Practical advice for new and current committee members. The Committee Basics module is designed to make your life as a committee member easier.
Any organisation with more than a few members usually needs to elect a committee of a few people, whose job it is to govern the organisation on behalf of everybody else. The primary committee of most incorporated sports and community clubs is referred to as the management committee.
The management committee should set the organisation's future direction, conduct efficient meetings and make decisions on behalf of the wider membership.
There should be clear separation between your club’s governance and operations. The management committee is accountable for an organisation’s governance. This is where strategic decision-making occurs. Operational volunteers and subcommittees should be responsible for implementing the management committee’s decisions.
It can be helpful to think of your club’s management committee as the ‘mind’ and your subcommittees and other volunteers as the ‘hands’ of the club. Remember that the management committee is always accountable for the club’s actions. So, even if responsibility is delegated to individual volunteers or subcommittees, the management committee must retain a certain level of oversight of operations. This accountability is shared equally amongst all management committee members.
A management committee typically includes at least a president, secretary and treasurer and these positions are required under Queensland’s incorporation legislation. For many clubs, a total of five to seven management committee members is a workable number. Your management committee may also include other positions, as elected at a general meeting. Your club should be careful to avoid electing too many members to the management committee, as this can significantly reduce the efficiency of decision-making.
To help ensure that volunteers can take on a job about which they are passionate, specific operational roles such as registrar, volunteer coordinator, canteen convenor, marketing and social media officer and fundraising coordinator (amongst many others) can be non-management committee positions. This means these volunteers can focus on doing the volunteer work they enjoy, without needing to attend management committee meetings or be involved in strategic decision-making. Of course, these can also be management committee positions, if the person filling each role has the ability to switch between governance and operations, depending on the capacity in which they are acting at any given time.
Your club may choose to establish subcommittees for different areas of operation as required. These subcommittees should take care of the club's day-to-day operations, leaving the management committee to focus on strategy.
Position descriptions can help to clarify expectations for volunteers and subcommittees and should clearly detail the parameters of each job, roles and responsibilities.