New to a committee? Found it a mess? Here’s the first 4 things you need to do!

Committee reflects the organization

There is probably nothing more mortifying than entering a dysfunctional committee in charge of an organization. It is a reflection of the organization. A quick look at how the committee is would give you a good idea of how the whole organization runs. If you are new to a committee that has devolved into a mess, then this is an advantage. Having someone new, most often, provides fresh ideas and programs into the table compared to letting someone who is already dragged into the mess fix the problem.

How do you fix the mess?

Here are the first 3 things that you need to work to jumpstart your efforts of salvaging a dysfunctional committee:

1. Evaluate roles

One of the main reasons why committees fall from being effective and efficient is because of its members lack of role responsibilities. They might not have the proper set of skills and but commitment with a set of responsibilities will work wonders.

2. Review the strategic plan

Review the purpose of the organization to the group’s goals and targets. Are they still aligned? Bring the focus back to the purpose and ensure it is clear to all members via a written strategic plan or at minimum goals and expected outcomes.

3. Work the Agenda

Check on how the next meeting runs and observe if the agenda covers the strategic goals. If it isn’t followed properly then set guidelines and time frames to ensure that everyone follows the agenda. After the meeting follow up on action items that were discussed to ensure progress is made.

4. Do small changes

It is always hard to make big changes, so make sure you take small steps first. Ensure each step is in the direction of your goals. Things take time, but with consistent small steps they can yield big positive results.

7 Ways To Keep Your Volunteers Happy

Volunteerism has changed and evolved over the course of time. Some non-profit organizations were able to keep up with these changes while others have not. Now is the perfect time to check on your current volunteer program and assess whether they’re at par with industry practices or not.

Modern Volunteers

Gone are the days when calling your volunteers in a meeting and giving them general instructions is enough. Volunteers nowadays expect so much more. They are more demanding and may want more than just generic programs. What they’re after is a pleasantly unique experience that is both fun and fulfilling.

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Ways To Keep Your Volunteers Happy

The best thing that you can do to make your volunteers stay and motivated is to keep them happy and fulfilled. Each organization is different and may require a customized approach but here are the foundations where you can build and revamp your programs to keep your volunteers happy.

1. Be prepared and organized

The biggest turn off that volunteers experience is coming to an organization that is unorganized and haven’t figured out how to go about its activities. Volunteers in this situation will only feel disrespected and undervalued. Before taking your volunteers fully on board, ensure that your programs are polished and that your job descriptions are reviewed and accomplished.

2. Warm welcome

Never allow your volunteers to feel uncomfortable even for a minute. Everyone wants to feel welcome especially when entering a new organization. Treat your organization as a home and your volunteers as guests. Let senior volunteers mingle with them and ask directors to drop by and say hello. This is the best way to show that your organization has a happy and a friendly environment.

3. Rouse their interest

You cannot keep modern volunteers by asking them to do clerical work like answering emails all day, mindless filing or data entry. Although clerical work in non-profit organizations are inevitable, try to balance the work load out for your volunteers by putting in complex activities in their task list. The best way to figure this out is to talk to your volunteers and ask them where they’re good at and what they doing. Then draft a work list for them, gauge their reaction and revise accordingly. Put in place the latest technology that automates as much of this as possible, and provides new tools for volunteers to learn.

4. Tasks that develop their skills

One of the top reasons why people volunteer is to develop their skills. Most often it is their leadership skills that they want to enhance. Provide opportunities for them to play this part and evaluate them objectively after. Try to make a program for each key skill and discuss areas where they need to improve on after. They will feel motivated and happy once they see your efforts in helping them become better and uncovering their other skills and passions.

5. Be transparent

Transparency is vital in non-profit organizations. Your volunteers would want to know how the organization is doing. This can be financial matters or other concerns. Discuss your strategy with them and goals in figures. This will make them see how their contributions directly or indirectly affect the organization and will motivate them to bring more to the table.

6. Appreciate them

Tell your volunteers how much you appreciate their work either verbal or through letters. This is a simple yet powerful way to strengthen their morale and make them feel that they are being recognized by the group.

7. Communicate well and often

Communication means so much more today than ever. It not just talking to your volunteers or listening to them. It is a relationship that needs time and effort to build. The advancement in telecommunications have made communication more accessible so it would not hurt to send them a personal SMS or email thrice a week or, if you can, daily. This will make volunteers feel that someone is actually concerned and is looking after them. You will see that they will reciprocate this by working harder and putting in more time for the group.

Do All Motions Need To Be Moved And Seconded?

The question of “do all motions need to be moved and seconded?” is quite common. The answer is not absolute for all. The reality is that it is customary to move and second motions. But then again it will all depend on the governing rules and regulations of your organization.

