Congratulations, you are running a volunteer committee for your organization! You have a great opportunity to make a meaningful contribution… if you can figure out where to start.
Serving as a volunteer committee chair is both an honor and a huge undertaking. Here are three tips to ensure success.
1. Know Your Goal
For you to be effective, you have to know what the Board of Directors wants your committee to accomplish. Ask the following questions:
- Is there a written committee description?
- What results are expected from this committee?
- What authority and resources does the committee have to achieve those goals?
Too often committees end up tackling low-priority problems because they were not given clear expectations. Clarify your goals upfront so you don’t waste any time on the wrong projects.
2. Direct, Don’t Micromanage
Once you know what your goals are, it’s time to involve the rest of your committee.
- Brainstorm solutions as a group.
- Come to a consensus on how to reach the goal.
- Divide and delegate tasks that best use everyone’s skills.
Give everyone a task to accomplish, but don’t feel like you have to be specific on how you want them to do it. When people understand what the goal is, they often come up with innovative solutions to the problem. Give them the opportunity to surprise you but be available to help them if they get stuck.
As the chair, you’re overseeing the success of the entire project. So you’ll need to politely hold people accountable for their tasks. However, don’t constantly nag at them. Never forget that they are also a volunteer and their time is valuable.
3. Make Effective Use of Everyone’s Time
Volunteer time is valuable. Every volunteer has a limited amount of time they will be willing to donate to your committee. Don’t waste it.
- Don’t have meetings just to have a meeting.
- Make sure to have clear goals for what you want to take away from your meetings.
- Always use an agenda to make sure those meetings stay on track.
Don’t bog your committee down with “busy” work. Every task should move your committee towards its goal in the most efficient way possible.
Some people have a negative view of committees because we’ve all been on one that took up a bunch of time and accomplished nothing. The tips above will help you focus the efforts of your committee towards reaching your goal and make your committee the one everyone wants to join. You’ll end up with happy volunteers because volunteering is a lot more fun when you can see you’re accomplishing something.