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Look here for infomation and the latest techniques to develop your board or committee. The purpose is to help those who work or serve on nonprofit boards of directors or committees.
~September 2001~
  • For Leaders of Volunteers: The Volunteer Support Committee

There is grief throughout the world for those lost and injured by terrorist attacks. But, there are also thanks for outpourings of love, condolence, sympathy, and encouragement from family, friends and neighbors from Sri Lanka to Sydney to Sacramento, and Sweden.

"Now let us thank the Eternal Power: convinced
That Heaven but tries our virtue by affliction.
That oft the cloud which wraps the present hour
Serves but to brighten all our future days."
John Brown 1715-1766

For Leaders of Volunteers: The Volunteer Support Committee

Do you have some of the following concerns about your volunteer program?

If you answer "yes" to some of these questions, a volunteer support committee could be very helpful. I call it a "volunteer support committee" because if it is called an "advisory committee", it will see its function only as giving advice and not assisting where appropriate in, for example, recruitment or recognition. However, if you choose to follow this recommendation, make sure it is clear in the job description that policies about the volunteer program are subject to approval by the board of directors so that committee members understand they aren't in a governance position but are there to advise and assist.

The following are the items you need to decide in advance and put into writing. They will form what I call a Committee Commission:

1. The Mission of the Volunteer Support Committee:

Draft a mission for the committee. For example:

The mission of the Volunteer Support Committee is to advise and assist the organization through its director of volunteers to provide a volunteer program that maximizes the talents and skills of volunteers in fulfilling the organizational mission and improving the community.


2. The Job Description for the Volunteer Support Committee:

Then draft a job description for committee members based on your needs and draft mission:
For example:

Members of the Volunteer Support Committee will advise and assist the director of volunteers in:


3. The Composition of the Volunteer Support Committee:

Then analyze the mission and job description to decide what people you need to recruit. For example:

4. Terms Of Office and Frequency of Meetings:

I usually advocate two-year terms. If you are starting fresh, half of the committee can be selected for a three- year term and half for a two-year term. After that, everyone will be appointed for two-year terms, but only half of the committee will rotate off each year, giving you some continuity.

Quarterly meetings usually are required, but meetings can be more frequent when and if required. Do make sure there is a good reason and an agenda for each meeting. Nothing turns volunteers off more than being invited to meaningless meetings. If there isn't a reason for even a quarterly meeting, then it is time to reevaluate the mission and job description of the committee.

Tell Jeanne about your experiences with volunteer support committees at Jeannebrad@aol.com.

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.

Send your comments and questions to Jeannebrad@aol.com.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.
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