Nonprofits often manage their operations using committees, with the amount of work the committees do depending on how much full-time staff or contractors the organization has. Some committees consist of a chair and/or several volunteers who oversee hired professionals, while other committees perform the work themselves. Common nonprofit committees include the functional areas of finance, fundraising, membership, marketing, publications and meetings.
Nonprofits often organize an executive committee that consists of key board members who can act on behalf of the board of directors when it is not in session. A typical executive committee might consist of the chairman of the board, often called a president, as well as the first vice president, secretary, treasurer and immediate past president. The duties and limits of an executive committee are spelled out in the organization’s bylaws.
A finance committee keeps track of the organization’s assets and liabilities, prepares and recommends the annual budget, presents financial reports at each board meeting, prepares the annual financial report and audits the work of any contractor or employee involved with the organization’s finances. If the nonprofit has an endowment or other significant assets, the committee oversees investment and tax strategies. Committee members should be familiar with the Internal Revenue Service rules that apply to its nonprofit status.
If a nonprofit is a charity, it might create a committee to oversee development and fundraising. Fundraising is the process of raising money for the organization, such as holding raffles, balls, banquets, 10K runs, golf tournaments or direct mail solicitations. Development includes seeking corporate sponsors and large individual donors, writing grants, creating and managing an endowment and other more sophisticated methods of generating revenue.
A membership committee is formed to develop ideas on attracting new members, creating strategies for retaining existing members and getting members involved in the mission of the organization. Common activities of a membership committee include organizing a member-get-a-member campaign, using direct mail, conducting membership surveys and enhancing member benefits.
Nonprofits create marketing plans similar to for-profit businesses as a way of building more awareness about the organization, its mission and its events. Marketing typically includes advertising, public relations, promotions and social media campaigns. Depending on the size of the organization, a nonprofit might create sub-committees to manage its publications and website.
A meetings committee oversees the planning and execution of annual meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops, academies, trade shows, lunch-and-learns and other meetings related to the organization’s mission. Committees either hire and oversee professional meetings planners or use committee members to execute the many aspects of planning meetings. These aspects include venue selection, catering, audiovisual, entertainment, programming, equipment rental and budgeting.