**Applications now closed** Join our trustee board

We’re looking for four new trustees to join our board at Shift. If you’ve got a love of social change, a passion for community-led design and are excited about working with a charity that is challenging existing governance structures – you might be perfect for us.


  • Position: Shift board trustee
  • Application deadline: Rolling basis until 12 May 2023
  • Interviews: Rolling basis until 26 May 2023
  • Appointments made: 2 June 2023
You can download the trustee recruitment pack here and express your interest via two short questions here.


Our work

We exist to create on-the-ground social change that is visibly improving the lives of people most negatively impacted by systemic inequality. Here are three projects we’re working on at the moment to give you an idea of our work:

The UK’s first community-led incubator, Eastlight Homes

We’re working with four teams of community entrepreneurs to research, design and prototype community initiatives to tackle local issues including the cost of living, mental health, social isolation and opportunities for young people.

A new social investment fund for marginalised founders, Growth Impact Fund

We’re part of a consortium (with Big Issue Invest and UnLtd) designing and delivering a new investment fund for social entrepreneurs who are typically underserved and underrepresented in social ventures.

A new service helping over 50s find jobs after redundancy, Ageing Better

We co-designed a new redundancy course with 56 older workers and frontline staff, which helps them process redundancy, build their confidence and get a job that they actually want. It’s currently being delivered in pilot across the West Midlands.

How we organise

At Shift, we believe in practising what we preach. That’s why in 2020, we started a long journey to transition from a founder-led organisation to a self-managing, roles-based organisation. When starting this journey, we knew it would be one of ongoing learning. Trying to operate differently in a hierarchical world that requires ‘directors’ and ‘boards’ means there is friction. But we think it’s worth it!

To give you a taster of what this means in the team – we don’t do line management, every team member runs their own reviews and our salaries are transparent. So far, we haven’t explored what this could mean for our relationship with the board, but we would love to pick this up with people passionate about changing charity governance. You’ll love being a trustee at Shift if you’re no ego, kind, collaborative and have fire in your belly to challenge how things work!

About the role

At the heart of Shift’s work is the knowledge that we make better, more impactful decisions as a diverse group of individuals working towards a common mission. This means we want to make our board more representative. We encourage applications from people of all backgrounds, all ages, all types of formal or informal education and those with or without experience working in charities or as a trustee. If you’re looking to take on a trustee role for the first time, we’d be happy to support you with whatever you need, including training or mentoring.

To support us into the next phase of our journey, we’re looking for people with experience in one or more of these areas:

Shifting power through design
  • You may be experienced in community building, grassroots activism or people-led change in an area or issue you’re passionate about.
  • You may be experienced in participatory design or research, co-production, and be able to help push our practice.
  • You may think that power sits in the wrong hands today and want to support us in achieving our vision of community-led change.
Workplace and organising
  • You may be interested or have experience with organisations that don’t adhere to traditional models of hierarchy (e.g. self-management, holacracy, TEAL, horizontal leadership) and be able to advise us on improving our ways of working and organising.
  • You may be able to support us in becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation, both in our work and in how we manage ourselves.
  • You may want to challenge how charity governance works and reimagine the role of a board.
Building sustainable partnerships
  • You may have connections with social purpose organisations that you think will be great partners for us and be able to connect us and build sustainable partners.
  • You may agree with us that we’ve got ideas that can transform social innovation and be able to promote and spread our message through your networks.
  • Experience with the challenges we’re trying to tackle
  • You have experience of the social challenges we’re working to address – that experience might be in your personal or professional life, or because of your identity.
  • You may have experienced working with us as a member of the community and want to help us to spread our impact.
Financial and commercial
  • You may have experience in financial and commercial management and be able to help and challenge us to be a sustainable organisation.

You don’t need previous experience to be a trustee. In its simplest form, trustees have a set of legal responsibilities to adhere to (you can find more details here). These are:

  • Make sure Shift carries out its purposes for the public benefit
  • Comply with Shift’s governing document and the law
  • Act in Shift’s best interests
  • Manage Shift’s resources responsibly and in pursuit of its objectives
  • Act with reasonable care and skill
  • Make sure Shift is accountable

These statutory duties are defined by law and are the minimum requirements for our trustees. We’re looking for people who can and are motivated to go beyond the minimum requirements of the role by contributing to our development as an organisation.

How to apply

We want to make this application process as simple as possible. The five steps are described below:

  1. (Optional) Book an informal chat with Oli (who are responsible for Shift) to learn more or ask any questions
  2. Review the recruitment pack and submit your expression of interest by Friday 12 May
  3. Interview with our current trustees, Polly and/or Liz, on a rolling basis up to 26 May
  4. Appointments made by 2 June
  5. The first board meeting for appointed trustees is on 20 June

The link for the expression of interest will request the following:

  • Two short questions about your experience and interest in the role
  • A request for your CV
  • A question on your eligibility, which you can find more information about here

As we are looking to appoint multiple trustees, we are anticipating another round of recruitment before the board meeting on the 20 September, so if you are unable to apply this time, please do let us know by expressing your interest to hello@shiftdesign.org.