If your organization clearly states in its rules and regulations that a seconder is necessary then this must be practiced, otherwise, there is no need to do so.

There can also be situations where it has been customary to have a seconder although it is not required by the organization’s rules and regulations. If this is the case then the common action is to continue with the customary practice. Although, technically speaking, it is the discretion of the chair if the common practice is continued or not.

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Robert’s Rule

Robert’s Rules is a set of instructions that is intended to be a guide for meetings and making decisions as a group. If your organization is following the guidelines in this book, it is important to note that is has stated two exceptions for requiring a seconder for a motion:

  1. Small boards. When a board has less than 12 members, motions do not require a seconder.
  2. When a committee report is given and a motion is moved to implement the report’s recommendations.

Which practice to choose?

Another question raised is to decide whether a seconder rules must be implemented in your organization or not. The smartest move here is to apply the seconder rule. Having a seconder to a motion is a good form of validation in terms of support. It shows that members actually believe in the motion, if there is no seconder, and then it will always be a guessing game as to who actually agrees to a motion that is proposed.

How To Market Your Committees’ Achievements

Promoting the accomplishments of your committee is important in building the image of the group to continue having support of your donors and volunteers. However, this is always an overlooked aspect because most of the time, the resources of the group is allotted to other areas like operations or fundraising. This is also because the term marketing is often not viewed as a purpose of the committee, is confused with advertising, and assumed to take a lot of time, effort and money. Well marketing the achievements of your committee does take a lot of hard work but it can be done in easily and cost effectively as long as you understand the fundamentals of doing so.

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Marketing Success

To be able to market anything successfully, consistency and engagement is key. It means that you have to do it regularly and it has to be enticing enough for your target market to take notice and participate. This will only happen through solid and good planning.

Steps to Market Your Achievements

1. Know your objectives

Think and brainstorm about what the committee wants to achieve through marketing in the short and long term. Are there marketing objectives set? If there is none, then talk to the team and create your goals and objectives. Identify as well what behavior changes or action does the committee want to achieve upon implementing the marketing plan.

2. Analysis

Identify the internal and external factors that can affect the implementation of the marketing plan. What resources would you need? Which people in the group should participate? Once you have identified the answers to these questions, then you’ll be able to implement the plan continuously which is important in the success of any marketing plan.

3. Target Market

Create a profile of the people that you want to attract with the marketing plan. It is a common practice to try and target everybody, while this sounds like a good plan it does not speak to anyone in particular and becomes ineffective. It is better to study more about the marketing language that your target market understands and accepts, otherwise, they will just repel or ignore your message.

4. Message

Once you have the objectives, resources and target market, it is now time to create your message. Take the time and consider the following factors:

  • Achievements that you want to promote
  • Format of the promotion (creative graphics, written visuals, memo type)
  • Participants who contributed to the accomplishments
  • What will make it relevant to the reader?
  • What is the tone of the announcement?

5. Channels

Once you have your announcement format, select channels where you want to promote it. Be sure that the channels you employ is reachable and familiar to your target market. It can be done, but not limited, through the following:

  • Social Media
  • Email Blasts
  • Newsletters
  • Group Boards
  • Or all of the above!

The best way to start your marketing plan, especially if it is the first one, is to employ a simple and straightforward method. This is much easier for your target audience to absorb because they can easily repel it if it doesn’t talk to them or if it annoys them. Gathering as much information as you can in terms of your target market is key. Once you are familiar with these, then moving to your next marketing plan will be easier, faster and more effective.

What Millennials want from a Not-for-profit

Every wise not-for-profit leader knows that Millennials are a force to reckon with in the non-profit industry. They have emerged as donors, volunteers, employees and leaders. A research paper published in 2013 reported that 72% of Millennials are eager to join non-profit organizations while 50% are willing to donate to charities on a monthly basis. This data shows the impact that millennials can contribute to non-profit organizations if they are tapped properly.

 

What Millennials Want

The first step in creating your plan and strategies in tapping millennials to join your organization is to uncover what they are looking for or want from a not-for-profit organization.

1. Go Digital

Almost every millennial has access to the internet through a wide array of platforms that can either be via smartphones, tables, laptops etc. Ensure that your organization has strong visibility online. Optimize your website and keep your content as fresh as possible. Millennials are keener in sharing and campaigning for causes that are timely using materials that are visually appealing and easy to share. So put ample time and effort in updating your social media accounts to successfully keep millennials engaged. Make sure you are using modern technology systems internally, if you want them volunteering within your organization.

2. Show Results

Millennials are results-oriented individuals. They are highly motivated by success stories and emotional visuals. Use materials that show the difference or the impact of their contributions. They will not take interest in your cause if they do not know how their efforts and time can help in achieving the organization’s mission and vision.

