Committees are a great way to delegate tasks at your association. Unfortunately, committees sometimes fail - people become disengaged, deadlines start to slip, and sooner or later, the weight of the committee is left on only one or two people.
Now if this has happened at your association, don’t beat yourself up. Collapsed committees are actually quite common. That said, here are four steps to get them back up and running:
1. Find a new leader
The first thing you’ll want to do when it comes to re-establishing a collapsed committee is to find a good, strong leader to take over the new team. You’ll want someone who can devote their time and energy to this, particularly in the first few months when things are just starting to ramp back up.
Not sure where or how to find a new leader? Start by emailing your membership to see if anyone’s interested. Make an announcement at your next meeting and post a few “in search of” messages on social media.
Still not seeing anyone come forward? Try reaching out to past leaders and volunteers. They’ll be flattered that you thought of them, and even if they aren’t looking for a new leadership position, they might know someone who is. It never hurts to ask!
2. Create a to-do list
Once you have a new leader in place, you’ll then want to create a to-do list. The to-do list should have two parts: 1) Overarching goals and to-dos (for example, to plan events for the association or to put together quarterly publications), and 2) Short-term to-dos (for example, recruit new members, meet once a week, determine goals for the next quarter, etc.). The idea behind this to-do list is to get the committee up and running as soon as possible.
3. Recruit new members
Now you might be wondering why we put “create a to-do list” before “recruit new members.” But here’s the thing: In order to recruit the right members, people need to know in advance what’s going to be expected of them. If they’re going to be expected to meet once a week, draft content for the organization, plan events, or so on, they need to know that prior to signing up. Otherwise, they might get frustrated or lose interest halfway through, and then you’re right back to a collapsed committee.
That said, once you have your to-dos listed out, go about finding new members the same way you did a leader: through email, social media, former volunteers, etc.
4. Nurture the new committee
Once you have a new committee in place, you’ll then want to spend time nurturing it - even if you’re not the leader. You’ll want to work with the leader to make sure lines of communication are open, people know what’s expected of them, tasks and deadlines are being set, etc. The more you can help in creating structure, the more likely that structure is to be maintained.
Now if you’re still struggling to recruit members for your organization’s committees, let us help. Check out our Small-Staff Guide to Volunteer Management below. It’s filled with best practices for volunteer recruitment, onboarding, and retention!