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I just wanted to let all my readers know that this blog has now moved to a new home here.

This site will be up for a few more months at least, but I don’t intend to add new content on it, so if you would like to read my posts and find out what I’m up to, please sign up on the new site.

Thanks so much to everyone who has read this blog  and helped inspire me to try to take it to the next level! It means a great deal.

If you would like to learn more about why I have moved the blog, the first post on the new site explains a little more.




Posted by: alexswallow | November 21, 2014 Launches On Monday!

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The moment has nearly arrived- on Monday (24th November) at 9am, will launch!

Please take a look at the launch page for more information and to sign up.

Thanks to all the many people who are already supporting it and sharing it- see more on Twitter via the hashtag #launchswallow

If you enjoy this blog I would greatly appreciate if you have time to share this tweet, to look out for the launch on Monday and to spread the word to your contacts who you think might be interested.

Driving Change, Unlocking Potential……






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It’s been an incredible Trustees’ Week so far. One of the things I have been struck by is the interest that there has been in young people becoming Trustees.

I have seen so many tweets about young people as Trustees being discussed at conferences, seminars and meetings across the country.

There have been more articles written about young people as Trustees than I have ever seen before.

In no particular order, here are the ones I have found:

A Guardian post from Mita Desai, Chair of the British Youth Council

A report on the new Young Trustees survey launched by CAF and Leon Ward (an Ambassador for Young Charity Trustees). The survey itself is here

A blog for NPC by David Bull

A blog by Mike Zywina, owner of Lime Green Consulting

A blog for SCVO by Ilse Mackinnon

An article by Robbie Cowbury for Alliance Magazine

A piece for Do-It, again by Leon Ward and another piece from Leon here for WCVA

My own piece for NPC, just before Trustees’ Week began

Post from Dr Miles Weaver (an Ambassador for  Young Charity Trustees)

Alex Dwek from BeyondMe

An introduction to the young Board of Student Volunteering Cardiff

A post for the I Am Group’s Blog

An article about a new club from It’s Good 2 Give

An interview with Michelle Wright on the Cause4 website

A post by Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire

A Sunday Times interview with Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett


 This article from last year that links to our work was also widely shared.

If I have missed any blogs or articles about young trusteeship, and I will be delighted if I have, please add them to the comments below so that more people can see them.

Oh- and the new Young Charity Trustees website is on the way, please look out for it in spring next year. In the meantime, please get involved on our LinkedIn group or engage with our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Our most comprehensive recent post on getting young people involved as Trustees is here.


Posted by: alexswallow | November 14, 2014

Top five tips for #GivingTuesday in the UK

I don’t feel I know enough about #GivingTuesday so it was good to read this on Zoe’s blog!

Zoe Amar

This is a guest blog by Holly Mitchell, the #GivingTuesday Campaign Manager at CAF.  I’ll be chairing their webinar on how charities can use Facebook for #GivingTuesday on 19 November.

#GivingTuesday in the UK, now less than a month away, has been a long time in the making. Here at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)  we have been planning since the beginning of the year. It has been fascinating to see it grow from four of us sat planning round a table to the mass movement it is now with nearly 500 partners on board.

Over the course of this year we have witnessed lots of different approaches and ways of engaging with #GivingTuesday and I would like to share our top five tips with you. Hopefully they will help enhance your own #GivingTuesday campaigns or inspire you to get involved!

Set a specific goal

The best examples from…

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Do you want to learn more about how you can have a good personal brand as a charity leader?

If  so, go here to download our report (you will need to sign up as a member with the Charity Leaders’ Exchange).

This is a subject that is becoming increasingly important in our professional lives, but is seemingly little discussed in the charity sector. The report includes insights from our recent evening Seminar.

An issue we tackled head on at the seminar is that some people feel that ‘personal branding’ is only for people who have big egos and that charity leaders should be focusing on championing the brand of the charity they serve, not their own. I hope that the report convinces you that ego isn’t part of the equation: personal branding is about deciding who you are and your values and communicating it to others in an authentic, human way.

