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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Making payments to trustees

Unpaid trusteeship is a distinctive feature of charities which contributes greatly to public confidence and trust in them.

However, there are circumstances when a charity will provide some form of payment to its trustees, for example, reimbursing trustees for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as part of their work for the charity. This is important to help ensure the position of charity trustee is accessible to people from a range of backgrounds and that no trustee is out of pocket as a result of work carried out on behalf of the charity.  

If the correct policies and processes are followed, trustees may also be paid where they provide services to the charity that are distinct from their role as a trustee. In exceptional circumstances and, again, if the correct processes are followed, a charity may also seek to remunerate a trustee for their trusteeship.

When considering the issue of payments to trustees it is important to remember that trustees must act in the best interests of the charity and ensure that their own personal interests do not come into conflict with the interests of the charity. 

For more information on trustee expenses and payments please read the Commission’s Making payments to trustees guidance, available below, which is aimed at helping charities to be informed and confident when identifying whether they can, or should, make a payment to a trustee.  

CCNI EG046 Making payments to charity trustees

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Please note that the law in this area can be complex and, while the Commission’s guidance is a helpful tool, charities may wish to take their own professional advice. 

A charity that wishes to apply for consent to make a payment may need to refer to other guidance produced by the Commission, for example, consents for charitable companies or authorising transactions.