Committees perform functions for businesses, non-profit organizations, schools and social clubs. For example, a legal firm may form a committee to vet new partners. Or, a city-level baseball league may need a committee to select and purchase team uniforms. The primary duty of each committee involves accomplishing the assigned purpose on behalf of its parent organization.
The committee starts by selecting a chairperson--and any other leadership position, such as a secretary or treasurer--if one hasn't already been appointed. These leaders provide a chain of command within the committee, which meets on a regular basis to share knowledge and experience to plan and accomplish its purpose. It does this by breaking up the workload into smaller assignments for its members to accomplish. Each committee also communicates regularly with its parent organization, providing progress updates, expense reports or recommendations. Parent organizations often provide guidelines as to the kind and frequency of communication required.
Duties of Members
Committee members must attend scheduled meetings, participate in discussions and share the workload. Each member’s expertise, whether a skill or knowledge, contributes to the committee’s success. When assigned a task, it becomes each member's duty to complete the task and report back to the committee.
Each committee has a chairperson to lead meetings. Some organizations appoint a chairperson responsible for recruiting members, but more commonly, all committee members serve by appointment and the group elects a chairperson from its ranks. The chairperson serves as the committee's manager, responsible for setting a meeting schedule, arranging a meeting place, preparing agendas and keeping minutes to record discussions and actions taken at all meetings. The responsibility of reporting progress, project completion, or providing committee recommendations also falls to the chairperson, but the chair can delegate any of these duties to other members.