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~ September 2002~ Topics
  • Job Descriptions for Committees

Job Descriptions for Committees

Sometimes it's the most obvious things we don't think of.

When I mention the need for position descriptions for volunteers, people look up with a, "hey, what a great idea" look on their faces. When I talk about job descriptions for the board, executive director and board president, I see the same expression. When they stop to think about it, most people realize that it is important to tell people who have been asked to do a job for an organization, whether as paid staff or as a volunteer, what the expectations are.

It's also equally important, but sometimes overlooked, to have job descriptions for committees.

Boards tend to have standing committees--no more than are actually needed, I hope--and then set up ad-hoc committees as the need arises. How much easier it is for the committee, standing or new, if the board supplies it with a job description.

For example, the job description for the fundraising committee might start with a descriptive statement such as the following:

The fundraising committee reports to the board of directors of this organization. This committee is responsible for developing a fundraising plan that is reviewed and approved by the board. It provides support to the president, the board, the executive director and the development department to reach the goals set in the plan. It evaluates the fundraising efforts and reports on ways to strengthen the organization's fundraising capacity for the future.

Then the job description can clarify the composition of the committee. These will vary from organization to organization, but the following is one example:

The chairperson of the fundraising committee will be a board member appointed by the president. Four other board members will serve on the committee. One of these will be the chairperson of the marketing committee. The director of development will also be a member of the committee. Three additional members may be recommended by the chairperson and approved by the board. These members may be past board members and/or persons with expertise relevant to fundraising and a commitment to this organization.

Jeanne H. Bradner

Jeanne H. Bradner is an author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership. She is the author of three publications, Passionate Volunteerism, The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She served as director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, and Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Community Service. She is the volunteer program specialist for Illinois' Harper College Volunteer Management curriculum.

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