Great committees keep board meetings from becoming boring meetings. Having board committees handle early discussions of important issues and offer recommendations to the board at-large will help maximize the efficiency and quality of every board meeting. And great board meetings are key to creating successful nonprofits. We’ve put together a simple set of tips along with nonprofit swag that will help you build productive committees for your organization.
Determine which committees serve your board’s needs
Traditionally, many boards create executive, nominating, development, audit and finance committees. Today, however, many organizations are simplifying and moving to a three-committee structure:
Recruits new members, handles orientation, produces board materials and evaluates board performance.
Deals with internal and operational issues, including finance, investments, capital acquisitions, human resources and facilities.
Handles out-facing items, like fundraising, public relations, publications and marketing.
Determine the most suitable members for each committee
Once you know which kinds of committees you need, determine who would be best suited for each committee—based on interest and experience. One obvious example is for someone with a financial background to be on the finance committee.
The nonprofit community MissionBox® recommends every board member serve on at least one, but no more than two, committees. They also note to keep in mind that laws about who can serve on board committees may vary from state to state.
Ensure guidelines and structure for efficient operation
To keep committee meetings running smoothly, it’s critical that each committee has:
- An understanding of their responsibilities and timelines.
- Members who can contribute to needed research and discussion time.
- A strong leader who can keep the committee on task and working through decision-making processes.
Help ensure these meetings are efficient and effective with some committee gifts. Offer each committee member a notebook and pen so they can take notes while researching topics and during discussions. Give them flash drives to store notes or critical documents. And provide every committee member with a folder that contains paperwork describing the committee’s focus, meeting schedule and other relevant information.
Create ad-hoc committees as needed
Sometimes, an issue arises that requires a short-term, ad-hoc committee—like a special fundraising opportunity or event. Much like your regular committees, ad-hoc committees will require information regarding the scope of their work.
And once their job is complete, thank committee members with appropriate nonprofit swag. If they helped with a special fundraiser, send them a thank-you note along with a money plant seed packet as a token of gratitude for helping your finances grow. Or offer them a committee gift like chocolate stars to show appreciation for helping you shine brightly in the community.
Create commendable committees
Great committees hold productive board meetings that help nonprofits do meaningful work. With a little planning and nonprofit swag, you can build strong committees for your nonprofit.