Prudent Roles of Committee Members within a Board
By: Dmitry Volfson, HoganTaylor Assurance Senior Manager
In the Fall 2015 nonprofit newsletter, I addressed the importance of creating an effective board meeting agenda to further engage your board members. As you fine tune your board meeting agenda on specific task basis, it will be prudent to assign responsibilities to committee chairs to execute those tasks. In Part II of this series, we will discuss the importance of committees and how to ensure follow through from each committee chair.
As a best practice, committees need to be chaired by current board members within the organization. Each committee chair is responsible to ensure that the committee has an adequate composition of members with appropriate skills to accomplish the necessary tasks as assigned by the board. To further enhance board member participation and involvement, it is imperative that each board member is also assigned to participate in at least one committee. Committee chairs are also able to seek participants that are not currently serving on the board but have the necessary skills or are interested in the cause of the organization to participate on the committee. This could be a great recruiting tool by providing those individuals an opportunity to get a glance inside your organization without having to fully commit at the level of a board member. Think of it as a board internship program. Once the committee is formed, the chair is responsible to ensure that the tasks are being completed, minutes of the committee are being taken and a follow-up with the board president on the status of their tasks.
As a current board president, I gather up all of the committee minutes at least three to four days ahead of the scheduled board meeting to ensure I accurately update the board meeting agenda (as discussed above) and provide an in advance summary for the board at large. This ensures that our board meetings are focused on how to address various challenges faced by committee chairs instead of just receiving an overall update.