Supporting your committee members

Most people need a degree of personal satisfaction and appreciation of their involvement in the group to remain involved in a committee. Members of any group will usually welcome praise and appreciation for their efforts. Most will be volunteers and the material in the Community Door section on volunteer management may assist you in maintaining your committee.

Other ways to support and build your committee include:  

  • Providing social contact through group social activities, either before or after a meeting, or on separate occasions away from the usual meeting venue.
  • Providing news on the continued progress of the organisation through an interesting newsletter or by telephone.
  • Arranging tasks or projects which suit peoples' skills or their ability to learn.
  • Giving support for learning new roles. For example, an established committee member could be delegated to look after the new member for the first few meetings and to explain how things work and to answer any questions.

Remember, involvement generates interest and people need to feel included in the group's affairs to remain a member. If you treat people as outsiders, they will be.

Developing clear plans and procedures

The first committee of an organisation has an advantage over all later committees because there is a clear and obvious job to do. Try to plan ahead your first year's activities. Decide on your aims - who you want to reach, what you want to do, and how you want to go about doing it. In the beginning, try to pick essential and achievable things to do while you develop some experience and your organisation becomes established. Try not to work on too many things at the one time as your committee's energy could be stretched to breaking point.

Organisations often run into trouble after the end of their first or second year. Sometimes the trouble is that the organisation has developed from a concern about a problem, but its members have different ideas when developing solutions. New members may see things differently from the founding members and this can lead to disagreements. The initial enthusiasm which led to the development of the organisation wanes as members battle with the everyday reality of keeping the organisation running. A planning session can help you get a clearer idea of what you want to achieve. Chapter 7 may also be helpful to review.

Good procedures in the handover from the old to the new committee are important so that the incoming committee can benefit from the experience of the previous one. An induction process should be available to all committee members and some suggested handover procedures include:

  • Prior to the election of the new committee, prospective committee members and office bearers are given clear information on what their role involves
  • Each new office bearer should have a meeting with the previous office bearer and also receive a copy of their role description to find out important information and details about current projects
  • Set up an information session about the work of the organisation and role of the committee, attended by members of the old committee, the new committee and the workers

Controlling the misuse of authority

All management structures are open to the possibility of intentional or unintentional misuse of authority and power. For an organisation to function effectively, it is important that members (and other people involved) are aware of appropriate uses of authority so that they can identify its misuse and take steps to deal with it, as necessary.

Consider some of the ways people exert and hold power in organisations:

  • They hold onto information in order to hold knowledge others do not have. This often means that they are more likely to be listened to and agreed with.
  • People accumulate responsibility over time and start to become indispensable. They are the only people able to do certain things and therefore other people listen and follow what they have to say.
  • People assume the right to tell other people what to do. This can be attributed to the traditional power relationships in our society and has much to do with a person's "position" within the organisation. For example, the chairperson tells the coordinator what to do, the coordinator tells the staff what to do, the staff tell clients what to do, etc.
  • There are hidden power relationships such as the older person assuming the right to tell the younger one what to do, the Anglo-Australian worker telling the worker from a non-English speaking background what to do, and the one with the most experience telling others with less experience what to do.
  • People play power games. Power games may include manipulating, being bossy, being stubborn, throwing tantrums, sulking, or using emotional blackmail.
  • Without being consciously aware of it, groups sometimes develop structures and rules that maintain the existing power structure. These structures and rules are never explained to other people. New members in organisations are magically expected to understand the meeting procedures, sub-committees and hierarchy.

