Creating committees allows for more people in an Association to become involved, provides a training ground for future Directors, therefore building a sense of neighborhood and community involvement.
It is important that a committee know the parameters: its purpose, responsibilities and authority.
A pitfall to avoid, which many presidents and boards experience, is when the board chooses all of the members of the committee. It is usually more effective for the president or board to appoint the committee chair and allow the chairperson to choose their volunteers. In this manner, the committee has a better chance to be more productive and to work together as opposed to becoming a committee saddled with participants who may ultimately agree to disagree.
The success of the committee itself is dependant upon the quality of the leadership of the chairperson. It is the chairperson who sets the tone of committee meetings and keeps the committee members informed of the progress. In addition, the chairperson must ensure that the issues are thoroughly researched, all member ideas are considered, and any controversial issues are resolved prior to presentation to the association board of directors.
It may be helpful, depending on the nature of the committee, to have a board member serve as a liaison between the committee and board. The board member does not have to chair the committee.
The final requirement is for the committee to communicate its activity, recommendations in written form to the board of directors. Of course a verbal presentation supplemented with the written report is ideal, as board members will have an opportunity to study the written documentation, possibly request additional information, and then be in a position to make the best educated decisions for the community.
To help ensure that the board will focus on the result of the committees’ efforts (and not on the process by which they reached their conclusion) consider using a basic committee report form. Such a document is easily created and gives the board the information it needs to act on a committee recommendation without a prolonged discussion of the committee’s work.
The committee chairperson is usually charged with completing the report form so that any recommendations may be placed on the Board’s agenda.
With the proper use of the committee structure, not only does a board receive the immediate assistance of a support group to help with the current operations of an association, but it also lays the groundwork for potential, more experienced, future board members with knowledge of how the current board is structured. What better method to establish the training of future board members than to have volunteers who have worked together, have successfully participated with their ideas and plans being accepted by the current board, and who have seen their hard work and results placed into action?
A committee with proper direction is a powerful support mechanism to an often over burdened board of directors who will most certainly appreciate the added help. The results can be amazing to behold!
This article was edited and adapted, but most content came from:
Association Times’ Staff Writer
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