 21, 2018


Trustees need to lead the way on digital, and recruiting a digital trustee can be a good way to bring expertise on to your board. But what kind of person do you need and what role would they play? A while ago four people with a passion for increasing the digital skills on charity boards got together to work out what they could to help. Some cups of tea and thoughtful discussions later here’s our starter for ten.We’re keen to hear what you think, so please read, share and feedback!

What is the problem?

Charities need digitally savvy leaders if they are to thrive, and that includes their trustees. However, 69% of charities think that their trustees are lacking digital expertise and a third of charities cite lack of understanding or buy in from trustees as one of the biggest barriers to their organisation getting the most from digital . The new Charity Digital Code stresses the importance of trustees taking the lead on digital.

Why will recruiting a digital trustee help?

A digital trustee can bring their expertise to all board discussions and decisions, and champion digital. They are not there to ‘own’ digital — the responsibility is shared, just like it is for other areas like finance. The end game is a digitally literate board which thinks about how digital can strengthen all aspects of their charity’s strategy and operations. A digital trustee can help your board develop this expertise.

Tell us what you think

We’ve pulled together thoughts on the kind of role a digital trustee can play, whether your board is just beginning to think about digital or well advanced. This is just our starter for ten. We want to keep iterating it, so please contribute your thoughts:

  • suggest changes to the guide. It’s definitely a work in progress
  • share your experience with us about how trustees deal with digital (be it good or bad!)
  • tell us what else would be useful

Useful resources / events

Charity Digital Code

Digital trustees hub from Reach Volunteering — online community of prospective digital trustees, plus relevant resources

Trustee digital checklist from CAST

CAST digital service design principles

Who we are:

Zoe Amar (Chair of Charity Digital Code)

Ellie Hale (CAST)

Sally Dyson (SCVO)

Janet Thorne (Reach Volunteering)



Janet Thorne