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Committees The Advisory Group’s Workshop. Vital to effective, efficient, productive, organized action in a democratic society. Committee Definitions.

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committees the advisory group s workshop

CommitteesThe Advisory Group’s Workshop

Vital to effective, efficient, productive, organized action in a democratic society


Committee Definitions

com·mit·tee : k&-\'mi-tE, sense 1 also "kä-mi-\'tE noun 1: a body of persons delegated to consider, investigate, take action on, or report on some matter;

com·mit·tee : k&-\'mi-tE, sense 1 also "kä-mi-\'tE noun 1: a meeting where they keep minutes and waste hours

why do people join these groups
Why Do People Join These Groups
  • to help others
  • to give back to the community
  • to meet new people
  • to fill a personal void
  • because it is a tradition
  • to learn new skills
  • the ability to influence others

Volunteer Management 101 John Lipp

important contributions of committees
Important Contributions of Committees
  • Able to do a lot of work with efficiency
  • Individuals can be engaged in areas where they are most interested and skilled
  • Individuals can enhance leadership skills
  • Individual efforts are multiplied by others
  • Wider participation of members and non-members
  • Committees as a whole have wider contacts as opposed to one or two individuals
advantages of working with committees over a general group
Advantages of Working with Committees Over a General Group
  • Smaller numbers enhance participation
  • Informality can be increased
  • Individual interest can be channeled
  • Delicate subjects can be handled better
  • Scheduling can be more flexible
  • Involving just the optimum number can enhance efficiency and effectiveness
types of committees
Types of Committees
  • Standing Committees
  • Special Committees
  • Extension Program Committees
standing committees
Standing Committees
  • Handle a specific part of the regular on-going work of the organization
  • Usually denoted in the organizational by-laws
  • Examples—Executive, Nominating, Membership (Council/Board Development), Budget/Finance, Public Relations, etc.
special committees
Special Committees
  • Ad Hoc, temporary
  • Functions until its specific assigned task is accomplished– one meeting to even years
extension program committees
Extension Program Committees
  • C-MAP
  • Task forces
  • Educational activities
requirements for good committees
Requirements for Good Committees

Key Characteristics

  • Small group
  • Complementary skills
  • Clear common purpose
  • Mutual accountability
  • Trust and strong relationships
  • Open communication
  • Flexibility
  • Recognition and Appreciation
useful criteria for structuring committees
Useful Criteria for Structuring Committees
  • Size
  • Staffing
  • Membership
  • Duration
  • Purpose--mission, charge, task
  • Chairs
committee chair job description
Committee Chair Job Description
  • Facilitates Committee Work

-plans and leads meetings

-assigns tasks to committee members

-monitors progress and communicates with staff and council chair

-resolves conflicts among committee

-arranges for evaluation (periodic and final)

Communicates with the General Group

-liaison with group chair, staff, and full board

-committee reports

questions to ask about each committee
Questions to Ask about Each Committee
  • How does this relate to the organization\'s mission, strategy, and priorities? Purpose?
  • How will this benefit the overall group/council?
  • Who will this group report to? How?
  • Who is going to act on and implement its decision?
  • Could just one or two persons do this better? Is it the job for advisory members or staff?
  • Is this an ongoing concern? When will it be dissolved?
  • What will be their measures of success?
why committees stumble
Why Committees Stumble
  • Imbalance or concentration of power
  • Lack of accountability
  • Unclear definition and understanding of roles
  • Lack of focus on the critical issues

“Before we begin, let us take a moment to reflect upon our hidden agenda.”

committee do s don ts
Committee Do’s & Don’ts


  • Be careful choosing members
  • Be sure the purpose and expected outcomes are clear to all
  • Distribute committee assignments evenly across the general group/council
  • Get general group approval for appointments
  • Write meaningful committee minutes
  • Recognize achievements of all
committee do s don ts1
Committee Do’s & Don’ts


  • Duplicate work of general group or other committees
  • Create committees that are too large to be effective
  • Treat non-council members as outsiders
  • Hold committee meetings right before the council meeting
  • Extend the life of the committee beyond its usefulness

-BoardSource (formerly National Center for Nonprofit Boards,

-Nonprofit Leadership Initiative at the University of Kentucky,, [email protected], (859) 257-2542

-Kentucky Advisory Council System web site,, Ralph Prince, (270) 365-7541 Ext. 220, [email protected]