What does it take to be a charity Chair?

Hopefully more often than not, you have experienced enormous respect for a Chair who is able to navigate a full agenda, giving time to the most important issues, making sure everyone contributes and then enabling the group to reach a conclusion and agree a way forward.

Yet running board meetings is only part of the role of a charity Chair. When things are going smoothly the many other governance responsibilities may seem relatively straightforward but as Murphy’s Law states “If anything can go wrong it almost certainly will” and so a Chair has to be prepared to step in and deal with the unexpected – from losing a CEO and having to act as interim leader while initiating a crucially important recruitment process, to dealing with difficult or inappropriate behaviour by other trustees or acting as spokesperson in a PR crisis situation.

Photo by The Coach Space on Pexels

The relationship between the Chair and CEO is the lynchpin that determines the success or otherwise of a charity and getting that relationship right must be a key objective for any Chair (as well as the CEO). In times of great challenge, or simply when a charity is going through a period of major change, then stakeholders will inevitably look to the Chair for oversight and direction. This is a time for the CEO and chair to work closely together or if that is not possible then the Chair must be prepared to take on the leadership role and guide the charity through the turbulence.

Whether taking on chairmanship for the first time or whether well established in the role, it can be very useful to have access to someone who can act as a confidential and objective sounding board especially when dealing with new, challenging or complex situations.

Charity Mentors works with Chairs as well as CEOs and we can enable you to develop your thinking and problem solving in many different ways.

Here are just some examples of how we have successfully supported Chairs to:

  • Consider obstacles or issues from different perspectives
  • Develop a clearer understanding of the role of the Chair and board in a small charity
  • Separate governance from operational matters
  • Ensure trustees maintain effective oversight
  • Improve the quality and decision making of trustee meetings
  • Recruit and retain committed trustees
  • Seek ways to fully engage all trustees
  • Develop a positive and productive relationship with the CEO
  • Develop a strategy, including preparation for a strategic away day
  • Work through unexpected and difficult issues

We can promise absolute confidentiality from an experienced mentor whatever challenges you are facing whether as a Chair, Co-chair, Vice Chair or Chair-designate.

To get in touch you can email us at: info@charitymentors.co.uk

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