Finding volunteers for long-term goals and short-term needs can be difficult, but it may help to consider whether you need to set up a committee or a task force.
How do you engage your board members to do their best work on initiatives?
For many organizations, the level of engagement boils down to the decision between setting up a committee model or a task force model. Because they can be used at different times to achieve different types of goals, these models must be implemented strategically.
What Are Committees?
The more formal of working groups, committees are made up of volunteers who are appointed or selected to perform specific functions on behalf of the association. They are enduring groups and have no fixed endpoint.
For committees to function properly, the association must fully trust the volunteers to manage specific functions they have been assigned. Often defined through organizational bylaws or statutes, they can be headed by a committee chair and should be composed of people representing different points of view.
What Are Task Forces?
These are small groups of people brought together to accomplish a specific objective. Whereas committees are typically defined in organizational bylaws or other governing documents, task forces are often impromptu or quickly assembled groups. They can be formed on an as-needed basis and then disbanded.
The creation of a task force is often necessary after an unexpected event. When an association must respond to the event, it may first need to acquire specific knowledge the core board doesn’t possess. Task forces can be made up of people with diverse backgrounds who won’t have long-standing positions with the association. They can provide the specific knowledge the boards need, when they need it.
Finding People for Committees and Task Forces
When promoting different volunteering opportunities with a board, communicate them so that people can understand clearly what you are looking for.
First brainstorm your goals for the volunteer opportunities, then create a page on your association’s website that lists the opportunities with short descriptions and timelines (see below for an example). If possible, publicize this through email, social media, or word of mouth.
Most associations know there will always be a place for boards and committees; the smart associations will also add task force opportunities to tap into the broadest possible volunteer base.
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