The Chartered Governance Institute - Irish Region

Irish Region


A role on a charity board

Have you thought about joining the board of an Irish Charity or Not for profit?

In the blog below, Helen Behan, Charity Account Manager at Boardmatch Ireland writes about the oportunities for company secretaries and governance professionals in giving something back to the charity board.

Boardmatch is the only Irish Charity that specialises in matching individuals to Not-For-Profit boards. We assist not for profits identify their skills gaps and help individuals with those skills to fill the skill gaps. This is all carried out through our matching website.

We do this by providing services and support to Not-For-Profits to help them improve and strengthen their board composition.

We know that the right balance of skilled and diverse voluntary trustees provides a Not-For-Profit with the necessary skills and knowledge to respond to change, meet the challenges of the sector and to achieve their strategic objectives all leading to more impact in society.

Role of Company Secretary on Charity Board

The role of a company secretary on a Charity Board is very important for many reasons.

The role encompasses administrative duties such as organising board meetings, minute taking, managing legal updates and background information required by the board of trustees, keeping records of membership, and other similar administrative responsibilities.

Given that many Irish charities are routinely understaffed, and that the responsibility of the Company Secretary is to make assist ensuring that the board operates effectively  and within compliance for its structure, it’s a very important role!

As company secretary on a Charity Board it gives you an opportunity to use your skills in a unique setting. You will be reviewing different policies in charitable context and you will ultimately be contributing to an organisation that you are passionate about that creates impact within the sector.  

The majority of company secretary’s on Charity Boards are also appointed as Charity Trustees and will have full voting rights along with the rest of the Board. This gives the individual a good opportunity to gain hands on experience in the organisation especially if it’s their first Charity Trusteeship!

Benefits of Joining a Charity Board?

By joining a Charity Board, it gives you the opportunity to put into practice, in a voluntary role, the skills that have been developed throughout your studies and career to date. By applying these skills in a voluntary capacity, you not only professionally develop but assist a Charity that requires this experience.

Through a voluntary Trusteeship on a Charity board, individuals can:

  • Contribute to the development of a stronger civil society and stronger communities
  • Develop new business networks
  • Strengthen and develop new leadership skills
  • Transfer essential skills to other sectors of society
  • Experience the governance of an organisation first-hand
  • Increase their desire to up-skill (i.e. HR staff learning to understand a balance sheet, Accountants learning about HR/legal requirements of recruiting staff, etc.)
  • Improve their understanding of a board room environment and the softer skills of negotiation and persuasion that are required in working with a team of peers where there is no reporting line.

How to become a Company Secretary on a Charity Board?

  • Register on the Boardmatch website here you can search through many different company secretary roles in a variety of charities and reach out to those that interest you.

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