Many people work for particular charities precisely because their values chime with the aims of those charities. If their values didn’t chime, they would be likely either to loathe their jobs or to not be an effective advocate of the work of their organisation.

I also hope that the report convinces you that you don’t really choose to have a personal brand: everyone has one, even more so in our online age.

Even if you choose to be offline as much as possible, that is making a statement about your values and priorities: that is your brand too.

If you don’t take control of your personal brand, you run the risk of being misinterpreted, misunderstood and misrepresented. If you do take control, you can use your personal brand to amplify your effectiveness, support your career and weather professional storms when they loom into view. Your personal brand is something that you can work on and develop your whole life.

The report outlines and explains five tips to help you get your personal brand on track: be authentic, be consistent, be focused, be supportive and be patient. I hope that they are useful to you.

I happen to find personal branding a fascinating subject: while I don’t expect everyone to share my interest I do think it is worth you giving it a bit of consideration and deciding how you could use it to have a positive impact on your life.

To see some of the comments from the branding debate online and to offer your own views, please use the hashtag #personalbrand on Twitter. You can find the Charity Leaders’ Exchange Twitter account here.




Posted by: alexswallow | November 9, 2014

#socialceos- Growing Year On Year!

This week the new list of the 30 Top Social CEOs was revealed and I just wanted to make sure that my blog’s readers heard about it. I was very proud to be on the list last year, the first year of the competition.

If you read Zoe Amar’s blog (the organiser, along with Matt Collins) you can find a link to both her Guardian Voluntary post and the briefing produced to go along with the Awards.

It was also wonderful to see Beth Kanter write a piece about the Awards, which just shows how much they are growing.

If you use the #socialceos hashtag on Twitter you can find out a lot more.

I think it is so important that Chief Executives of charities use social media and although I am no longer a Chief Exec in the sector I try to do my bit to encourage those who are. I also think that using social media effectively is a fantastic boost for charity Trustees. With #Trusteesweek coming up this week, it is worth thinking about. If you follow Pauline Roche on Twitter, she has set up a list of social trustees that you might enjoy taking a look at.




Posted by: alexswallow | November 2, 2014

Pupils are Consultants for a Day to Government

Great post from Kieren Exley- very impressed with his work. I helped out at this event.


1st November 2014

Reform– The word still fresh in the minds of a group of emphatic students and teachers who on friday visited the Department for Education in London.  The topic of the day was “Reforming qualifications and the curriculum to better prepare pupils for life after school”; the subjects included for GCSE:

• Citizenship
• Cooking and nutrition
• Drama
• Design technology

And for A-level:
• Drama and theatre

For those of you who don’t know, theDepartment for Education (DfE) is responsible for education and children’s services in England.  Ayath Ullah (@ayathullah), invited me to attend the event.


In the UK the proportion of students receiving good results in literacy and numeracy has gone up, however, employers and universities are dissatisfied with school leavers.  Over 40% of employers need to organise additional training for these school leavers joining their team.  Now, I am not saying that…

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The Small Charities Coalition is looking for a new home!

I know I am hugely biased as I worked there and loved it, but the work of the charity is so, so important- helping small charities across the country do an even better job. Small charities don’t always get lots of attention, donations or support, but the amazing work that they do is of no less value.

The team works incredibly hard and needs a base to continue their good work. It’s made such a difference for the Small Charities Coalition to have a good place to exist for the first part of its’ history and now as it continues its crucial work it’s essential that doesn’t change.

So please, read their plea for a new home in full, spread the word and let them know if you have any ideas. They need a new place by February 2015.

A bit of an intro to the work of the Small Charities Coalition:







Posted by: alexswallow | October 28, 2014

How To Become A Young Trustee


The podcast above gives reasons for why young people should be Trustees and talks a little bit about my own Trustee Journey and why I set up Young Charity Trustees.

