06 Aug May the Force be with you – the Task Force, that is!
Volunteer task forces are a great way to change your organization’s “Death Star” practices. Grab a group of your volunteers and “task” them with addressing ONE area of the organization that is not working.
Who should you invite on your task force journey? Keep the group small to make sure everyone is able to participate – somewhere between 4 and 6 people. Include at least one staff member who can give context to your discussions. With the right mandate, task forces can be empowered to really clean things up. Task forces are attractive to new volunteers because they are:
Finite – They involve a specific number of meetings, and a short-term commitment;
Specific – Volunteers have the opportunity to “get closer” to the organization without having to sit on a board.
Outcome-driven – There is nothing like that feeling of getting something done to charge up a volunteer.
Examples of task forces and their mandates:
Program review – determine if the program outcomes are aligned with the organization’s mission, if costs for the program are reasonable, and propose new options for program delivery.
Annual fundraising event –assess whether the event is a good use of resources, whether there are opportunities to raise more funds from other sources, and propose ways the organization should do this.
Membership criteria – review current membership criteria and determine if they are still relevant.
By law review – review current bylaws and propose updates. Task forces are a great way to “test drive” new board members.
As staff members, we often know what needs to change. But staff are the wrong messengers: sometimes the voice of the volunteer is the best messengers to bring about real change.