Every year the same thing; people resign from the committee and you are left with some gaping holes in your management structure. For some this can be a short term issue but for others, finding new committee members can be a real pain in the neck.
Having held a number of roles in well managed clubs, as well as some less well managed, I know the issue first hand both as a member being approached to become a committee members and as a committee member doing the approaching.
I have compiled my top ten tips to try and help you address this issue and make filling your committee a more pleasurable experience!
- Have a clear job description for each role, potential committee members need to know what role they are taking on, the potential time commitment and what the expectations of them are.
- Break down large roles to make them less onerous. Either split between two committee members or ensure there is a sub committee to support a role. So for example if your club has a large membership do you just have a secretary role or do you add in a membership secretary too? On the converse of this, if you already have both these roles and are struggling to fill both, do you need both positions? What tools can you introduce that may ease the workload and allow you to combine two roles?
- Create a “job advert”. This helps you to focus on the role but also the benefits for the post holder. Whilst you won’t be offering monetary reward, experience can be so valuable to a student’s CV, shaping the future of the club can be important to a family member, adding new skills to a portfolio can be important to a career minded individual and giving something back to the community may be of interest to someone coming to the end of their sports career.
- Have a club plan. This allows potential committee members to understand the vision and recognise the benefits of this for the club and see their role in achieving this vision. A good club plan can create passion and enthusiasm and the desire to get involved.
- Communicate well. Use all the tools at your disposal to communicate vacant roles and give ample notice. So for example post vacancies on your website, in your newsletter, on noticeboards and enlist the support of team captains and managers to update members. (It is important that you have fully briefed anyone you enlist to sell the role in a positive light).
- Head hunt. Don’t be afraid to go out and target someone you feel meets the requirements of the role. If big business can do this so can you! It is essential that you consider the approach and the conversation you propose to have. You don’t want to sound desperate and you want the individual to realise you want them because of the value they will add.
- Target your bottom 20%. Remember the 20/80/20 breakdown of your membership (mentioned in an earlier post). Your committee currently is probably made up of your top 20%, die hard members of the club who will probably never leave. The next 60% are your “safe” members; participating regularly and happy with their status within the club. Your bottom 20% are your “at risk” members. Those not fully engaged, maybe not participating regularly and not fully engaged with club social life. These members will be able to offer some real insight to committee meetings and will have loads to offer. So ensure all your advertising and targeting is appropriate to reach and engage with this audience.
- Promise and deliver responsibility. So many committee positions actually offer very little power. Make sure you allow committee members to have responsibility for their remit, know that they will be listened to and allowed to drive forward their part of the club vision.
- Co-opt members for ad-hoc projects or to support a large project. Don’t be afraid to co-opt members on to the committee as required in order to take the pressure off the full committee. This way members of the committee will have support when required and will be more likely to stay in position for longer. I am sure you will find that co-opting people to take on a role for a short term will prove easier that filling a full time position.
- Don’t be too serious! It is so important that when getting volunteers who are combining this role with their full time work or other commitments outside the club, that there is room for some laughter and fun. Manage your meetings well, start and finish on time and find some time for social interaction with your fellow committee members.
If you have any tips of your own to help other clubs tackle this tricky issue please do share them with me, I would love to know how the best clubs manage to fill their positions and maintain a harmonious and productive management team.