To mitigate some of these problems, there are ways to encourage greater participation and equality. These include:

  • Creating times, places, methods and opportunities which are specifically for the sharing of information. You could set aside time at meetings to exchange information or even have special information meetings. Another way is to develop background briefing reports on difficult issues before decisions are made. If you can develop a culture which requires written reports, then it is more difficult to retain, hide or control information.
  • Developing kits for new workers or management committee members including the history of the organisation, funding, role descriptions for staff and management committee members, aims, philosophy, policies and so on.
  • Establishing a "How To Do Things" or "Procedures" file where information on how to do things can be written down and kept. Include everything from how to do a referral, to locking the doors and windows.
  • Making information accessible and easy to read. Let everyone know where it is kept.
  • Making sure everything is recorded.  Use task sheets listing who will do what and when. Plan and use diaries for the whole organisation so that everyone knows what everyone else is doing.
  • Ensuring that positions are rotated or have a limited term of office. This could be written into your rules. Prepare people to take over in the future by giving them the opportunity to act in a "vice" or "deputy" position. These strategies assist in preventing your organisation becoming a closed system which has no new office bearers or ideas.
  • Scheduling staff training so people learn new skills. Include a requirement for training participation in people's job descriptions.
  • Delegating jobs to a sub-committee, e.g., the treasurer can work with a finance sub-committee. This helps demystify the knowledge of the "expert" and leaves less of a gap when they leave.
  • Using procedures at meetings which help people participate. Devise an agenda that everyone agrees on or regularly have a 'round robin' where everyone has a say. Don't forget that breaking into small groups shares information and helps decision making too. Whatever you decide to do, make sure everyone understands the rules and structures you decide to use.
Media Statement Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman Financial assistance is now available for south-east Queensland’s not-for-profit organisations that have been affected...
decorative
We have launched a brand new course on the Community Door eTraining website which provides an introduction to the social service sector in Queensland for managers and organisations new to the sector. It is free for anyone to access. It features a profile of the sector in Queensland, insights into...
The lack of gender diversity on boards in Queensland is being challenged under a State Government initiative launched at Parliament House in Brisbane today. Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman today announced the Towards Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative to increase the number of women on...
The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Service's Social Service Performance and Reform Program is progressing priorities related to the following elements of the Department's Strategic Plan 2015 - 2019: Social Services and Reforms; and Community inclusion, participation and...
From August, the ACNC will be visiting over 25 regional and metropolitan locations in Australia to talk to charities. The Ask ACNC sessions will provide charities the opportunity to hear directly from one of the ACNC’s Commissioners. The sessions include an update on the work of the ACNC, issues...
The Guide for Community Financial Officers is designed to help Financial Officers of community organisations, of all shapes and sizes, to take on the role with greater knowledge and confidence and to help Board Members to understand what is required of a Financial Officer. This Guide is one of a...
Disaster resilience is "the ability of individuals, communities, organisations, or countries exposed to disasters and crises and underlying vulnerabilities to: anticipate, reduce the impact of, cope with, and recover from the effects of adversity without compromising their long-term prospects." (...
Australia is becoming more culturally diverse and many Australian organisations need support to effectively manage the opportunities and challenges that this cultural diversity brings. Research demonstrates that organisations that manage cultural diversity well can expect to receive a host of...
Grantseekers are applying for smaller numbers of grants, and have called on funders for greater support through both multi-year grants and grants covering core operational costs, according to the latest research report from the Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM). The survey is said to...
""
The Australian Insitute of Company Directors' (AICD) NFP Governance and Performance Study is an important initiative that helps identify the current challenges and opportunities facing the sector. 2016 is the seventh year they have run the study, making it the largest and longest running NFP...

