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Last updated October 12, 2018

Being on a Board of Trustees can be both challenging and demanding, as well as rewarding.  However, sometimes you can end up with a trustee that stays on a bit too long. There are lots of reasons people may not want to go, but here are three of the key ones:

If no-one else is keen to step up to the plate then often the over-stayer can feel guilty about leaving with no successor, or leaving the role to someone who doesn’t really want it. Sometimes they may feel a misplaced sense of duty that requires them to stay until the end.

Some people don’t want to leave because they can’t believe that anyone else will be able to do the job as well as them. These people were often there at the beginning or helped steer the group through a difficult time. They believe they’re the ones with the group’s best interests at heart and if they leave, the walls might fall down.

To some Board members, their role in the organisation has become part of their identity. These people need to feel needed, so it is important to find them another role within your group.

All of these factors highlight the importance of having a succession plan for Trustees. If people know what their term is, how they can step down, and that things will be okay when they are gone, then everyone is more likely to make a smooth transition. It’s also really important that new trustees are inducted properly so every is on the same page from the beginning.

Rosie Julou
Rosie is the General Manager at Exult and works behind the scenes planning, organising and making everything run smoothly.  She is passionate about working in the community sector.

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