Why Bother with Committees?

Maybe you have heard this before  – the board can take care of it.  We have staff, we have a capable board.  We have a very talented board.  Why do we need committees?

Although the board may be extremely talented and dedicated, their time and energy is limited.

And here are at least 8 more good reasons to have committees:

  1. Engage more members in the business of the organization and provide opportunities to serve.
  2. Allow members to build leadership skills.
  3. Give members a better understanding of the mission vision and challenges of the organization.
  4. Expedite the role of the Board.
  5. Encourage the flow of information between the Board and the members.
  6. Train members for future leadership positions.
  7. Afford members the opportunity for personal growth.
  8. Stimulate discussion and sharing information.

Committees need a mission statement and a clearly defined purpose.  The committee responsibilities should be written as well as the responsibilities of the chairperson and the members.

Here is a sample list of committee responsibilities:

  1. Notices to go out under the Chairperson’s signature.
  2. Notices to be sent at least one week in advance.
  3. Members need to verify their attendance.
  4. Chairperson needs to give a report of the probable attendance.
  5. Those attending need to have a copy of the agency.
  6. An appointed member should take minutes.
  7. Committees should be kept apprised of any progress reports between meetings.

Chairperson responsibilities:

  1. Understand the goals of the committee.
  2. Organize and direct the work of the members.
  3. Prepare the committee agenda.
  4. Conduct meetings effectively and encourage participation by all present.
  5. Delegate responsibility.
  6. Use resources available.
  7. Be sensitive to the needs and interests of the members.
  8. Foster group thinking and group action.

Committee members’ responsibilities:

  1. Understand the mission of the organization.
  2. Have a working knowledge of the organization.
  3. Be on time.
  4. Notify the chairperson that he or she will not attend.
  5. Share ideas with others members of the committee.
  6. Assemble information requested.
  7. Understand the objectives or goals of the committee.

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