What is a Committee Chair? (Overview, Roles, and Responsibilities)

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • October 18, 2022
Committee Chair
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The committee chair is responsible for overseeing committee meetings, communicating milestones, and keeping committee members on track.

Chairing in any capacity is a significant milestone. It provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about the workings of the organization you serve and get involved with your community, while allowing you to showcase your leadership skills and gain relevant experience.

Despite the benefits, being a committee chair requires hard work and determination. From leading the annual general meeting to equipping your fellow board members with the right board tools and technology, read on to learn the roles and responsibilities of a committee chair.

What is a Committee Chair?

Committees come in many shapes and sizes. Some are made up of just two people, while others have dozens. Regardless of size, the primary purpose of a committee is to provide advice and guidance to the organization. 

Committees are usually formed when there is a need to bring together different groups of people to deliberate on a specific topic. For example, a committee might be set up to review new policies, develop strategies, or even plan events.

A committee chair is someone who has been elected or appointed to lead a particular committee within their organization. The term “chair” implies authority and responsibility. This person is expected to take charge of the committee and ensure its smooth running. 

In most cases, the chairperson is responsible for organizing the agenda and ensuring that each committee member attends every meeting. They may also be tasked with preparing reports and presenting them to the rest of the committee members.

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Committee Chair Responsibilities

The job of a committee chair is to oversee the committee’s activities. To do so, they must be familiar with the committee’s objectives, goals, and processes. They must also understand the role of each committee member and how they contribute to the group’s overall success. A good committee chair should communicate effectively with other committee members and work collaboratively.

The following are some of the critical responsibilities of a committee chair:

1. Plan Committee Meetings

The committee chair is responsible for planning committee meetings. This requires identifying the date and time of the next meeting, whether it should be held remotely or in-person, and a location (if needed). To ensure the meeting runs smoothly, the chairperson must also create an agenda and distribute it prior to the meeting. 

2. Schedule Cross-Committee Meetings

The chairperson is also required to schedule any necessary cross-committee meetings, which involves collaborating with other committee chairs to plan. These meetings are often used to discuss topics that require input from multiple committees.

For instance, a marketing board might want to hear feedback from the fundraising team regarding the effectiveness of current advertising campaigns. Similarly, a finance committee might want to know how much money will be needed to fund future projects.

3. Prepare and Distribute Meeting Minutes

After every meeting, the chairperson should prepare a summary of the proceedings. This document serves as a record of the meeting and helps keep everyone up-to-date on the latest developments. It also provides a handy reference tool for action items and future discussions. In addition to preparing the minutes, the chairperson should send copies of the minutes to all attendees.

4. Distribute and Manage Committee Documents

As the chairperson, you’ll need to manage documents related to the committee. These documents include reports, presentations, and other materials that help the committee reach its goals. To do so, you’ll need to organize them into folders and subfolders. Here are some things to think about when organizing these files:

  • Keep all documents organized within their respective folders.
  • Create separate folders for each project.
  • Create folders for different types of documents. For example, you may want to create separate folders for presentation slides, meeting minutes, and financial statements.

5. Leverage Board Meeting Technology

An excellent committee chair will always strive to provide value to the committee members. That means being approachable and accessible, facilitating discussions, and helping the group stay focused on the task at hand. 

A board meeting technology solution like OnBoard makes it hassle-free for committee chairs to plan, run, and facilitate committee meetings. As a top-class board management software, OnBoard comes packed with features that streamline boardwork. From creating customized meeting templates to securely storing documents, OnBoard helps committees achieve more. 

Download OnBoard’s free template for board meeting minutes to enhance your post-board meeting communication.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Makes a Good Committee Chair?

    The best committee chairs are those who understand how important it is to be approachable and accessible. They are natural leaders who keep the committee focused on their goals.

  • What Powers Do Committee Chairs Have?

    Committee chairs are responsible for holding meetings and assigning tasks. In addition, they oversee committee members, and can dismiss them if needed.

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About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.