What is a Youth Advisory Board?

This article defines youth advisory boards by their purpose and the typical activities they might get involved with.
young trustee

What is a Youth Advisory Board?

This article defines youth advisory boards by their purpose and the typical activities they might get involved with.
Contents

Youth Advisory Boards tend to be different from charity to charity, as a board and committee would be, but this article really defines it by the youth advisory board’s purpose and the typical activities they might get involved with.

Why have a Youth Advisory Board, and what is their purpose?

For businesses, the concept of a Customer Advisory Board is increasingly being implemented to help build customer-centric products and experiences. The idea being that it provides a structured way to gain feedback from their most loyal customers. This will inevitably help them in decision-making, but also involve the very people they want to adopt the new product.

With similar benefits, youth advisory boards are being adopted by some charities. There is a need to include younger people in the conversation, take on board their ideas, as these are the very people that are the future of the sector. For youth-centric charities, they or their peers may be the beneficiaries. Just as having people with lived experience on the board is good idea, having future potential trustees, decision-makers and charity leaders involved too in some way is beneficial for them and for the charity.

Teenage Cancer Trust’s board is made up of around 30 young people who have been affected by cancer and have had direct experience of TCT’s services. It is in their joining criteria, to have received support from them and be less than 2 years post-treatment.

The NCS describe their youth advisory board as “an integral part of our governance and decision making processes, ensuring we are held accountable and continue to listen to the voices of the young people we exist to serve as a youth organisation.”

What do Youth Advisory Boards do?

Youth Advisory Boards vary in their formation and what they are involved in, but often include:

  • Presenting research or ideas to trustee boards, staff and other stakeholders
  • Getting involved in annual reports
  • Crafting new policies
  • Reviewing policies and safeguarding
  • Media and communications
  • Fundraising
  • One-off projects such as a research, peer support group or resource
  • Advocacy work and much more

Teenage Cancer Trust’s group are involved in “critical activities, such as helping recruit members of our Senior Leadership Team, creating our strategy and shaping our policy work. And that’s on top of things like helping us engage with more young people, develop peer support projects and helping to make our services even better across the UK.”

At Sculpt UK, the board gets involved in evaluating funding bids, policy work and its advocacy and campaigning work, as well as its own magazine communications.

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