How to set up a group committee

What is a group committee?

For any group, social club, or team it’s important to have a committee in place who can make important decisions, which helps with the smooth running of the group. A committee is usually voted in by the rest of the group, depending on how many individuals volunteer for certain positions. Whilst everyone within the group or club is a valued member, the committee members are able to make decisions based off open discussions and feedback from all group members.

How to set up a group committee

Who should sit on the committee?

Individuals should sit on a committee if they are committed to the running of the group or club. It can be a lot of responsibility and requires extra time and resource, which isn’t always ideal for a lot of people. There are set roles that should make up the committee. These include:

  • Chair

This is the person who sits at the head of the committee meetings and helps to manage the running of the agenda. This ensures that all topics and issues are covered. You need to ensure that the committee works together and that your meetings arrive at conclusions and decisions, which will help the whole group. The chair will ensure that each person at the committee meeting gets a chance to talk and any further action from decisions made are actioned. Although the chair tends to head-up the committee meetings, they’re not ‘in charge’ by any means. They’re simply there to mediate and ensure all topics are covered and everyone has a chance to voice their concerns or points.

As chair, you also need to encourage conversations and discussions around topics that you believe require debate. You don’t have to make each and every decision, but you should be a prominent figure in ensuring decisions are made. Your committee members will help reach those decisions together, so a collective agreement can be made.

You’ll also be the first port of call for most of the members in the group, if they have an issue or point of discussion they wish to bring up. This doesn’t mean that you’ll then go on to deal with every issue; there may be someone else on the committee or within the group that would be better suited. Your role is to determine who would be best to help. Having good leadership skills and the ability to make decisions would suit someone for this role.

How to set up a group committee

Secretary

Not all responsibility can fall to the chair, so other roles on a group committee are essential, such as the secretary. If you take on the role of secretary, you’ll usually be expected to take minutes when committee meetings are held; this simply means taking notes during the meeting, so that any important information or decisions are recorded appropriately. This doesn’t mean noting down every single word that’s spoke, but deciphering what topics are being discussed and the most important points being made. This is an important role, as it will enable the committee to take action on certain issues after the meeting has ended. Without a proper record of the discussions, these issues may never be resolved and can cause disruption within your group or club.

As secretary, you’ll also regularly communicate with group members, as well as new members. This may be regarding activities that have been announced or sending members a review of the committee meetings. Regular communication with group members is important, so introducing yourself as the secretary from the get go will help individuals understand what your role is. You’ll probably be in charge of your group’s public email inbox too, which means you’ll be communicating with people external to your organisation. Appointing someone as secretary with good language and communication skills is essential.

How to set up a group committee

Treasurer

Although you might not have a lot of financial commitments within your group, it’s still important to appoint a treasurer. This is someone who will look after any money that should be handled by the group, such as donations, club fees, or equipment costs. In order to be appointed treasurer, you’ll need to have good organisational skills and even a background in accounting, although this isn’t strictly necessary. You won’t be solely responsible for spending your group’s funds, but you will be responsible for managing the money, ensuring everything is tracked properly, as well as maintaining bank statements and receipts.

If you don’t have enough members to appoint a treasurer, sometimes this becomes part of the secretary’s role, but it is always beneficial to have a dedicated individual to deal with the financial side of things. This individual will also need to keep the committee up to date on the group’s financial situation, such as grant submission statuses or late member fees.

Other roles could include a press officer, new members’ secretary, grants officer, social media manager etc. It really depends on the nature of your group and how much work is involved, as it whether some task require a dedicated person. 

How to set up a group committee

Does my group need a committee?

It’s understandable that smaller groups might not deem it necessary to appoint a committee; however, we would recommend at least appointing the three positions above. Having a strong team and leadership committee can ensure that all voices are heard and listened to, so that solutions can be found and your group grows from strength to strength.

If your group is very small, you don’t necessarily have to appoint official members of the committee, but include everyone in the decision making process.

How do people become committee members?

Creating a job description for each member position will allow people to decide whether they’d like to apply for the position. They can then nominate themselves and if more than one person runs for a position, you can put it to a vote from your other group members. Usually, people naturally fall into committee positions, for example, the individual who set up the group may be the best person to be chair.

Try to determine people’s skill sets before they nominate themselves, however. You may have an accountant in your group who would be ideal for the treasurer role or an individual who already runs a successful social media page.

Remember, it’s better to have volunteers for these roles. That way you know they’re eager to help, as opposed to feeling pressured into it. Another way of managing your committee if you have a small group, is to rotate the roles of a yearly basis. This means that you will have a different chair or secretary each year. This can be beneficial, as it means it’s not the same people making decisions all the time.

If you’re thinking about starting a group in Lancashire, or person just looking for advice on how to run your group, check out Our Lancashire for more information.