As we covered in a previous post, leadership requires you make some key decisions and put in some effort to kick-start a group and to ensure it grows. This may all be on your shoulders, but there are many different ways you can structure group leadership, including the concept of a council.
Formal Councils & Boards
You don’t need a president, though if that works for you, go for it. Refresh Austin tried the concept of a rotating board, which allowed us the ability to split up the duties so no one person was overwhelmed with work. If you are trying to revive or improve an existing group, contact some of the most active members of your group and invite them to join the board. It is vitally important that you select people who are excited about the group and have participated in the past. If you have enough people interested then this may be a great set up for you.
Tip: If you’re just starting the group, don’t worry about voting to fill the roles, pick your most excited and competent people and split up the roles. In Refresh Austin, we specifically set a three month cap on this first board so everyone understood that we were in the roles merely to get the group moving, and that after the first 90 days anyone could volunteer for a spot on the board.
Here are some roles that might be useful for your group. Mix and match to meet your needs, but avoid having too many people involved. Small groups can make decisions, big groups are constantly delayed.
The Venue Coordinator chooses and reserves a venue. The goal is to have a regular meeting spot that is relatively convenient for the group (you won’t please everyone), has the equipment you need (a projector, screen etc.) and is discussion-friendly., and at or in walking distance of a bar or restaurant where people can socialize afterwards.
The Topic Scheduler publishes the event schedule, including information about the discussions and presentations. This person gathers and coordinates requests for topics, receives feedback from the group as to what should be covered and lines up speakers.
The Materials Wrangler is needed if your venue doesn’t have the equipment required for your meeting. They ensure that a projector is brought to each meeting, and is responsible for gathering any other materials that may be needed. They do not have to own the materials, they merely need to ensure that someone will bring them.
The Communicator ensures that meeting notices, reminders and group news are sent to the group throughout each month and updates the Web site and any other tools.
The Archivist is responsible for gathering the presentation materials and posting them on the site after the meeting. Ideally the Archivist would capture audio or video of the event which could be turned into a podcast.