Not for the first time I’ve been inspired by Jeff How Hurt’s latest blog, which basically suggests that committee’s add as much value as a chocolate covering on a bank note. So I’ve come up with my 5 point plan when you have a committee / volunteer panel involved in planning you event:
1. We will use our Committee to identify possible topic areas for us to cover for our members
2. We will use our Committee as a sounding board for the provisional content and delivery. The Committees should not expect to decide how best this content should be delivered, for example at a seminar, or a conference or a lunch. That is the role of the event organiser
3. The volunteers will be the first point of call if content is needed, for example a speaking slot at a conference. But we will proceed with care as we realise you are very busy people. If we require you to give a significant amount of time to the project we will ask for a firm commitment from you.
4. The Committee will be used to check content and will be kept up to date on the events’ progress. You will not be involved in any of the finances or financial decisions.
5. The volunteers will play a vital role as a marketing tool for that product, as recommendations and referrals by the you will have a lot of merit among members
And here’s another one for free: make sure your event is the last item on the agenda. The less time they spend on it the better for you.
If your events team is having trouble with Committees see if you can get those Committees to sign up to the outline above, it might be easier than you think. Sometimes, the organisation and even the events team, assume that the Committees want control, and in return the Committee assume that they are expected to have control. In both circumstances you may find that both the Committee and the organisation are happy with the role as outlined above. Maybe they are operating this way simply because it’s always been done this way. But can we look at processes differently and say: “Well what if we did it this way?”