These best practices can help your committees run themselves, efficiently and without conflict:

Give committees a job to do. Every committee should have a specific purpose, clear expectations, budget, timeline, and milestones. Don’t establish any committee without a definite idea of what you want it to accomplish.

Focus on the goals, not the process. Once you establish the goals and parameters for the committee, let the committee itself decide how they will do the actual work. Micromanaging is more likely to undermine the work than to move it forward.

Set milestones. Committees should report their progress to the board at regular, predetermined intervals. Use these check-ins to make sure the committee is progressing as you expect and has all the resources needed to effectively execute their work.

Get all members involved. It’s up to the committee chair to divide the milestones into discrete jobs and to make sure everyone is involved in moving the committee toward its goal. Keep in mind that people participate because they want to make a meaningful contribution, not just to do busywork.

Don’t wait until the end to say thanks. Celebrate when milestones are reached along the way, even if you haven’t completed the entire job. Giving people encouragement will help keep them energized even for long projects.

Learn more: PTO and PTA committees topic page