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Seeking a new trustee

Environmental Funders Network Board Opening

Position: Part-time (see Terms of Engagement, below)

Salary: Board member roles are unremunerated but expenses are paid such as travel in order to support attendance at board meetings.

Application deadline: Tuesday 30 June 2020 (COB)

Who are we? The Environmental Funders Network (EFN), based in the UK, brings together more than 200 trusts, foundations and individuals making grants on environmental and conservation issues. Our mission is to increase the overall level of financial support for environmental causes and to help increase the effectiveness of environmental philanthropy.

What impact could you make as a board member? We are looking for board members who are passionate about ensuring that there are sufficient resources, strategically targeted, to address the environmental crisis that affects all of us. We have three main strands of work that you could help enhance:

Improving the effectiveness of environmental philanthropy: We convene established funders through regular meetings and an annual two-day retreat; we conduct research into the grants market to highlight the gaps and what the sector most needs to be more effective, and we help funders learn from each other. We are always looking for new ideas for how best to foster collaboration and more strategic philanthropy.

Expanding environmental philanthropy: We encourage wealthy individuals and foundation trustees to support environmental causes at scale, largely through peer-to-peer conversations at curated events, as well as publications and research. We work in partnership with a wide range of organisations to broaden our reach.

Improving the effectiveness of the environment sector: Building on the findings of our research and regular conversations with people from across the sector, EFN has begun to focus more broadly on how to help the environment sector at large become more effective. That work includes convenings and workshops (e.g. on communications, diversity & inclusion, fundraising) and a new network for environmental fundraisers. We would benefit from trustees with experience in the sector and a birds’ eye view of its needs and opportunities for strengthening its effectiveness.

In particular, we are looking to enhance the following on our board:

  • Experience of the third sector beyond environmentalism, e.g. development, equality, social justice, health, communities – to foster linkages to these issues and bring contacts
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion – understanding that environmental issues are inextricably intertwined with these three issues
  • Communications and PR
  • Experience of working with large businesses, investors, politicians or other stakeholders that typically form targets of environmental campaigns and advocacy

Who should apply? EFN is committed to achieving greater diversity in its board, and actively encourages applications from people from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, working class backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities, disabilities, adults of all ages, and people with a broad variety of views and perspectives.

We encourage those with experience in philanthropy to apply, but also people who have been beneficiaries of philanthropic funding and can share their knowledge and expertise.

If you’d like to be a board member but face barriers in applying such as accessibility issues, health issues, caring responsibilities or other concerns, please get in touch to discuss what EFN could do to support you.

Essential Tasks of the Board

  • Support EFN’s staff to develop the organisation’s strategy to accomplish our mission of improving the effectiveness of environmental philanthropy and increasing the amounts of funding going to environmental causes. The board is also responsible for guarding EFN’s vision and values.
  • Ensure that EFN complies with its constitution and that all activities conducted by the charity comply with its charitable objectives.
  • Ensure that the organisation is accountable as required by law to:
    1. The Charity Commission
    2. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
    3. The board also needs to make sure EFN is accountable to all its stakeholders, including EFN’s funders, its members, other funders and the environmental NGO sector at large. This means publishing annual reports and accounts and communicating effectively.
  • Ensure compliance with the law. The Charity Commission provides an excellent Governance Code which frames everything that we do: In addition, the board is responsible for making sure that all the organisation’s activities are legal. The current relevant legislation is the Charities Acts 2011 and 2016 (fundraising) and the Companies Act 2006.
  • Maintain proper fiscal oversight: the board is responsible for effectively managing the organisation’s resources so it can meet its charitable objects. We have a Finance & General Purposes Committee to review these things in depth, but it is the responsibility of the full board to:
    1. Secure resources to fulfil the mission, if required
    2. Monitor spending
    3. Approve the annual financial statement and budget
    4. Provide insurance to protect the organisation from liability
    5. Seek to minimise risk
    6. Ensure legal compliance
  • Establish and monitor policies to govern organisational activity.
  • Select, manage and support the EFN Director.
  • Respect the role of all staff and conduct good employment practices. These protect the organisation and those who work for it, covering recruitment; support, appraisal, remuneration and discipline.
  • Maintain effective board performance. The board keeps its own house in order, guided by the Charity Commission Governance Code of Conduct. It ensures:
    1. Productive meetings
    2. High standards of trustee conduct
    3. Transparency and clarity about dealing with conflicts of interest
    4. Effective committees with adequate resources
    5. Development activities
    6. Recruitment and induction processes
    7. Regular performance reviews
    8. Partnership with consultants where necessary
  • Promote and enhance the reputation of organisation, through its own behaviour, governance oversight and activities on behalf of the organisation. Board members should be great ambassadors for EFN.

Terms of Engagement

Trustees cannot be paid for fulfilling the normal duties of a trustee, though all expenses incurred while on the business of the EFN will, of course, be reimbursed.

The time commitment expected includes:

  • Attendance at quarterly board meetings (in London or held virtually, though when a new board member joins the board is committed to meeting in person until such relationships are established to make virtual meetings feasible again – contingent on current pandemic-related guidelines). Each quarterly meeting lasts no more than two hours.
  • Attendance at annual Away Day, typically held within 1.5 hours of London
  • Attendance where possible at the annual EFN Retreat for funders (for trustees who are funders themselves)
  • Attendance at some EFN events each year, to get a sense of the offerings of the network
  • Participation on a sub-committee of the board (currently these are the Programme Committee and the Finance and General Purpose Committee), which meets shortly before most quarterly board meetings (these meetings are also no more than two hours, often less)

How to apply:

Please send a letter (no longer than one page) to outlining why you are interested in the role and what skills in particular you could contribute to the organisation, and attaching your C.V.

Deadline:  30 June 2020