What the committee is responsible for.
The committee has a responsibility to manage the organisation on behalf of the members. The committee should:
- Conduct long-term planning of activities so that the aims and objectives of the organisation are fulfilled
- Develop policy and procedures
- Manage external relations and advocacy issues
- Obtain resources and ensure that all financial and legal matters are properly managed
- Carry out the recommendations of members
- Regularly communicate with, and provide information to members about the running of the organisation
- Evaluate the performance of officials, employees, subcommittees and, importantly, itself
- Provide detailed written records and job descriptions to a newly elected committee to facilitate transition into their roles
- Ensure that all members of the committee act as leadership role models.
Committees have a responsibility to manage the organisation on behalf of the members. The role of the committee is summarised into these four main categories:
Plan: Examine alternatives for action and decide on appropriate directions according to the purpose, philosophy, culture and budget of the organisation. Determine relevant policies to guide the implementation of organisational plans.
Organise: Ensure that:
- plans are implemented
- achievable objectives are agreed to
- suitable strategies are designed to ensure satisfactory progress
- operational stages are implemented and evaluated
- required resources (people, equipment, money) are provided.
Lead: Be enthusiastic and work from an informed and well-researched knowledge base which includes a subcommittee or working group structure, distribution of clear and concise reports and wide representation of stakeholder opinions. Regularly communicate both the vision and the detail to members and other relevant stakeholders.
Control: Be responsible for defining expectations and requirements, taking appropriate action to ensure that the outcomes are achieved.
What makes an effective committee member?
A committee that works as a group of individuals is one that may well cease to function efficiently. A committee should operate as a team, draw on the skills and talents of each member, and work toward common goals that will ensure the organisation’s success. It is important to clarify the types of skills that may be required in a committee in order to identify potential committee members and also recognise gaps in skills and competencies that may require further development and training (see the Retaining Volunteers module).
In more general terms however, effective committee members should have:
- A commitment to the mission of the organisation
- Sufficient time to devote to the committee
- An understanding of the role of the committee
- Enthusiasm and an interest in people
- Leadership skills and willingness to accept responsibility
- Tact, judgment, discretion and listening skills
- Strategic vision
- Good communication skills.
Justice Connect Not for Profit - information on Committees