Organizing Your Volunteer Committees with Your Members

By Allison Scudder • August 5, 2022

Accomplishing goals in an association can sometimes be easily done with the help of a strong volunteer structure. Member volunteers go above and beyond the programs they are on because they share similar motives that align with your mission and vision for the association therefore becoming spokespeople for your organization. Your committee members are more likely to be engaged, renew their membership, and recruit new members. Therefore, your staff and board must collaborate to build committees that will support your mission and give members and future members an opportunity to make meaningful contributions.


Standing committees exist to help further the mission of the organization. The board of directors delegates tasks to the committees to complete that will keep the day-to-day operation of the organization moving. They can advise the board of directors on new programs, resources, or procedural activities. Common volunteer committees include:

  • Membership – strategize on ways to attract and keep new members. This can include membership drives, membership surveys, and evaluating benefits.
  • Public Relations – create awareness of your organization’s activities and mission.
  • Finance – manages the budget and oversees the assets and liabilities.
  • Events – create programming for live and/or virtual experiences.
  • Fundraising – creating interpersonal development through philanthropic activities, while working to earn the association non-dues revenue.
  • Marketing – developing an online presence to increase member engagement and non-dues revenue.
  • Governance – advocating and staying up to date with the industry’s laws and regulations.

Depending on the size of your organization and the goals of the committee, sub-committees can further divide the work and be more project focused.


Candidates for committee members can come from various sources but should stay within your membership pool and should come from nominations directly from the board of directors or an online application for self-nomination. Following your bylaws should be the foundation on which the committee members are selected. Diverse representation for your committee members is strongly recommended. As Sheri Jacobs shares in Membership Essentials, there are four types of diversity to keep in mind:

  1. Geographic diversity: Your committees should reflect the same areas where your members are located.
  2. Professional diversity: People at different stages of their career have different programming wants. Including all levels in all departments will ensure that every membership group will have their voices heard.
  3. Company diversity: Businesses of different sizes, like people in different stages of their career, have different needs.
  4. Personal diversity: Gender, age, and ethnic background can all bring a fresh perspective on programs.

Diverse volunteers will be able to share different experiences and perspectives that speaks to the broader membership.


Committees should meet beyond the requirements of the committee charter. Engaging your committee members beyond these requirements will make for better ambassadors of your organization. You can provide added value to your volunteers by inviting them to additional luncheons, happy hours, or other learning opportunities.

As an association, you have a variety of members who joined because they share the same vision and mission of your specific industry. Having committees that focus on your strategic goals allows you to connect with members and offers your association the opportunity to connect with the community outside of your organization. Aligning your goals to select your committee members by first defining your goals, selecting your committee members, and having a diverse selection will make a positive impact in your industry for your current and future new members.