Forming Committees that Work for Your Chapter

Updated: Oct. 12, 2018  |  Categories: Volunteers, Membership  

Forming Committees for Your Chapter

It has been said that if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind—you should always be looking for new ideas, tools and programming to add value for your members. Even if your chapter has strong attendance and is in great health, now is the time to advance. In order to make that happen there is often a need to develop a committee to carry out the implementation of these new initiatives.

Here are five steps you should consider taking when recruiting volunteers for a committee:

1. Survey Your Members

Gather data on how your members perceive the value they are getting from the chapter.  The easiest way is to create a survey so that you can get the information seamlessly from your membership. Where there are opportunities for improvement brainstorm goals for volunteer support.  

Your board should take into account the chapter’s mission statement and brainstorm about opportunities to shoot for, carefully considering what it will take to achieve them.

2.  Start with the End in Mind

Now that your board has brainstormed ideas that they feel the chapter needs to address in order to add value, the process moves forward.  Set realistic, achievable goals for your committee. This will level set expectations, offer a timeline and give your potential volunteer enough information to see if it is something they are interested in doing. Also, it will give you a good idea of the skillset that is needed to accomplish the task at hand.  It can help with the volunteer recruitment as well, making it easier by choosing members that have complementary skills to the clearly defined goals of the project.

3. Build Your Committee

The next step will be to let your members know that your volunteer opportunity exists. Announce the formation of the committee, the amount of help you are looking for, and the board member to contact in order to indicate interest. Publicize the opportunity through your chapter’s website, email, and social media and actively recruit face-to-face when necessary.

 4.  Ensure Volunteer Engagement

You’ve formed your committee, now it’s important that you collaborate with your volunteers. Set up checkpoints, identify any problems they may be experiencing.  Offer advice, add volunteers if they need additional help as this will keep your volunteers motivated and engaged. Most importantly, be sure to thank your volunteers, both in the moment and at the committee’s end when the goal is reached.

5. Avoid Volunteer Burnout

If your volunteers are engaged in the project the less chance there is for volunteer burnout, but as you monitor your team of volunteers, you may begin to see a few signs of trouble. Maybe the committee isn’t collaborating well. Perhaps one of the members is too domineering, turning off the other volunteers or one team member has failed to deliver or has spotty attendance.

Again, the best way to deal with the situation is to get involved. Offer help or, if needed, add new members or remove members that are no longer needed. The important thing here is to recognize the signs of burnout, so you can be proactive in providing solutions, and putting out the fire before setting your entire project ablaze.

With these steps in mind, you will have a strong foundation and structure for your chapter’s continued success.

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