Atkins was the first team boss at Sixfields from 1995 to 1999, and guided the club to two Wembley play-off finals.
His Cobblers team won promotion from Nationwide League Division Three by beating Swansea City 1-0 in the 1997 play-off final, and then 12 months later he took Town to Wembley once more.
On this occasion, the Cobblers just missed out on promotion to the second tier of English football for the first time since 1967 when they were beaten 1-0 by Grimsby Town in the Division Two play-off showdown.
It has been announced that Atkins has already been co-opted onto the Trust board - members will be asked to ratify the appointment at the AGM in January - and the 64-year-old says he is delighted to take up the new role.
"We had some great days at Northampton," said Atkins, who also managed the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Oxford United, Bristol Rovers and Carlisle United.
"I remember the Cobblers with tremendous affection as a great community club with significant potential.
"I have been following the Trust's work around football reform with interest and am delighted to accept an invitation to offer any advice and guidance to the board."
In all, Atkins managed Town across 248 competitive matches, winning 89, losing 87 and drawing 72, before he was relieved of his duties a few months after the club's relegation from division two in 1999.
Since leaving the managerial role at Torquay in 2006, he has become a highly respected scout and recruitment officer for various clubs, including Sunderland, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Trust chair Andy Roberts, who was the Chronicle & Echo's Cobblers correspondent through Atkins' time in charge at Sixfields, said: "Ian will certainly be a valuable addition to the current board as he brings with him a wealth of experience from the world of football, as a player, manager and European scout.
"I worked closely with Ian when he was the manager here and I can vouch for the expertise and passion that he applies to any undertaking.
"We look forward to hearing his views on reform of the game, supporter representation and our plans for an infrastructure foundation for Sixfields beyond the completion of the East Stand."