RUNNING A GROUP

Committee Structures

Published 23rd September 2019

Compiled from resources by LEAN and research by Rohin Shah

The following section contains suggestions on how to structure a committee. Except for the few casual groups, uni groups are affiliated with their university, which usually require formal committee structures. However, small uni groups can use their committee structure flexibly. City groups may only want to use these structures if they become quite large.

General tips

  • Many groups have found that organising people by projects, not specific tasks, seems to work well.
  • Once a group gets bigger, there can be two levels of management: the overarching leadership (see the suggested roles below) and specific project managers.
  • Keep your committee structure flexible.
  • Group members can range in motivation. Highly motivated members will do whatever tasks need to be done and take on responsibilities readily. Less motivated members will need encouragement and structure to complete tasks and may mostly wish to do particularly enjoyable tasks. If you have mostly highly motivated members then adding layers of organisational structure could hinder more than help. But if many of your members are less motivated, the structure can help. Have a look at this document by Rohin Shah for more information.

Example committee structure for a group

  • President(s) – calls committee meetings and is the default chair; ensures that the group organises regular, successful events and activities; ensures a smooth handover to the next committee, liaises with external support such as CEA.
  • Treasurer – updates the committee on budget and shares projections of future income and expenditure; manages the group’s bank account if they have one.
  • Secretary – takes minutes at meetings; arranges locations for committee meetings; other administrative tasks.
  • Publicity & Communications Officer – designs publicity materials; ensures that events and activities are well publicised; manages the group’s social media presence; sends communications to the group’s mailing list.
  • Events Officers – arranges the logistics of events such as booking rooms, buying refreshments, bringing leaflets and questionnaires, etc.
  • Project Manager(s) – manages projects if a group decides to undertake them.

Some uni groups have chosen to have two co-presidents that take on their role for two years – one further on in their course, and one earlier on in their course. Each president gets elected with two years (or more) of university remaining, so there is always one co-president continuing in their role at the end of the academic year.

Other uni groups have chosen to elect presidents in their second to last year of university, and then take the role of immediate past president in their final year to support the new president.

Similar strategies can be used for other committee roles.

Incorporation

If you are considering whether or not to incorporate your city group, it is important to check the legal regulations that your group will adhere to. If your group is not very large or your members do not have a lot of time, the organisational overhead may not be worth it. EA Melbourne shared the considerations that they made.


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