Trustee research on charities 2023

Research has been conducted on behalf of the Charity Commission by Yonder to better understand both public trust in charities and trustees experience of their role.

The report found:

  • Trustees’ understanding of their role and confidence in performing it remains high. Trustees feel able to align appropriately with public expectations and protect charities and their beneficiaries from harm. A vast majority of trustees prefer caution over risk in their approach to spending, while a similar proportion feels it should be a charity’s core purpose rather than trustees’ judgement that guides their decisions.
  • The majority of trustees are confident that the boards they sit on reflect the views of all stakeholders. Smaller charities appear to rely largely on organic means of trustee recruitment, while larger charities also employ more formal processes.
  • Trustees want and, for the most part, perceive balance in the Commission’s regulatory approach. Those who do not feel the Commission is balanced are evenly split between those who see more emphasis on dealing with wrongdoing and those who see more emphasis on helping charities do things the right way. Those who have had relevant dealings with the Commission feel for the most part that they have been dealt with fairly.
  • Charity law is seen as having the greatest influence on the Commission, yet some trustees also see other influences at work. The strongest sense, both of influence and non-influence from elsewhere, comes from those who use the Commission most.
  • The Charity Commission is not the main source of advice and guidance, but it is found to be useful by those who exploit it. Trustees continue to turn first to colleagues and other trustees or to the internet for advice and guidance.


Read more below.