What Are the Duties of a Committee?

by Gwen Hagaman; Updated September 26, 2017
Serving on a committee enhances your sense of teamwork.

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.

Group Responsibilities

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.

Chairmanship Duties

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.

About the Author

Gwen Hagaman has worked as a news journalist and photographer since 1973. She authored the documentary book "Summersville Hydroelectric Power Plant" and video entitled "Barbour County, WV." She develops websites, newsletters and literature for companies and non-profits. Hagaman attended Porterville College. Her work has received national and regional recognition.

Photo Credits

  • three cool business men image by Ricardo Verde Costa from Fotolia.com