Engaging committees in your organization helps foster a democratic decision making culture.
Committees are often the working force at the heart of an organization. Effective organizations are often directly related to effective committees.
Why Use Committees?
- They are used to save time at meetings. Matters can be discussed and reviewed in detail by a committee and recommendations brought to the board or general meeting.
- The work of the organization becomes more efficient. The specialized skills and interests of members are used to their full advantage with committees.
- More members get involved in the detail work of the organization. Responsibilities are shared according to skills and interests of members.
- New or inexperienced members can gain valuable insight into the organization and develop confidence by serving on committees.
There are two basic kinds of committees:
- Standing – committees are created by the standing orders, rules, by-laws, or regulations of an organization. They function on a permanent basis. Examples of common standing committees would be finance, nomination, education, etc.
- Ad Hoc – committees are appointed for a specific purpose on a short-term basis. An example is organizing an educational event.
Once created, committees save time at the board/general meeting by providing broad based detail and input in an organized report that can be distributed and archived as a searchable document.
The key to efficient and effective committees is setting them up for success.
Purpose of Committees:
Each committee should have a terms of reference that should be able to answer the first 2 (at least) of the following:
- what’s the purpose and authority of this committee?
- what are the responsibilities and specific tasks of this committee?
- how are members picked for this committee?
- what type of reporting to the organization is expected?
- what are the time limits on this committee?
- what’s the budget of this committee?
- what’s the term of office for members? How do we fill vacancies?
- what resources does this committee have and what will it need to complete its task?
Committees help spread the workload and broaden the expertise of the decision making process.
Managing Committees Easily with LORROS
Committees don’t just happen … but done properly with LORROS, committees can be easily created and monitored with minimal effort.
LORROS allows committees to be easily created within minutes (even seconds).
Selecting committee members is the best way to ensure that you get the people with the right skills, interests and commitment to the task. Three to seven people is a good size for most committees.
The committee chair should be selected with careful consideration. The chair isn’t necessarily the technical expert of the committee. It’s more important that the person works well with others, can organize effectively, can motivate others, keeps people on task and has good communication skills.
The chair should encourage Discussions and Polls on LORROS as well as create LORROS Meetings when necessary to formalize recommendations to be forwarded to the board for consideration. Using LORROS ensures that all members easily have the opportunity to contribute at their convenience.
All LORROS Discussions and Meetings can be downloaded as a pdf and forwarded to the board as reports. Discussions should be for information only, and LORROS Meetings with motions should be used for formal recommendations to the board.
LORROS facilitates moving recommendations up from committees while maintaining transparency and accountability.
A committee is really a work unit of the organization. It’s the best way to take work and break it into meaningful and manageable chunks. Effective committees remove time consuming detail from organization meetings. They allow more people to be involved and expand the support base of the organization. Committees build commitment of members to the organization.
LORROS makes it easy to add committees and move recommendations to the decision making step without adding to the workload.