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Simplify or drown - Managing your Board and Committees

July 7, 2017

Ok, let's be honest.  Working in the Not For Profit space is both inspiring and exhausting at the same time.  If you've had the wonderful job of working with your Board or Committees, you feel me, right?  It is both the most exciting role you play and the most taxing.  There aren't enough hours in the day to do both your day to day job and keep up with the demands of Volunteer Management. 



Now that that's out of the way.  I've been reflecting on my 20 years of working with volunteers and I'm truly grateful for the experience.  I learned so much, grew so much and know that many of the experiences that I had were unique and special.  Yes, they pushed me, expected so much from me, but that's just the nature of working with people that are at the top of their field.   


During my reflection, I started to think about all of the things that are required when working with volunteers and it is mountainous.  As I weeded through a list of the basics, the thing that kept coming up was how I could have simplified things more.  If I only had the chance to take a step back and cull down the framework that had been built up over time - the meeting minutes, status reports, board/committee calendar, orientation elements, recruitment process...boy, I could go on and on.  But, NO - It'll just overwhelm you. 


It's my hope that we will be able to provide you with simple tools that will make your work life much more manageable and free you up to focus your efforts on the highest value use of your time. 


So here goes...We'll be posting pieces of our toolkit for your use.  Here's a simple Committee Update Template that should be a standard deliverable for the committee to prepare and disseminate to the Board prior to their regularly scheduled meetings.  It's based on many years' of working with numerous committees and is meant to be one page only.  It's my view that the more we are forced to focus on what's important the better.  And, no one wants to read  or write pages of pages of information to prepare for a Board Meeting. 


What should your Committee Update include?


·        Your Committee goals/targets/outcomes and status/results achieved

·        Status of any work products or deliverables

·        Resource needed for next 1-3 months

·        Highlights or accomplishments

·        Next planned activities and timing of them for the next 1-3 months

·        Implementation challenges or barriers







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