Being on a committee can be stressful. Unfortunately, committees are one of the most effective ways to organize and complete projects. Activities like fundraisers, community service projects, special events, and academic and professional projects often require committees.
If work is involved in achieving a goal, whether personal or for a group, it's safe to assume that committee involvement will happen.
No matter what kind of committee you're involved in, it's important to think about the W's — the who, what, when, where and why — before and after the event.
Who are your committee members, and do you have a list of how to contact them?
If you don't know who you're working with and how to get ahold of them, how will you get anything done?
Who needs to approve the project?
Some projects need approval from an advisor or superior, while others need support from the entire group.
Who is your audience?
Is anyone going to see this project? If so, who and what needs to be done to meet their expectations?
Who will benefit?
Hopefully, the committee members will benefit, but will anyone else?
Who will do the work?
This is one of the most critical questions. The purpose of a committee is to distribute the work so that it is manageable. If you don't know who is doing the work, no one will.
What are you planning to do for this project?
Is it a fundraiser, community service project, a combination of the two or something entirely different?
What kind of funds will be needed?
Do you have to rent or buy anything? Buildings, food, insurance and supplies can add up quickly.
What kind of publicity will be needed?
If you don't publicize a fundraiser, you won't get any funds. Do you need word of mouth, flyers, emails, social media posts, newspaper ads, radio spots or even TV commercials? Remember to consider the required funds for this!
Why do you want to do this project?
If you don't know why you're doing something, why are you doing it?
Why is this project important?
If the project isn't important to anyone, no one will care.
When will the project take place?
Conflicting schedules? Pick it and stick with it. Not everyone will always be able to show up, so pick a date and stick with it. Prepare a timeline so that everyone knows when work needs to be done.
When is publicity needed by?
If you announce a community service project the night before it happens, people won't have time to adjust their schedules. Some media outlets require the announcement in advance, so it's important to know when publicity needs to be ready by.
Where will committee members meet to plan?
Do you need WiFi, tables and chairs, or space to build things?
Where will the activity take place?
Is it a special activity that needs a particular location, or can it be held where the committee members meet?
After the event, it's time to ask yourself and other committee members:
Who needs to receive a thank you note?
Who will write the thank you notes?
What went well?
What didn't work so well?
Where could you make improvements?
When do the thank you notes need to be written by?
Why was it a success?
Why didn't it go well?
Being on a committee will always have its challenges, but thinking about the W's before and after a project can make life easier for everyone.