Participation in a Charitable Trust

You’ve decided you’d like to join a Charitable Trust but are not sure how to go about it, what roles are available, or really even what’s involved.  Charitable Trusts require financial, time and work commitment to benefit the charities for which they are established.  You will want to choose a charity for which you are passionate and feel a strong commitment.  You will also want to insure your willingness to give back to your community or organization is sufficient reward for your commitment; Trusts are not typically personal revenue streams.

Chairman or Lead Trustee

Once you’ve chosen the charity, you can decide your level of desired involvement.  If you’d like to establish and Chair a Charitable Trust, you will need to be willing to make a financial commitment, usually substantial.  You will also want to gather as many others as possible who are willing to make both financial and time commitment as you are, so there are is a solid economic and effort-entrusted basis for the establishment of the Trust.

As Chairman of the Trust, in addition to your financial commitment, you will also be responsible to insure a Deed is completed for the Trust clearly identifying the roles and obligations of the trustees, the size and roles of the management group, and means for distribution and administration of the Trust.  You will also oversee and insure the actions of the groups, both management and trustees; will mediate any disputes or dissension among the other trustees; and insure the actions of the people involved with the trust are honorable and supportive of the Trust’s Deed and charity.


If you join the group as a trustee, you a part of the team responsible for management of the Trust including but not limited to financial planning, budgeting, human resource and management policies and administration, compliance with laws governing Charitable Trusts, strategic direction of the charity, and supervising and insure compliance of the management team for the Trust.  Trustees must also sanction and guide the management team.

In addition to the time and finances directly committed to the Trust, a trustee must also be able to personally insure the Trust’s compliance to contractual obligations, and to any legal or financial shortfalls.  If you should choose to become a member of a Trust, it would be prudent to seek legal guidance so as to limit your personal liability.  You will want to insure any financial obligations you commit to on behalf of the Trust are coverable by the Trust’s assets so you are not personally liable.  You may want to review an existing Trust Deed to insure the trustees’ rights to indemnification have not been waived.  There is also an option to consider insurance to limit your obligations.


If you are not in a position to participate as a trustee, you may want to join a Trust as a manager or part of the management team.  A manager (or management team) is usually a hired position and responsible for the day-to-day mechanics of the administration and in cases where real property is owned, day-to-day maintenance, of the assets of the Trust.  The management team may consist only of a manager and the resources they outsource; or there may be multiple individuals involved.  The manager’s role is to direct and administer the Trust according to the Deed and at the direction of the Trustees.