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Step on Board Open Programme frequently asked questions

1. What do I get out of it?

Becoming a trustee is hugely rewarding as you’ll be making a big difference in the way a charity is governed over the long term. You’ll be able to use your skills to help the organisation grow but you’ll also get huge personal development benefits. Moreover, you’ll find it extremely rewarding on a personal level to be able to support a cause you care about.

2. How do I enrol?

Book yourself a place onto the next briefing session.

3. How long is the programme?

After you’ve attended the briefing session we will book you in for a diagnostic session in three to four weeks’ time. After the diagnostic session, our partners at Trustees Unlimited will be looking for and offering you trustee opportunities for a period of up to six months.

4. Where do the briefing and diagnostic sessions take place?

Both sessions take place at the NCVO offices in King’s Cross.

5. How much does the programme cost?

The total cost of the programme is £1260 +VAT for NCVO corporate members and £1,300 +VAT for non-members. The amount is payable in two instalments of £360 +VAT and £900 +VAT for NCVO members; £400 +VAT and £900 +VAT for non-members.

6. Can my employer pay for my place on the programme?

Yes, they can. As well as making a difference to society, you will also be taking all the skills you gain as a trustee back to your employer. If your employer has agreed to pay for your place in the programme please let us know in the booking form and provide the name of the person the invoice should go to at your organisation.

7. When do I need to pay?

When you book your place on the training course you will be charged £360 +VAT if you’re an NCVO corporate member and £400 +VAT if you’re not. Once we book you onto the diagnostic session we will charge the rest of the amount (£900 +VAT).

8. I have several colleagues interested in this programme. Can we all sign up?

Yes, you can. However, if there are seven or more of you and your employer is covering the costs, it is better value for them to bring the programme in-house. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you’re not sure.

9. The next training session is fully booked. What do I do?

Get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will tell you when the next session is scheduled.

10. I care about a very specific cause. How closely can you match my interests with available opportunities?

If you have very specific causes you are interested in, depending what the cause is, it could be more difficult to find a suitable opportunity. We encourage programme participants to be on the one hand open-minded but on the other, aware of the issues they have a passion for. If for example, you only wish to serve on the board of an organisation that works with gerbils, this would limit the number of opportunities available. In this instance it would be better think about organisations that work in the conservation or wildlife sector.

11. If you find the right match for me does that mean that I can become a trustee of that charity?

We will find opportunities that align with your area of interest but it is up to you to secure the role. Recruitment processes vary a lot from charity to charity. There will usually be an application form to complete which will probably require a supporting statement and CV. There will be an interview or at the very least an informal meeting with the board. If the board feel your skills and background match what they’re looking for in a trustee you will be offered the role. It is a competitive process similar to applying for a regular paid role and you may not be the candidate they end up choosing.

12. If I get an interview for a trustee role are you able to help me prepare?

After the diagnostic session we offer two follow up calls which you can use to prepare for an interview, discuss your CV or ask any other questions.

13. Will I get help tailoring my CV to the trustee opportunity?

Our consultants at Trustees Unlimited can offer guidance on tailoring your CV both during the diagnostic session and during the two follow-up calls.

14. Are there any further resources on governance that NCVO can provide during the programme?

Before you come to the session you will receive the following supporting materials:

  • 15 questions to ask before becoming a trustee
  • a summary booklet of The Good Trustee Guide, our flagship publication for trustees.

15. My employer is interested in running this programme in-house. Is that possible?

Yes, it is. Please send them the link to our Step on Board programme for organisations and ask them to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

16. Assuming I will find a trustee role and be appointed, will I receive any ongoing support from NCVO?

We run a lot of governance training courses and have free or discounted digital and print resources that can support you in your role. Check our events listing page for training courses, NCVO Knowhow nonprofit for free digital resources and our governance publications.

17. Are there any pre-requisite courses or qualifications necessary for signing up to the SoB programme?

No qualifications or courses are necessary.

18. Will the matching process take geography and travel into account?

Yes, if you’re looking for a charity in a particular geographical area do share this during your diagnostic session and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

19. Once I've attended the briefing session do I have to go through the diagnostic and matching process straight away or can it be deferred?

If you can’t be booked onto the second stage of the programme straight away because of a change in circumstances, we can defer the second stage for a period of up to three months (possibly more in exceptional circumstances).

20. Will I get a guaranteed trustee appointment at the end of the programme?

No. The reasons for that can be very complex. Firstly, we can only send you roles that exist and in some cases, depending on the cause you are interested in, geography, time commitment etc. this may mean relatively few opportunities. Secondly, some participants experience a change in their circumstances and can no longer commit to taking up a trustee role, others are not interested in or can’t secure any of the roles we’ve put forward. Thirdly, the roles we send you might not for whatever reason appeal or indeed they may appeal but on conducting your own due diligence you may decide to withdraw from a process. Fourthly, securing a trustee role is often a competitive process and you will need to secure the role on your own merits.

However, if after six months you have not secured a trustee role you will be in a far stronger position in terms of knowing what to look for, where the opportunities can be found and how to apply for a role.

21. Do I have to accept a placement that is offered to me?

No, you don’t. We will send you opportunities for a period of up to six months but you are under no obligation to accept any of them.

22. If I don't get appointed by the first charity I am matched with, will SoB attempt to match me with further charities?

Yes, absolutely, we will keep sending you opportunities for a period of up to six months.

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