Do you really need another committee member?

“Everybody welcome our new committee member…Rachel! She is going to help us get to our goal this year, we’re so happy to have her.”

I think about that introduction as I sit on the committee and the months go by. “Rachel” hasn’t contributed to the conversation, she doesn’t step up to assist in the events and in fact, sometimes she doesn’t even show up.  Whatever happened to “Rachel” and the enthusiasm she was introduced with?

“Rachel” is just an example, not a current member of any of my committees, but you get the picture.

Since their inception, nonprofit organizations have always been dependent on volunteer “workers”. The demand has only increased over the years as the causes get larger, events are added to the fiscal calendars and the competition to raise the funds and find the cures only increases.  So it is no surprise that many of these organizations default to quantity of volunteers instead of the quality of volunteers. 

In theory the quantity ideas should work.  As the saying goes “many hands make light work.” Unfortunately in reality that isn’t always the case.  The heavy lifting typically falls to a handful of dedicated volunteers and the rest are along for the ride.  More like the saying, “a committee of one, gets more done.”

You need to structure your committees like any other department in the organization, with goals, standards and accountability.  Once this is created you will know how many volunteers you need and you can vet them accordingly.  No, you don’t want to turn volunteers away, but you need to be strategic about it.  Otherwise you’re wasting their time and their talents. 

I’d love to hear how many people make up some of your committees and if you think it works.  Email me 

Until next time, do work, give back and volunteer! And if your business or organization could use some storytelling tips, sign up for my newsletter and receive “10 Tips to Enhance Your Story” Instantly! Sign up HERE!

Posted on October 28, 2014 .