Committee Issues

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Lack of nominations for committee

What happens when a club or association has an Annual General Meeting (AGM) at which there are no nominees for President, Vice-President, Secretary and/or Treasurer? This situation may unfortunately occur occasionally.

Normally the process of nominating for a position on the committee requires a nomination form to be completed and lodged with the secretary 14 days before the AGM. But if no nominations are received, the chairperson of the meeting (usually the outgoing President) can call for nominees 'from the floor'. This terminology 'from the floor' means someone who is present at the AGM.

Incentives to become a committee member

Normally, a position on the club or association's committee is voluntary i.e. no payment for services renedered.

In circumstances where there is great reluctance for club members to nominate for committee positions, there is often a suggestion to offer some incentives such as payment of a small honorarium and/or the removal of membership fees for the nominee and their immediate family.

While this may seem a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and it is, many people would disagree. This is what one person said who was a committee member:

"I for one oppose 'paying' committee members. It is true that I derive some benefit in that my membership fee is waived, however receiving money for volunteering doesn't sound much like volunteering. Raise fees if we must, and employee professional help to take the load off the committee. I agree we need to move to towards professionalism, I just can't see how we can afford it on our income. I don't believe we are guilty of generating a crisis, more like having a crisis thrust upon us. All voluntary work incurs a cost for the volunteer, it is how much cost one can bear that determines the level of commitment."

Committee Factions

Committees are often divided into factions. A faction is a group of like-minded committee members that work together to achieve certain objectives, often in opposition to other committee members. Constant fighting at the committee table can be time-wasting, exhausting and damaging to the organisation as a whole. This situations often leads to more time and energy spent on internal politics and less on the driving the organisation forward.

Any President faced with this situation needs to be skillful in the art of compromise and diplomacy. It is important to recognise that there will always be dissenting opinion at the committee table. The President should endeavour to steer committee meetings away from open-hostility and towards helping individuals on the committee to accept differences of opnion. Rather than extensive debates that no-one wins, the President should allow a fair and equal contribution from committee members who take opposing stances and then put the matter to the vote. There is generally no argument with democracy.

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