I Estimate Joining UK Charity Boards is worth £500/hour

by Nathan Young 1mo16th Sep 201917 comments

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A friend recommended signing up to a website which finds trustees for charities. I've done a little research and estimate that it's worth about £500/hour. Please check and suggest corrections, especially if you know anything about how much improvement is possible in UK charities.

There are a number of resources

In 2016, the the estimated income of the UK voluntary sector was £73.1 billion with the top 1%, holding 72% of the income.

There is an organisation "Reach Volunteering" who supply trustees to charities. These groups of people are effectively in charge of the CEOs and can set the direction of the charities. With a focus on effectiveness, better technology and impact reports this could lead to better outcomes whilst still focusing on whatever cause area the charity already works on.

From talking to someone who works with them, they are deeply in need of trustees, particularly those who are technically literate.

I think it is better to build a model rather than just guess, so I have done so. It is almost certainly incorrect, please me tell ways it's flawed. Also if you think I'm wrong to have built a model, let me know.

This comes out at £500/hour.

Thanks for your time, please let me know if you think I could improve the model. I think this was a good use of my time, but feel free to comment there also.

If others choose to sign up to this, please let me know how it goes. Please let's create a group so we can share insights and useful technologies.

There have been a significant number of edits from this piece due to comments from @Sanjay. Thank you.

The model itself

Model is here and makes the following assumptions.

  • Assume you get 10 random charities to choose from and choose the largest. This assumption will be easy to test. If it's random we can expect a charity somewhere in the 90-95th percentile for income. I think this is fair since if you don't find a charity high income enough, then you can choose to reject the application I guess.
  • Assume 42 hours of other work you can't do per year (I've heard there are about 6 board meetings a year)
  • Assume 5% impact. This guess is low confidence, let me know if you have any experience. From having talked to those on charity boards, many are not digitally savvy in marketing and project management, let alone mining their data for insights or producing good impact assessments. If you're an expert please get in touch.
  • The model does not precisely account for some charities doing effective work and others not. Instead it assumes a 5% increase, perhaps from £0 of impact to 5% of the annual income or perhaps from 100% of annual income to 105%. Certainly I don't think it is obvious that only effective charities should be worth our time because there may be larger increases possible for less effective charities. Can you think of a way to more precisely model this. This reminds me of an article looking at whether it's better to help billionaires spend their money very well or help typical people spend it a little better, since there is so much more money in typical people's altruism.

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