Board Committees

Your board committees are more than just a way to get work done. They’re your best way to engage future leaders who may become board members down the road. For someone interested in what your district does, being on a committee is a way to test the waters. For you, it’s a chance to see how they work. But you’ll need to plan ahead. Committee members that are thrown into the work without much support usually get frustrated and leave. This costs the district valuable talent.

Clear Charter

Before you add non-board members to a committee, make sure the committee has a charter that clarifies its job and level of authority. For instance, is the events committee’s job to execute existing events, or are they free to envision new ones? Can they dive into planning these events, or is board approval needed? If the answers aren’t clear, don’t bring non-board members on to the committee until they are.


When a non-board committee member joins, sit down with them and give them the basics of both the committee and of the organization as a whole. Walk them through this in person over coffee. This is much more welcoming than just giving them documents and expecting them to read up on their own.

Face the District

District-facing committees (Events, Marketing, Branding, etc.) are the first place to engage emerging leaders. They’re the most tangible and they put the new committee member directly in touch with your benefits and members.


Assign each non-board committee member a mentor who has some history. They should meet before meetings to discuss context, backstories, demystify acronyms or policy issues and be available if there are questions.

Policies Apply

Non board committee members should sign the same policies as board members: Confidentiality, Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest, Anti-Harassment, Anti-Discrimination and Whistleblower.

Check In

Keep in touch with non-board committee members and make sure they feel effective and connected. If they’re on a committee of mostly board members, it’s easy for them to feel less knowledgeable or marginalized.

Have Fun

Volunteering should be fun – even meetings and hard work. Celebrate success, go out for drinks after meetings, tell jokes and smile.


Committee Structure

Full Board

  • Reviews committee proposals
  • Discusses items of sufficient importance that require full board understanding
  • Creates committees
  • Approves budget, policy, strategy, etc.

Governance Committees

  • Executive (Board officers)
    • Acts as full board in emergency
    • Recommends advocacy positions
  • Finance (Board members and non-board members with financial expertise)
    • Drafts budgets and financial statements and presents to board
    • Ensures fiscal controls and financial policies
    • Drafts annual tax return (990)
  • Nominating/Board Development (Board members)
    • Coordinates nominations and elections
    • Assess board needs
    • Identifies and cultivates future prospects
    • Builds board skills

Program Committees

  • Membership (Board members, staff, Secretary)
    • Creates and articulates benefits
    • Plans and coordinates annual membership campaign
    • Mobilizes rest of board in campaign
    • Tracks membership
  • Events (Board members, staff, non-board volunteers)
    • Plans and implements events
  • Marketing and Promotions (Board members, staff, non-board volunteers)
    • Develop and implement marketing and promotional campaigns

Ad-Hoc Committees (one time projects/issues)

  • Website, Hiring, Parking, Construction, Branding, etc.