Serving as a Committee Chair

All Volume 7 Issue 1Serving as a Committee Chair


Committees often get a bad rap in the nonprofit world. They are regarded as too numerous, time wasting entities that do not get much done. The success or otherwise of a committee depends very much on the person serving as the committee chair. Just as the board chair sets the tone for boardroom deliberations, the committee chair has to be prepared to lead by example.

The committee chair should:

  • Be prepared, punctual and positive.
  • Help to establish the strategic objectives of the committee though consultation.
  • Have the ability to wear two hats if they are also a member of the board.
  • Be prepared to liaise with other committee chairs outside the boardroom. Seek out opportunities to provide support to other committees and investigate ways of working together. Do not “Chair” in isolation.
  • Take advantage of the involvement of staff by seeking their ideas, feedback and support. However, be careful to respect the established channels of communication with staff members.
  • Recognise that committee members want to contribute. Utilise the resources offered by committee members. Whether it is their potential network or simply their ability for hard work.
  • Engage stakeholders who are not committee members, board members or staff. These can include other volunteers, potential members, individuals or agencies that are in some way connected to your cause.
  • Ensure that working on the committee is a positive experience for everyone involved. If a committee member is frustrating others or is simply not attending meetings take the necessary action.
  • Pay attention to grooming the vice chair.
  • Celebrate the achievements of the committee.
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