Between now and mid-July, the Student Publication Association will be electing a new Trustee to join our Board. This is an incredibly important election, and the successful candidate will serve a term of four years.
However, Trustee positions can sometimes be a bit vague, and it’s not quite clear what it means in practice to serve as an SPA charity trustee. So, we’ve put together this quick Q&A, which hopefully gives you all the tools you need to decide whether you want to put your name forward.
What is a charity trustee?
Trustees are an essential part of all well-governed charities, not least in the SPA. We have nine members of the Trustee Board – four elected, three appointed and two members of the Executive Committee who are Trustees ex officio.
According to the Charity Commission of England and Wales – where the SPA is registered – trustees have a number of key duties, including ensuring the charity is carrying out its core purpose, that the charity’s activities are legal and comply with our Governing Document, act in the charity’s best interest, manage resources responsibly, act with reasonable care and skill, and make sure the charity is accountable.
That might seem like a fairly lengthy list, but each of those six duties is vital for ensuring the SPA remains secure, and as a Trustee you would have an integral role in that.
What roles do Trustees fulfil in the SPA?
As well as the above, Trustees of the SPA take on a number of other responsibilities.
They work with the teams of Executive Officers, Regional Officers and Project Officers to help them meet their goals during the year, including semi-regular meetings with the Executive Committee to monitor progress and ensure all activities are working towards the SPA’s objectives.
Trustees also have an important – and incredibly fun! – part to play in helping to plan, organise and facilitate SPA events and awards during the year, including the National Conference. This will be especially crucial in the next couple of years as we (hopefully) move towards physical events once again.
Can I run, and what time will I commit?
Anyone can run to be an SPA trustee, unless you have sat as a member of the Trustee Board ex officio in the last 12 months (this only applies if you were a member of the Executive Committee and a Trustee between May 2020 and the time of writing).
Important note: you don’t have to be a current student in order to run for this position!
Although the time commitment varies throughout the year – such as during the planning for our National Conference – the majority of the time we anticipate the role will take up to 1-2 hours per week.
What makes a good Trustee?
The ideal candidate should have a good understanding of the issues facing students, with prior experience of advocacy or student journalism, although it is not essential to currently be working in the field of journalism, media or related industries.
You should also be committed to the advancement of student journalism, respect diversity of thought and the benefits of collaboration, have the desire to work as part of a team of volunteers, and build successful working relationships.
It would also be desirable for the successful candidate to have prior knowledge of charity law or financial management, contacts within the fields of journalism or media, and experience as working as part of a team.
We strongly encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds, including Ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+ and disabled communities to consider applying for this role.
How can I run?
Please fill out this nomination form before 5pm on Wednesday 23rd June.
If you would like to find out more about the role, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This position will be elected on a First Past The Post basis.
Best of luck!