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Percentage of charities attempting to improve trustee diversity drops

Melanie May | 7 November 2023 | News

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Just half (50%) of charities say they are actively looking to recruit trustees from more diverse backgrounds – down 14% on 2022, research from Ecclesiastical has found.

Ecclesiastical commissioned the survey to coincide with Getting on Board’s Festival of Trusteeship, a week-long series of events that it is sponsoring. It asked 250 charity trustees whether they were actively seeking trustees from a more diverse range of social and ethnic backgrounds.

The survey also found that there had been a YOY drop in the percentage of charities that said they believed their board was made up of trustees from a diverse range of social and ethnic backgrounds. Three in five (58%) said so this year, compared with almost three quarters (72%) in 2022.


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It discovered that almost three quarters (74%) of trustees believed their board of trustees is diverse enough, yet separate research from earlier in the year by Inclusive Boards found that three in ten (29%) of the biggest charities have all-white trustee boards.

The good news

According to Ecclesiastical’s findings though, the challenge to recruit from more diverse backgrounds has dropped with 47% saying it was a challenge this year compared to 54% last year.

And, while 49% of charities said they had found it more difficult to recruit trustees in the last twelve months, this is down 11% on the previous year when 60% said it was more difficult.

What’s needed

When asked what they thought charities could do to encourage more trustees from different backgrounds 47% said more guidance on how to become a trustee should be available, while 40% said more should be done to promote the benefits of trusteeship.

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical, said:

“Trustee Week is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the amazing work charity trustees across the country do.


“It’s also an opportunity to encourage new people to get involved and its clear from this survey that charities acknowledge there are ways to reach a new audience and encourage more diversity at board level.


“By encouraging trustees from a wider range of ages, backgrounds and communities charities can bring in new ideas, identify different opportunities and safeguard against potential risks they’re not currently sighted on.”

Penny Wilson, CEO at Getting on Board, said:

“This fascinating research paints a bleak picture. It is disappointing that there is a fall in the number of charities taking action to improve their trustee board’s diversity.


“We have a long way to go to bring charity board diversity up to that seen in other sectors, let alone to represent the communities we serve. Welcoming a wider group of people to trusteeship presents an incredible opportunity to access more skills, expertise and support for our organisations.”