Crystallized in its slogan “for all, forever”, the goal of the National Trust is to meet the public where it is. But where they are continues to change.
Like all organizations that depend on the public, the perfect formula for attracting public attention has a short lifespan, and therefore adaptation is – at the very least – necessary for self-preservation.
Maintaining relevance requires proactive actions and a conversation with the audience to ensure that all visitors feel welcome in the spaces, regardless of their gender, sexual preferences or heritage.
It also requires innovation, as competition intensifies to grab the attention of visitors with ever more exciting options for their day or weekend trip.
Consultation and communication with the public is necessary in order to better present all the historical details of some buildings which by modern standards include difficult and uncomfortable truths.
These measures are therefore not intended to establish a political agenda, but to serve and fairly reflect an ever-changing public.
Ahead of the National Trust’s annual general meeting next week, the conversation has heated up around the National Trust Restore Trust insurgent group, who say they too want to “focus on evolution. [sic]», But adds« no revolution ».
On its website, the Restore Trust said one of its goals was to restore an “apolitical ethos” to the National Trust. But the rebel group appears to lack a definition of politicization it hopes to eliminate.
Managing Director Hilary McGrady made it clear in a tweet that the National Trust had “no political agenda.”
We have 5.6 million members. We don’t have a political agenda. We welcome all views and respectful debates.
– Hilary McGrady (@HMcG_DGNT) October 13, 2021
But this is a view not supported by Restoring Trust.
Its five founders hope to put into the National Trust a set of candidates, which includes an anti-gay Christian fundamentalist, to undo what he sees as an “impression that [the National Trust] took sides on controversial issues.
He details three resolutions, after having deleted a fourth; a vote of no confidence in former President Tim Parker, who has since resigned. (The National Trust confirmed to the advisor that Parker’s resignation was not in response to Restore Trust’s call to step down.)
Its first resolution is compensation transparency, in particular it calls for “the same level of transparency on compensation as that required by listed companies”.
But the National Trust told the advisor the pay transparency it has already established.
The salary of its managing director, Hilary McGrady, is available on her website, which last year was £ 195,700, following a voluntary 20% pay cut for six months of the year in light of the financial hardship caused by the pandemic.
In a document detailing staff compensation, the National Trust said McGrady’s salary is comparable to “that of leaders of other large charities, senior officials and CEOs of mid-sized private sector organizations.” .
He also highlighted the published salaries of his management team in his annual report, which is publicly available through its website, and provides the number of employees who receive salaries above £ 60,000.
Of his total payroll last year (£ 301million, which includes £ 22.3million in severance pay), he said around 0.4% (£ 1.1million ) had been spent on the salaries of his management team.
Last year’s salary increases were only granted to the lowest paid staff members in response to the statutory increase in the national living wage. All other salaries, including those of the management team, have been frozen at 2019 levels.
Restore Trust’s second resolution calls on the Trust to consult with volunteers before making any changes to the way historic properties are presented – in particular, she says, “never to require its volunteers to wear badges. , symbols or other elements that reflect a political or social point of view, nor expect them to adopt such points of view in their interactions with visitors.
This call is likely, in part, a response to the National Trust asking Ickworth volunteers in Suffolk to wear face paint, sequins and rainbow clothing to mark Pride Month earlier this year, a story that was picked up by the press after reports of some volunteers feeling uncomfortable with the proposal.
In a recent document detailing its communication with volunteers, the National Trust denies that volunteers were coerced into participating.
He said that “despite media reports over the past 12 months, [volunteers] were not required to participate in the pride celebrations.
Despite its claim to restore an “apolitical ethos,” Restore Trust supported National Trust Council candidate Stephen Green, who has long taken a political stance against homosexuality and incorporated that stance into his election proposal by calling question the National Trust’s involvement in the pride celebrations. .
Green, whom The Guardian reports defended laws proposing the execution of some homosexuals, wrote that if elected he would stop what he called “the marketing drills that divide and awaken virtue.” And “its promotion of fashionable ‘awakened’ causes. “
In a 2010 speech, Green described homosexuality as “characterized by hedonism, vanity, immorality, obsessive permissiveness, promiscuity and destructive individualism.”
The leader of the Christian fundamentalist advocacy group Christian Voice highlighted the National Trust’s involvement in the pride celebrations, writing in the annual general meeting of members document that “the elite of the National Trust are obsessed with LGBT issues ”.
If elected, Green said he would ask for details on the costs associated with the National Trust’s participation in the pride parades.
Restore Trust has been approached to comment on its support for Green.
The third resolution of Restore Trust concerns the conservatives. He says recent layoffs have been made “under the pretext of the financial impact of Covid-19”, and that the conservatives have “lost their authority” while managers make “very damaging and ignorant decisions”.
A National Trust spokesperson told Advisor that “almost every aspect of the Trust’s revenue has been affected by the coronavirus crisis.
“We have exhausted all other avenues to find the necessary savings, but unfortunately job losses and budget cuts have become inevitable in order to give the charity a sustainable future, enabling it to meet the challenges ahead, to protect the places that visitors love and that nature needs, and to ensure our conservation work continues long into the future.
Voting begins on October 20, 2021 and ends on October 22 at midnight. Members can vote in person or through the National Trust website.