NOAH (New Opportunities and Horizons) is an established Luton-based charity working across Bedfordshire, offering hope and support to people struggling against homelessness and exclusion. . They achieve this through a welfare service providing food, clothing, medical and dental care, outreach support and advice on accommodation and income support; by running training courses to prepare people for life and employment; and creating opportunities for people who are long-term unemployed to gain work experience and training. The charity is one of many around the world which draws its inspiration from St Vincent de Paul, who taught about the importance of active work to help the poorest in society.
NOAH were founded as a grassroots charity over 30 years ago, but had begun to grow rapidly, stretching both their senior management and governance teams. Following the expansion of the Senior Management Team, NOAH were keen to ensure that its Board as a whole had the right skills to provide strategic oversight and guidance to the SMT, allowing them to effectively deliver on the strategic plan. NOAH identified a skills gap in the disciplines of HR and Fundraising. The organisation were also keen to attract Trustees with a strong interest in or knowledge of its cause, who shared NOAH’s organisational values (regardless of religious background) and to increase the diversity of their Board in the broadest sense of the word. This led to a search for two new volunteer trustees.
Eastside Primetimers consultant Marlijn Wijkhuizen led a search for candidates for each of the required board vacancies, starting by working with NOAH to understand as much as possible about the background and ambitions the organisation – this would inform the vetting for the new roles and enable the consultants to fully advocate for NOAH with prospective candidates.
The Board search focussed on skills and diversity first, and then on locality and knowledge of homelessness and social deprivation. Our team researched the local business, third and public sector communities, first in Bedfordshire and then expanding into London. For each role, they contacted well over 100 people individually, and advertised the role with online fundraising and HR networks. Eastside Primetimers shared the vacancies with its relevant stakeholders too, and the role was advertised on LinkedIn and various other Board recruitment platforms. We put forward 9 high-quality candidates for the HR role and 3 for the Fundraising role.
In the search for trustees, the team helped NOAH identify experienced candidates with fundraising and HR expertise. The charity’s roots in a Christian social justice tradition called for an emphasis on finding people who held a compatible ethos and a deep interest in the issues affecting the lives of NOAH’s beneficiaries. It was also important that the new trustees be able to offer informed challenge to the senior management team, while maintaining a clear line between operations and governance. The appointment process involved a conversation with NOAH’s chief executive, followed by more formal interviews which also included two existing NOAH trustees.
The two new trustees were:
- An accomplished HR professional with long-term senior experience in both the private and third sector, who was comfortable working both on strategic and operational level
- A senior fundraising professional with years of experience working in the UK charity sector in anti-poverty, environment/community and international relief/development charities
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