Seven Deadly Sins for Committee People


Believing you have everything under control. Just when everything seems to be going well, suddenly the committee has a major problem. It could be that someone is suing the club, or there's been a break-in and the club's computer has been stolen. There is always another problem around the corner, so be proactive and look for them.


Pretending it is okay if you don't really understand the financial reports the treasurer brings to the committee meetings. Perhaps you feel you can rely on the good judgement of others in financial matters. Well, may be you can and maybe you can't but it would be a good idea if all members of the committee were well informed on financial matters, and understood the organisations financial position.


Failing to develop policy is a sin that is common to many non-profit organisations. Few volunteers have the time, the skills and the inclination to develop policy. As a result, organisations often blunder in matters such as coach and athlete selection, disciplinery hearings, emergency management, financial control, and many more areas. An organisation that has a laxity in policies, is an organisation lacking in control.


The nature of your responsibility as a committee member is that you must ensure that the organisation is compliant with law. Don't, what ever you do, run personal risks of knowingly breaking the law. Don't pay wages to anybody except by proper legal methods i.e. deducting income tax at source and remitting to the Taxation Office. Don't transgress any laws if you can help it. Although, an incorporated association has limited liability, if a director (committee member) transgresses the law, they may be personally liable. Many a committee member has been fined.

Oh, and by the way it is really stupid to embezzle money from the organisation you serve, but unfortunately many do and many are caught.


People who serve as committee members should always be honest with the membership of the organisation. It is one thing to make a mistake but it is much worse to try to cover it up. A committee position is a position of trust (the Fiduciary Duty) and woe betide committee members if they betray this trust. They will receive nothing but vehement criticism.


Committee members, including those who have high office such as President should not behave as though their position gives them the right to make decisions on their own i.e.without the involvement of the committee. Even a President should take no action, or make any decisions without proper process, and this means obtaining consensus or approval from the majority of committee members. Approval may be obtained in a committee meeting or by communicating with committee members individually (i.e. telephone or email).


It is a natural order of things that committee personnel change on a regular basis. New people on committees bring fresh ideas and new vitality. On the otherhand if a person stays on a committee too long, they may grow tired and go stale. Probably about three years is enough for most people. If you stick around longer than that there are a number of risks. Firstly, you might start to believe that you are indespensible! Secondly, if you stay there too long others may begin to see you as part of the problem instead of part of the solution. So, a duty of the committee is to constantly look out for new people to come on to the committee and keep the wheels turning.



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