In most communities, the Board of Directors through the President has the authority to create and appoint volunteers to various committees. Many times the Board members have to make an effort to recruit fellow neighbors to serve on committees. The following are some suggestions which may benefit your community when using committees to assist the Board in seeking input on issues:
- Create committees with purpose. People want to know what the expectation is of them if they choose to participate. It is the Board’s responsibility to provide clear purpose for each committee they establish. Ensure each committee member understands that they are not decision makers for the community. Their purpose is to provide recommendations to the Board of Directors for consideration. The Board may establish standing committees which are committees that are on-going or ad hoc committees which have a specific task and date for completion. Once the ad hoc’s committee task is complete the committee no longer exists.
- Know if a committee is required. Check your Declaration to understand if specific committees are required for your community. In some situations the Declaration will require and provide purpose for certain committees, for example an Architectural Controls Committee. Other committees can be created by the Board of Directors for specific purposes. For example a Social Committee to propose, produce and facilitate social events for the enjoyment of the community.
- Assign a Board Liaison to be responsible for each committee. The Board Liaison should be willing to attend each committee meeting to act as a resource to the committee. The Board Liaison should not Chair the committee or vote on issues. They should provide input when requested and ensure that the committee remains focused on its purpose as defined by the Board of Directors.
- Require each committee to keep minutes and to report those minutes to their Board Liaison. GA law requires each committee established by a Board of Directors to maintain minutes as an official record of the Association. The Board Liaison should provide a monthly recap (copy of the committee minutes) of the committee activities to all Board members either prior to or during each Board of Directors scheduled meeting. This will keep the entire Board informed of committees’ activities in a timely manner. If your community has a website you could consider posting committee meeting minutes for all residents to view.
- Never deny an Association member in good standing the right to serve on a committee of their choice. This will only create a divide between that person and the Board. We spend enough time working to disprove the perception that Boards are secretive and only allow “their friends” to participate. Denying a willing volunteer participation is not good for the community. The Board should welcome and encourage community volunteers.
- Award committee members for their participation. Public recognition of volunteers builds rapport and may get others to become involved. Communities can do this by recognizing volunteers at the annual meeting, scheduling a volunteer appreciation party, or many other creative ways of showing appreciation for those who volunteer for your community.
- Know when to end a committee. A committee of one is not a committee! If a standing committee, such as a Public Relations Committee, experiences a lack of participation the Board should terminate the committee. To have a committee for the sake of having a committee when no one is participating is useless.
- If a committee is responsible for a budget line item, such as social events. The committee should provide expense recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval. Association funds should not be expended without Board approval and oversight.
Many people find personal satisfaction in volunteering in their community. When establishing committees a Board should provide guidance, leadership and enthusiasm to those who volunteer to serve. Committees are usually a good source for recruitment of new Board members. A community made up of interested volunteers will make for a strong, healthy and happy community for all.