3. Experience

Millennials value camaraderie and teamwork. They like building relationships with senior people within the organization and receiving recognition for their efforts. Offer training and references to your millennial volunteers to give them experience to build their careers. This is a key factor in keeping millennials engaged and motivated.

4 Ways to Increase Attendance in Meetings

The rate of attendance of members and volunteers in a meeting is crucial to not-for-profit organization. Attendance is essentially optional as it can’t be mandated. Meeting attendance increases the coherence and communication among all members. However, for some organizations, achieving this is a real challenge.

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Before you go and execute your plans to increase the attendance of members in a meeting, try to understand why they do so poorly first. There are various reasons why people do not attend meetings, here are some:

  • They do not know about the meeting
  • They receive late meeting notices
  • Negative perception of meetings in your group
  • They cannot voice out their suggestions
  • Meetings are irrelevant to them
  • Meetings are boring or take too long
  • Meeting place or time is inconvenient for them
  • Meetings have an unclear agenda

1. Agenda

The agenda of a meeting should be planned well ahead of time. With a time frame for each item. This will allow the facilitator to properly determine who should attend as well as the urgency of the meeting. As stated in no 1, if members feel that the meeting is irrelevant to them or has an unclear agenda, they will not bother attending.

2. Time and Place

Meetings should be scheduled and organized well beforehand. This is to ensure that members will be able to book the meeting in their schedules conveniently. Other commitments of members and volunteers need be taken into account so that attending the meeting is easier for them. Moreover, try to book a venue that is convenient for everyone by making sure that it is near and accessible.

3. Sufficient Notice

It is important to notify everyone well in advance usually using email about the meetings details and requesting a response to ensure receipt of the information. Key points that should be included in the email are the following:

  • Time
  • Location
  • Agenda
  • Reports
  • Motions on Notice
  • Outstanding Actions List From Previous Meetings If There Are Any

4. Healthy Discussion

Try to promote a healthy discussion-oriented environment during your meetings. You may do this by allotting specific time slots for members to talk and listen. Remember to also call out anyone courteously should they take too much time in talking. In addition to that, if people feel that their suggestions are being considered, and that their presence is highly valued during meetings their desire to attend.

When to Motion a report – 3 simple guidelines to follow!

Committee reports are handled differently depending on their content. Motions that relate to reports are often used indiscriminately like motions to adopt or to accept. However, that is often unnecessary.

The following are the basic guiding principles that are generally followed for reports as per Robert’s Rules of Order:

  1. If the report states facts or information for the assembly, then there is no need for a motion. If a motion is to be created, it is only to accept the report, which serves as an endorsement that the assembly is now responsible for it.
  2. If the report contains recommendations that are not technically motions, a motion to adopt recommendations may be passed.
  3. If the report ends with a resolution, then the reporting member should move that the resolutions be adopted.

5 Tips to Effectively Chair a Meeting

What is a chairperson?

A leader is essential in any group, project or organization. This is to ensure that everyone stays on track in achieving the groups target or goals. The same is true with meetings, there is a leader as well to guide the flow of the agenda. In a meeting, this person is referred to as the “chairperson” or simply the “chair”.

Here are the main responsibilities of a chairperson:

  • Ensures the meeting flow sticks to the agenda
  • Members respect each other
  • The rules of the meeting are observed
  • Encourages decision making
  • Supervise or prepare notices, agenda, reports, meetings and follow ups

Tips

Every group, team or organization is unique. Each may require a different approach in terms of chairing meetings. But we have outlined basic ways on how to effectively chair meetings to ensure that the best positive outcome is achieved.

1. Set goals

Before the meeting starts it is important to determine what the goal of the meeting is. Specifically, what outcome or decisions should be agreed upon during the meeting? This can be used as metrics to measure the effectivity and efficiency of the meeting as well.

2. Notices

It is important to release advance notices about relevant meeting information to members. The notice should include the following:

  • Agenda
  • Project/Agenda item head
  • Time of the meeting
  • Place of the meeting
  • Relevant documents
  • Minutes of the preceding meeting if applicable

3. Time Management

During the meeting, one good way to ensure that everyone stays on track is to set a time frame per agenda item. The role of the chair is to make sure that time frame is observed. If possible, put the timer on a screen for everyone to see.

4. Encourage and Manage Participants

If the floor is open for discussion, observe who are talking too much and those who are not. Manage those who talk too much by interrupting them politely and encourage those are remaining quiet for their input. If there is a conflict among members, step in by reminding them of the goal of the meeting and negotiate among members in order to arrive at a decision.

5. Evaluate

Once the meeting is done, you may evaluation sheet to gather the opinions and suggestions of the members in terms of facilitating the next meeting. Improve on areas that makes the meeting effective and avoid those that slows the progress of the meeting.