Creating an Oversight Board
If you will operate under another organization's board, then this article is probably not for you.
In the process of creating a new event, your anticipation is your event may not be very large the first couple of years. But you must plan for this event to grow and you should formulate your board with this anticipation.
For this article we will assume that there is no paid staff and your event operates with volunteers. Your board would typically be a working board. One idea is the board is made up of heads of each of the major committees. These are the people that will actually put on the event. They know what goes into making things happen in their area and they have spent untold time thinking about their areas of concern.
Committee chairman are in the best position to keep the lines of communication open with the other committees. This is critical for a successful event.
Terms should be set for board members. Be it 2 years or 3 years, set terms. Make sure that you stagger the terms so that you do not lose the experience of the whole board in one year. It is in the best interest of any event to limit the number of terms that a member can serve.
What happens to smaller events is that people will serve and serve and after many years no one wants to step in and try to do all that this experienced person has done. They, and even the board, may get the idea that they are indispensible. What happens then? Not a good position to be in for the long term health of the event. A solution here is to limit the terms of all - No Exceptions. After they are out for a year then certainly let them return if it works for the committee.
Finding Board Members
When forming your board, try to get a cross section of the community. Many are interested in making this event successful. You need a few very strong people in the community that have no problem generating sponsorship dollars or donations of printing or lumber or office supplies that you will inevitable need. Find active people you need that may have some expertise in several areas.
Some of the organizations to find people
- Area Corporations
- Small Business
- Civic Clubs
- Social Clubs
- Professional Organizations
- Local Government
- Churches and Schools
Typical Board Positions
- Chairman, overall responsibility for the event
- Vice-Chairman, assists & prepares to assume chairmanship the next year
- Treasurer, responsible for all finances and oversee budgeting
- Secretary, responsible for minutes and communication with committees
- A chairmen for each major area of responsibility
Depending on your event here is a list of committees that you may need to establish
- Arts and Crafts
- Gate and Security
There may be a need to set up committees (or groups) under each of the major committees as well.
Communication is extremely important to the overall success of an event. Board members must be informed about what other committees are doing. Facilities must know about electrical needs of the vendors and the arts and crafts etc. Make sure they all have a voice in overall planning. Make sure this communication travels down the chain. With eMail this is much easier accomplished today than in the past. Many event set up a private discussion board on their web site. If you have not considered this, there are easily installed programs that can help keep everyone informed. These discussion boards may be private or open for anyone to view or a combination.
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