Pages

Are you looking for support in Queensland, or trying to find a service that meets your needs? Now you can search oneplace , the service directory hosted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community services to help Queensland families to get...
In Queensland the Office of Fair Trading regulates Associations and non-profits. https://www.qld.gov.au/law/laws-regulated-industries-and-accountability/queensland-laws-and-regulations/associations-charities-and-non-for-profits
The Queensland Disaster Management website and the Get Ready website have a range of information and useful resources that can assist you to plan and prepare for an emergency. As part of your preparedness and planning for weather events, access regular weather forecast updates from the Bureau of...
A Blue Card Services online learning portal has been launched. The portal contains 10 videos which provide an overview of the legal requirement for organisations to develop a child and youth risk management strategy. The resources, in conjunction with the Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy...
The Community Resource Handbooks were launched by Volunteering Queensland on 12 May 2015. They consolidate the knowledge gained through Volunteering Queensland's community leadership work with more than 2,000 community groups over the past fifteen years. The handbooks are aimed at small to medium...
An inaugural benchmarking survey draws together insights from over 100 survey respondents on topics such as governance, strategy, fundraising, risk management and the use of volunteer and professional resources. The survey results highlight that many not-for-profit organisations rely heavily on...
Our Community Pty Ltd has published practical advice on finances for not-for-profit board members. The book is part of CommunitySmart, a national financial literacy program development by Commonwealth Bank Not for Profit Sector Banking and the Institute for Community Directors Australia (part of...
Australian Institute of Company Directors has completed a comprehensive study that examines governance practices and opportunities in Australia's NFP sector. Read more
A report by Diversity Council Australia (DCA) and Deakin University has found that the Boards of Australian companies are becoming more culturally diverse but they are still not reflecting the diversity of the broader Australian community. Read more
With funding provided by the Australian Government Child Care Services Support Program (CCSSP), Network SA have developed a financial literacy video resource to support directors and management committees of community based child care centres to read and understand financial reporting requirements...
This resource has been developed by Knode and Foresters to support boards and service managers assess their financial position and strategically build their organistion's financial sustainability. Building financial sustainability in your organistions contains tools to help you: Assess where your...
Changing your Legal Structure from an Incorporated Association in Queensland to a Company Limited by Guarentee
Industrial relations legislation in Queensland can be found on the Fair Work Commission's website . The main pieces of legislation are: Fair Work Act 2009 Fair Work Regulations 2009 Fair Work Commission Rules 2013
There are a range of legal structures which may be suitable for Queensland not-for-profit community groups. The four main options are: an incorporated association: Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (QLD) and Associations Incorporation Regulation 1999 (QLD) a company limited by guarantee:...
What do you need to succeed?
Author: 
Shelley Dunlop, QCOSS

Community Door hosts a number of useful tools and resources that can assist you with service delivery. These are all free and available for anyone to download. A few of the most popular tools are highlighted here.

...

Author: 
Tiffany Tento, Queensland Council of Social Service

National Reconciliation Action Week (27 May to 3 June) is celebrated in Australia each year, in commemoration of two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.

This year’s theme is ...

Board meeting seen from above
Author: 
Linda Hayes, Corporate Synergies Australia

In 2012, the Commonwealth Government established the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), with a remit to remove complex regulations and repetitive reporting burdens, to clarify the legal definition of charity, and to provide greater transparency for funders and the public...

Smiling people having a meeting
Author: 
Lauren Trask, QuIHN

If we combine the concepts of culture, leadership and governance we acknowledge the philosophy and the fundamental pillars that enable the non-government sector to meet the needs of communities that require support. When I work with an organisation my one question is “what level of quality do...

 Charles Clowes
Author: 
Charles Clowes, Australian Organisation For Quality

Within the organisational development toolkit the capability area of quality systems, innovation and improvement refers to staff and client contribution, innovation, quality culture and management, reporting, adaptability and improvement, legislation and risk management.

The...

""
Author: 
Darren Smith, Breaking New Ground

A new chapter in the story of the not-for-profit sector is being drafted. How do small to medium organisations ensure they're written into the script?

The not-for-profit sector has already experienced significant change and uncertainty over the last few years:

  • funding
  • ...
Author: 
Kylie Hogan, National Disability Services

The Community Services Industry is facing a myriad of reforms and challenges now and into the future. 

Challenges such as an ageing population, workforce shortages, sector-wide reforms, technological advances and economic uncertainty are making it more important than ever for...

Donate
Author: 
Shelley Dunlop, QCOSS

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care (SNAICC) has developed a detailed and easy to use resource to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations in applying for endorsement as a...

Computer
Author: 
Craig Ford, Polymorphic Solutions

Your community organisation might have run on spreadsheets, shared folders and Access databases until one day, when you realised the systems don’t talk to each other and your organisation can’t grow without a single integrated system. Then it is time to consider a CRM (Client Relationship...

ACNC logo
Author: 
Anne Curson, Queensland Council of Social Service

In recent years the “governance” of not-for-profit organisations has been much talked about. The introduction of Governance Standards  by the Australian Charities and Not-for...

Pages

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic

Share or Print