Linda and Julia are excited about the Public Relations committee and come to the first meeting with many ideas. Linda suggests improving the PR of the chapter by making a holiday card to send to the rest of the groups on campus and, using Julia's graphic design skills, create new professional and classy recruitment invitations. Julia also has a great idea. She thinks that handing out Alpha Gamma Delta goodie-bags full of treats during finals will also help build the chapter's rapport with people all across campus. After everyone shares their thoughts, the committee agrees that all of these ideas will benefit the chapter and need to happen this year!
Hattie leads the committee into a discussion about how and when they will implement all of these great ideas. The six committee members leave with an action plan and timeline, and Linda and Julia each leave with a few specific responsibilities to complete before the next committee meeting. They are motivated and excited to get started, and Hattie is feeling great about all the help and support she's getting from her committee.
Through your experience with your collegiate chapter, alumnae group or the Volunteer Service Team, Alpha Gamma Delta is structured to make you familiar with committees, either through serving as a member or chairman. If Hattie's scenario above resonates with you, then you are probably utilizing your committees effectively! If you're reading Hattie's story and thinking that conversations like this don't happen in your committees (or that your committees don't meet at all) then continue reading because we'll have some tips to help you start effectively utilizing your committees!
Committees are not a complex concept—get a group of people together who are committed to the cause and motivated to do good work, and tackle the project as a group. Simple enough, right?
In actuality, we know that implementing and effectively using committees is more difficult than that. Maybe your committee didn't feel motivated to complete the tasks. Maybe you have been on a committee and been the only one doing the work. Maybe the committee was great when they got together, but could never coordinate schedules to continue to meet. Whatever your struggle is, if you've had a less than positive experience with committees it's easy to assume they can't be helpful to you.
Except here's the thing: committees are designed to make your life easier, not more difficult. Committees are the key to a successful, sustainable chapter, club or team! Having functional, effective committees established in your chapter, club or team has many benefits:
- Officers with well-functioning committees are far less likely to get burnt out because they can share the work with the members of the committee.
- Members who don't hold leadership positions can still engage in the process and feel valued on committees that match up with their interests and passions.
- Committees allow for each individual member to be contributing to the success of the chapter, rather than only relying on the officers.
- By working together to be successful, the sisterhood and bonds of the members will strengthen. Just like when a sports team succeeds, everyone wins together!
If you are a part of a chapter, club, VST team or group that struggles to use committees effectively, use these tips to help get back on track!
- Set monthly meetings with your committee and schedule them in advance! Use this time to brainstorm new ideas, complete tasks, delegate responsibilities and report on progress (just like Hattie's PR Committee!)
- Create an agenda for your committee meetings ahead of time. Members appreciate when you respect their time by making the meeting more purposeful.
- Facilitate discussion in your committee meetings where members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. People are more likely to help complete a task when they feel partial ownership in the project.
- Create an action plan that breaks down who will be completing what task by when. This will help keep the committee organized and will help you hold your sisters accountable!
- After the meeting, send an email to all the committee members. Recap the highlights of the meeting and assignments (including deadlines), and thank your members for their help. This will keep the committee informed and help them feel appreciated!
Committees are a tool that will help your chapter or group function at an optimal level. Discover the brilliance of each of your sisters and utilize it in committees—you won't regret it!