Becoming a NED/Trustee

Becoming a NED/Trustee

To be successful in a Non Executive Director (NED) or Trustee role you must align your objectives with your experiences, and aim to match your skills with an organisation where you can be impactful.  

NED and Trustee roles are different to many operational roles in that your background history and personal qualities play a large role too. Attributes and skills that translate well from an executive to a non-executive role include:

  • Analytical and creative thinking
  • Leadership abilities
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Communication skills



There are many benefits to joining a board as either a Trustee or NED:

  • Professional and personal growth
  • Contribution to the sustainable success of an organisation or charity.
  • Making use of your experience and expertise.
  • Intellectual challenge
  • Learning new skills.
  • Broadening your network.
  • Starting or adding to a portfolio career
Portrait of Marianne Davies

"I’ve been in contact with WIG for the last year as I’ve begun to progress my career development through seeking NED/Trustee opportunities. I’ve found the team at WIG to be extremely supportive and have proactively shared potential roles with me. I’m delighted that I’ve recently been appointed to my first role thanks to their support."

Marianne Davies

VP, Head of People Services, GSK

Key considerations

If you are thinking of becoming a NED or Trustee, there are some things you should consider: 

Time required

Make sure you have the time to commit. NED and Trustee roles will advertise the time commitment linked to each role and it is important that you are able to give that, attend the meetings and have time to read the board packs in advance. The time commitments vary, but no board will want a Trustee or NED who is not able to commit to the requirements.

Skill set

Does your skill set align? Boards will often look for specific skill sets, eg Audit and Risk committees will often look for a qualified risk or finance professional, Remuneration committees will often look for HR skill sets and so on. If a specific skill set is required and you don’t have it, it might be worth waiting for the next opportunity to apply.


A passion for what the organisation does is important. Your role will be an important, strategic, guiding and challenging one and you should feel connected to the cause or strategic aims of the organisation.


Prior experience in a NED or Trustee role is not always required and adverts will usually state this, if you are ever in doubt it is worth contacting the recruiter to ask the question.

Legal responsibility

You may have legal responsibilities in your role and it is worth being aware of what those are, what would be considered a breach of those duties and whether insurance is required.


Whilst many meetings have become virtual, it is worth checking what the expectation is, as whilst expenses are often covered for meeting attendance, this is often within reason and budgets may exist.

The difference between Trustee and NED roles

In charities and voluntary organisations throughout the country, the group of people who are responsible for the organisation are the trustees. Trustees work in a group which may also be known as the management committee, executive committee, steering committee, board of directors or board of trustees. It is usually referred to as ‘the board’ and is the body that is legally and financially responsible for the organisation as a whole. The majority of trustees serve as volunteers and receive no payment for their work, but can claim expenses for travel and other necessary outlays.

Trustees make the major decisions affecting the organisation, are responsible for setting out the strategic direction of the charity and seek assurance that it is well managed and meets its objectives. They will also abide by the code of governance for that organisation, whether it be the charity commission or a range of regulators depending on the charities purpose and operating environment.

As a non-executive director (NED), you sit on the board of a company but will have no daily management or operational responsibilities within the business. The role of a NED is to provide constructive challenge and assurance, act as a critical friend, bring different perspectives to decision making, and hold the executive to account. They will also be responsible for ensuring that the board meets the requirements of the regulator in that space. All directors are regarded as “officers” of the company and NEDs are appointed via a letter of appointment. Strong governance dictates that a strong board will have a broad range of skill sets and backgrounds that compliment the objectives of the organisation, bringing a wealth of perspectives to enrich boardroom discussions. NED roles are typically remunerated and this varies with both the size and scope of the organisation, the role (eg chair) and the commitment expected in the boardroom.

Current opportunities and next steps

If you are keen to discuss what the next steps could look like for you, please contact our Talent team or you can view the current vacancies available. 

To keep up-to-date with new opportunities and vacancies, you can also sign-up to our NED & Trustee mailing list via the Interest Centre in your WIG account area


Current vacancies