Did you know that less than 3% of charity trustees are under 30? We’re partnering with the Young Trustees Movement to change that by promoting young trusteeships and talking to members of the LSE community who already are a young trustee! Zulum Elumogo (BSc in Social Policy with Government, 2018) served as the LSE SU General Secretary between 2018-2020 and was Chairman of the LSESU Trustee Board. Since then, Zulum has been a trustee at the Barbican Centre, Dance Umbrella and Fair Education Alliance! We caught up with Zulum to find out more about his experience as a young trustee.
Why did you become a trustee?
Two reasons: I care and I have a lot to give!
Being a trustee is about service of others. It’s about having a vision and being in a proactive, influential position to integrate that vision strategically into the DNA of an organisation.
The role of a trustee needs to be better understood. Trustee boards hold the management team accountable and scrutinise executive decisions to ensure they’re made in the best interest of those whom the charity serves. The board also safeguards the financial health and reputation of the charity to ensure it survives and thrives long-term.
My governance journey began in my second year at LSE, when I was elected onto the trustee board of the LSESU. I went onto become Chairman of the LSESU and a Governor of the LSE as a whole (not just the SU) between 2018-2020.
Both were incredibly rewarding and enriching experiences because I had the privilege to help create a better environment and experience for LSE students. For example, as Chairman of LSESU I oversaw the evolution of the organisation into an independently-staffed organisation for the first time in ten years. During my time on the LSE Council, I was the student voice that helped shape the 2030 strategy and helped select our new Chairwoman.
You don’t need prior specific experience to be effective – a lot of the practical elements can be learned quickly in the role – but you do need a willingness and determination to learn and add value to the charity.
Which charities are you on the board of?
Barbican Centre – Europe’s largest multi-arts venue, Dance Umbrella – an international dance festival celebrating 21st century choreography across London & Fair Education Alliance – a coalition of over 200 organisations working to end educational inequality.
What have you learned?
That strong, effective leadership is at the heart of any thriving organisation. And by that I don’t mean you need to occupy a leadership role (for instance, be a CEO) to influence change – all you need is conviction, a clear vision and strong communication to get a lot done. Greta Thunberg is a great example of this. She’s shown us that we can all be leaders in our own right – regardless of age or background.
Why would you recommend it to LSE students/alum?
Being a trustee gives you the opportunity to be an instrumental part of something bigger than yourself.
LSE’s greatest strength is its diversity and that is the very thing most boards lack, including in the not-for-profit sector. According to the Charity Commission, only 8% of trustees are people of colour and only 0.5% are aged 18-24 years old! There is so much need and opportunity for the LSE students and alumni to get involved and make an impact within the charity sector.
Diversity in the boardroom is essential to achieving the best ideas. The best organisations will have a healthy balance of people from different backgrounds and experiences, who therefore being a wide array of viewpoints to drive progress farther forward.
Power is sometimes viewed as a dirty word. In truth, power, when used with integrity, purpose and an altruistic spirit of service, is a great thing because it allows us to shape affairs for the better. I believe LSE people have the skillset and ethos to use power positively.
My advice is: firstly, find something you’re passionate about and believe in – for me that’s diversity & inclusion, creativity & the Arts and equal access to quality education.
Secondly, determine what contribution you can make: that may be your experience, expertise, network or simply your passion and drive.
Lastly, find an organisation that aligns with your purpose where you can add value. Get involved! Being a trustee also opens many other doors – as you give, you also gain!
If we’ve inspired you to become a Young Trustee, take a look at the opportunities available on the Young Trustees Movement vacancy board. Looking for other volunteering opportunities? Check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. If you are short on time, then take a look at the one-off opportunities that will return for Michaelmas Term 2021, organised by the LSE Volunteer Centre. And why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.