I Estimate Joining UK Charity Boards is worth £500/​hour

A friend recom­mended sign­ing up to a web­site which finds trustees for char­i­ties. I’ve done a lit­tle re­search and es­ti­mate that it’s worth about £500/​hour. Please check and sug­gest cor­rec­tions, es­pe­cially if you know any­thing about how much im­prove­ment is pos­si­ble in UK char­i­ties.

There are a num­ber of resources

In 2016, the the es­ti­mated in­come of the UK vol­un­tary sec­tor was £73.1 billion with the top 1%, hold­ing 72% of the in­come.

There is an or­gani­sa­tion “Reach Vol­un­teer­ing” who sup­ply trustees to char­i­ties. Th­ese groups of peo­ple are effec­tively in charge of the CEOs and can set the di­rec­tion of the char­i­ties. With a fo­cus on effec­tive­ness, bet­ter tech­nol­ogy and im­pact re­ports this could lead to bet­ter out­comes whilst still fo­cus­ing on what­ever cause area the char­ity already works on.

From talk­ing to some­one who works with them, they are deeply in need of trustees, par­tic­u­larly those who are tech­ni­cally liter­ate.

I think it is bet­ter to build a model rather than just guess, so I have done so. It is al­most cer­tainly in­cor­rect, please me tell ways it’s flawed. Also if you think I’m wrong to have built a model, let me know.

This comes out at £500/​hour.

Thanks for your time, please let me know if you think I could im­prove the model. I think this was a good use of my time, but feel free to com­ment there also.

If oth­ers choose to sign up to this, please let me know how it goes. Please let’s cre­ate a group so we can share in­sights and use­ful tech­nolo­gies.

There have been a sig­nifi­cant num­ber of ed­its from this piece due to com­ments from @San­jay. Thank you.

The model itself

Model is here and makes the fol­low­ing as­sump­tions.

  • As­sume you get 10 ran­dom char­i­ties to choose from and choose the largest. This as­sump­tion will be easy to test. If it’s ran­dom we can ex­pect a char­ity some­where in the 90-95th per­centile for in­come. I think this is fair since if you don’t find a char­ity high in­come enough, then you can choose to re­ject the ap­pli­ca­tion I guess.

  • As­sume 42 hours of other work you can’t do per year (I’ve heard there are about 6 board meet­ings a year)

  • As­sume 5% im­pact. This guess is low con­fi­dence, let me know if you have any ex­pe­rience. From hav­ing talked to those on char­ity boards, many are not digi­tally savvy in mar­ket­ing and pro­ject man­age­ment, let alone min­ing their data for in­sights or pro­duc­ing good im­pact as­sess­ments. If you’re an ex­pert please get in touch.

  • The model does not pre­cisely ac­count for some char­i­ties do­ing effec­tive work and oth­ers not. In­stead it as­sumes a 5% in­crease, per­haps from £0 of im­pact to 5% of the an­nual in­come or per­haps from 100% of an­nual in­come to 105%. Cer­tainly I don’t think it is ob­vi­ous that only effec­tive char­i­ties should be worth our time be­cause there may be larger in­creases pos­si­ble for less effec­tive char­i­ties. Can you think of a way to more pre­cisely model this. This re­minds me of an ar­ti­cle look­ing at whether it’s bet­ter to help billion­aires spend their money very well or help typ­i­cal peo­ple spend it a lit­tle bet­ter, since there is so much more money in typ­i­cal peo­ple’s al­tru­ism.