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April 6, 2019
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Why is it that year-over-year the priorities of a nonprofit organization change and major planning takes place yet sometimes committees and their composition remain relatively unchanged? It would be the same as leaving the budget unchanged year-over-year regardless of the changes in the organization. Why are we not putting that same priority on committees as we do on our budgets, given volunteers are the single most important resource?

Reviewing, refreshing and realigning committees are just as important as setting the budget for the year and a key duty of the incoming volunteer President. Just as a budget helps to provide the dollars to achieve strategic priorities and meet member needs, a reset of committees also helps to serve a similar purpose as it helps to provide the human resources to achieve the organization’s mission. The following are three things as President you can do in your organization in the new year to make a major shift in committees to match a major shift in priorities:

  1. Identify the priorities and then identify the committees and core competencies you will need– Before leaving your committees as-is, evaluate the priorities of the organization and a) match the priorities to a current committee or committees, b) understand the core volunteer needs necessary for each priority and c) identify any potential missing committees
  2. Inventory your volunteers’ core competencies– Once you have matched up the organization’s priorities to the committees and identified volunteer needs, it is now important to understand the core competencies of your volunteers. Reach out to every volunteer and ask them to provide the organization with their skills, talents and interests in order to use this data to make the best committee assignments. Not only is this an important exercise to do now, but also having this information in the future will be invaluable in being nimble and responsive to changing priorities
  3. Set purpose statements– After the committees have been reviewed, refreshed and realigned, the next step is to have each one set purpose statements that are aligned with the strategic plan of the organization. The purpose statement is a mission statement for your committees that directly ties into how it will help move forward the strategic initiatives of the organization. A purpose statement is important as it should help energize the committee and provide each member an easy to recite reason why their committee exists and how it serves the organization and the members

A strong, high-performing organization leverages its volunteers and is able to deploy them expeditiously and strategically. By shifting, refreshing and realigning your committees, you are continuously breathing life into the organization.  Do this every year and you are driving your organization to performance excellence!