Trusty trustees

7th March 2013 by

Since leaving the Otesha staff team in 2012, I’ve been on the board of trustees. So far it’s been pretty good: I’ve kept in touch with my Otesha friends; still had a say in the development of the organisation; worked alongside other trustees from backgrounds I wouldn’t come into to contact with in my usual life (like lawyers); eaten a lot of biscuits and humous (not together) and learnt loads.

We’re looking for more fabulous people to join our board of trustees.

Although the staff team at Otesha has a flat structure, as a charity we still have a board who have overall responsibility and so need to approve all the big decisions.

Here’s why you should think about joining the Otesha board:

  • You learn a lot about how a small charity operates
  • You get to help develop our strategy
  • You get to be involved in supporting a small team and working out how a flat structure can be most effective
  • We’re all nice people here
  • It looks great on your CV, not that that’s a good reason to become a trustee, but it looks good on your CV for a valid reason because you learn a LOT
  • Otesha is a wicked little charity. We’re 5 years old now which means in some ways we’re quite stable and know some stuff, and in other ways we’re dynamic, up for new ideas and still figuring lots out
  • We have nice biscuits and humous (not together) at our meetings

We’d particularly like to sit round a board table with people who bring some relevant skills but are also wanting to develop new ones by being a trustee, for example you could be wanting to learn more about the charity sector and bring skills from another sector.

Get in touch if:

  • You’re interested in non-hierarchical structures and want to support this one
  • You love what Otesha do
  • You’re willing to commit one evening a month to meetings, plus a bit of time in between supporting staff or preparing for meetings, and one strategy weekend each year
  • You get that being a trustee is quite a bit of commitment (you take on legal and financial responsibility for Otesha) and are only a little bit fazed by that

It would definitely help if you have any of the following:

  • Experience or an interest in any of the areas of Otesha’s work (like green jobs, young people, cycling, sustainable living etc. etc.)
  • Know the East London communities we work in
  • Experience in finance or fundraising
  • A solid strategic head on you
  • A background or interest in HR, staff development and mentoring
  • Experience of or an interest in consensus decision making and flat structures

So it’s a real commitment, but one that shouldn’t be too scary, and the effectiveness and dedication of the board members has a real impact on Otesha. Board members have the opportunity to make a positive difference to Otesha and to the people we work with, and a contribution towards our aims. And if we all do it well, we won’t be bored in board meetings.

Download more info: Otesha trustee role description2013

If you think this is you, but aren’t totally sure about it, email me  ( and we can arrange a time to chat about it.

To apply: please send a CV and covering letter telling us why you want to be a trustee for Otesha to
Deadline: 28th March 2013

How to get a job you love (and that loves you)

20th January 2012 by

We’ve been doing a lot of hiring at Otesha recently, so we’ve pulled together our collective wisdom to bring you a few tips for getting a job you love in an organisation that will love you back.

  • You’re sending the application to a person, not a Sir/Madam, so use their name. If you’re not sure who to address your application to, call up and ask.
  • Read everything you can about the organisation and the role before you apply.
  • The covering letter is the key thing. After reading your letter we should know if we want to interview you or not. Your CV should back up everything you say in your covering letter, but it’s only a supporting document.
  • Otesha is a pretty informal organisation – we like covering letters that sound like real people wrote them, ones that will make us smile when we read them. Not all organisations will appreciate such an informal approach, but no one wants to read a letter that could’ve been written by a computer.
  • At Otesha, the first thing we want to know is why you want to work here and what you think is special about this organisation.
  • The second thing we want to know about you is why you really really really want to do the role you’re applying for.
  • It’s helpful to address every point in the person specification in the order they appear in the job posting. Imagine it’s the early hours of the morning and you’re desperately trying to get 100 applications down to a shortlist of 20. The easier you can make it for the person reading your application the better.
  • Your covering letter should usually be 1-2 sides long. Any shorter and we’re wondering why you don’t have the enthusiasm or experience to fill a page. Any longer and we think that you’re not able to communicate in a concise manner.
  • Don’t just tell us that you have ‘experience working in a team’ – we need to know where, how etc. Back up everything with clear examples of your experience.
  • Voluntary experience is just as valid as paid work experience.
  • End your letter telling us anything else great about you that might be relevant to the role.
  • Don’t bother sending off generic applications. We can tell if we’re receiving the same application you sent off for a different job last week! If you’re not interested enough to write a new cover letter, I’m afraid we’re probably not interested either.
  • Be meticulous, get someone to proof read your cover letter and CV. If the job specification asks for excellent written skills, your application needs to be excellently written.

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