Trustees Week: Becoming a DPF Trustee through changing times

My previous trustee roles have been with organisations in a variety of sectors and I wanted to go back to a charity sector I was familiar with and felt that I knew well. I’d worked in the past at the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing so becoming a trustee of DPF felt like a natural step! The work DPF does really is more important for the dance community than ever, particularly in the current economic climate, and it’s a privilege to be a position to be able to offer whatever support I can as a trustee.

The cost-of-living crisis is resulting in increasing pressures on charities and the people and communities that they support. According to The Food Foundation, in April 2022, 7.3 million adults and 2.6 million children experienced food insecurity, while hundreds of arts charities face uncertainty over future funding after Arts Council England announced delays to a £436m grants programme. Anyone working in the charity sector will appreciate how incredibly difficult it is to effect change, and the additional pressures on charity services only serve to increase that challenge as they help to support people affected by major social issues every day.

Great communications is essential in helping charities to support their communities more effectively as well as increasing brand awareness and improving their fundraising. At the heart of all comms should be a clear mission, which then makes it much easier to create succinct messaging that aligns with a charity’s overall objectives and appeals to their audiences. Keeping audiences in mind is key, particularly when it comes to accessible communications – not everyone has the same tools, time or ability to access and process messages.

Always having the mission in mind helps charities make more effective decisions, from creating new services to launching on a new social media platform, by remembering why they do what they do, and who they are trying to support. As well as planning ahead, with a clear comms strategy and social media schedule, it’s really useful to track impact, which not only lets you know what’s working well, but also provides data and evidence around the difference that a charity is making.

Working as a trustee can help charities and the work that they do in lots of different ways, from offering support in how they can adapt to an ever-changing climate to working together to make the best decisions to increase their impact and reach. It’s a hugely rewarding thing to do, using your skills and experience to support the fantastic work of a charity, and I’d recommend it to anyone who might be thinking of becoming a trustee!


Sarah is head of membership at CharityComms, the professional membership body for those working in communications in the charity sector. CharityComms supports its members through training, resources, mentoring, careers advice and networking. Sarah is also a comms volunteer for Charities Against Hate, a group of more than 40 UK charities working to combat online hate and provide support for those working in social media in the third sector.

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