It includes 5 tips for young people who want to become trustees:


1 Passion matters so much

2 Think outside the box when finding a role

3 Be as open-minded as you can about the role you choose

4 Consider how your skills complement those of the existing board members

5 Think how you can make the biggest difference



It also features 5 tips for charities who want to bring young trustees onto their Board:


1 Have a clear ask on your website, driving traffic back there. It’s the best place to sell yourself

2 Don’t try to get ‘down with the kidz’

3 Consider if there is anything in the general way your Board is set up (meeting times etc) that would discourage young people

4 Provide an offer of induction, training and maybe a buddy system. This would be good for all new Trustees, not just young ones

5 Be  confident in the knowledge that there are a lot of potential young trustees out there- by thinking of them, you have a wider pool of applicants

(I give a fuller explanation of these tips in the podcast itself)


At Young Charity Trustees, we are really looking forward to Trustees’ Week 2014, which starts on the 10th of November.

In the run up to the Week we have been promoting the Trustees’ Week Thunderclap, speaking at an event in Canary Wharf to encourage young trustees and speaking about Board Diversity at the Lord Mayor’s Charity Chairs Conference at Mansion House.

Soon we will speaking about young people and the charity sector at an ACOSVO Conference in Edinburgh (while there we hope to meet up with our allies at Young Trustees in Scotland) and in Trustees’ Week itself we will be helping run seminars at two destinations in Wales with the Wales Audit Office.

Please use the hashtag #youngtrustees if you want to talk about these issues during the Week itself or indeed at any time. You can find us on Twitter here, on LinkedIn here and on Facebook here.

Thanks very much to all our Ambassadors who promote our work throughout the year. When our new website is complete we hope to introduce them to you properly. One of our Ambassadors, Leon Ward, recently wrote this great piece about Trusteeship.

It is a great time to try to become a young trustee. More and more charities are thinking about trying to recruit young people for their boards and more and more young people are deciding to take the plunge. Excellent recent research from Getting on Board, chimes with research that was carried out for us last year– both show the great appetite that young people have for Trusteeship and the difference that it makes for their professional development.

There are thousands if not millions of young people out there right now who have no idea that they could be Trustees but would join Boards with the right encouragement and support. That’s thousands of young people who could give their passion, their skills and their knowledge to charities. Don’t we owe it to our beneficiaries to help make this a reality?

If you do decide that you want to become a Trustee, here is an excellent place to start. Or, if you know someone else who you think would make a fantastic Trustee, please join in with Getting on Board’s campaign by using the #nominateatrustee hashtag.

Oh and just to show that we love celebrating older Trustees too, check out this article about a brilliant Trustee Rap on Good News Shared!

Good luck with your Trustee journey and hope you have a fantastic Trustees Week!


Speaking about Board Diversity:


An interview with me about Young Charity Trustees:


A podcast with the Charity Commission about Trusteeship:


Prezi- So, you want to be a Trustee?

Prezi- Why should you diversify your charity board?



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Posted by: alexswallow | October 27, 2014

Going Back To Cambridge University To Give Careers Advice



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This week I am going back to Emmanuel College at Cambridge University, where I did my undergraduate degree in Social and Political Science.

I’m honoured to have been asked along to an event where a group of ex-students will be helping current students with their careers. I’m particularly hoping that a few of them are interested in the charity sector.

When I think back to my own time at University, I would have loved to have a little more career guidance around a career in the social sector. There certainly weren’t a lot of events or initiatives that would have encouraged me to look at the charity sector- no Charityworks or LYCP back then!

So many students come out of University having done a lot of extra-curricular things (for my own part I was President of the College SU, a charity rep etc) but they don’t know that there is the possibility of a rewarding career supporting charities. That is certainly something I am keen to play my small part in changing. Of course, many students would still choose to go into a more highly-paid private sector career first- especially with increasing levels of debt- but I want them to know that the charity sector is an option.

If you’d like to see my College a little, here is a video.


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