A committee’s primary function is to provide programs, products, and services that best meet members’ needs and are cost effective. Committees are the lifeblood of an association because they provide forums for ideas, vision for the future, and they accomplish the majority of an association’s work. Understand more about the types of committees you may encounter.
The Life of a Committee
Each association must individually decide which committees should be standing and which task forces and subcommittees are necessary. When making such decisions, consider the following questions.
- Are the committees as effective as they might be?
- Are there any activities or methods that will increase their odds for success?
REMEMBER: Under the association strategic plan, take appropriate action when committees outlive their functions!
See more about how to effectively appoint people to serve on committees.
Types of Committees
The coordinating committee is a policy recommending committee. A coordinating committee evaluates all recommendations that are presented to it by each group that reports to it, and the coordinating committee acts on those recommendations. A coordinating committee is responsible for addressing conflicts and inconsistencies between committees within its purview and to make recommendations to resolve such conflicts and inconsistencies.
The chair of each committee, under a coordinating committee's purview, reports directly to the Executive Committee if the committee has an action report. The chair of the coordinating committee may accompany each chair of a committee under its purview in the Executive Committee. If the coordinating committee should have a recommendation different from that of the originating committee, the coordinating committee chair will have an opportunity to express the views of the coordinating committee during the Executive Committee, and the recommendation of the coordinating committee shall be outlined (in writing) under the reporting committee's recommendation in the (reporting committee’s) report.
There may be times when a coordinating committee will consider issues that have not been considered by the committees that report to it. The coordinating committee will most likely refer the issue to a committee under its purview, but the coordinating committee is not precluded from advancing the recommendation to the Executive Committee and Board of Directors if it feels doing so would be acting in the best interest of the Association.
Note: The chair and vice chair of each group that reports to a coordinating committee serves on the coordinating committee.
A committee strives to accomplish the programs assigned to it. A committee should continually evaluate existing programs. A committee has the responsibility to address conflicts and inconsistencies between subcommittees within its purview and to make blanket recommendations to resolve such conflicts and inconsistencies.
The chair of a committee reports the committee's recommendation(s) to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors on behalf of the subcommittee(s) that report to it. The committee advances its own recommendation(s). However, the original recommendation(s) of a subcommittee(s) that reports to the committee, if different from the committee's recommendation, shall be outlined (in writing) under the reporting committee's recommendation in the committee's report.
If the committee defeats a recommendation of a subcommittee under its purview because the subcommittee recommendation needs further study or because the committee opposes the subcommittee's recommendation, the recommendation of the subcommittee should be outlined (in writing) either in the non-action section of the committee's action report or in the committee's filed report. The chair of the committee should then inform the Executive Committee that they defeated an action item of a subcommittee under its purview. In the case where the committee files a non-action (filed) report and a subcommittee under its purview has an action item that was defeated, the liaison should report on the non-action item in the Executive Committee.
Note: The chair and vice chair of each group that reports to a committee serves on the committee.
A subcommittee makes recommendations to the full committee in connection with the specific program activities which are assigned to the subcommittee.
A subcommittee reports its recommendations to the full committee.
Note: The chair and vice chair of each subcommittee should serve on the committee to which it reports.
A forum's function is to inform and educate; it provides a means to obtain feedback or to give input on various issues.
A forum neither receives motions nor makes recommendations. However, the deliberations of the forum are fed into the decision-making committees as valuable input.
Note: A forum is open to members who have an interest in the topics discussed. Formal membership rosters are not maintained for forums.
COMMITTEE (INFORMAL) WORKING GROUP
A group of members appointed by a committee chair to do in-depth analysis on a specific issue(s) that is well-defined and within the purview of the committee. Membership is confined to members that serve on the committee to which the working group reports. A working group may only need to meet once or twice to accomplish its task, and it disbands when the task is completed or at the end of the committee year, whichever comes first. If the work of the working group is not completed by the end of the committee year, it is at the discretion of the next chair of the committee to which the working group reports to decide whether to re-appoint the working group to complete the task.
A working group reports its findings/analysis to the committee to which it reports. The committee decides whether to move the recommendations from the working group through the committee reporting process.
Note: The chair and vice chair of a working group shall be members of the committee to which it reports.
FORMAL WORKING GROUP
Same as above except the composition includes members from other committee jurisdictions.
Procedures for Establishing a Formal Working Group:
A chair may initiate a working group subject to the proper approvals as specified below:
- If staff time or budget is involved or issues are being considered that require intensive study and/or cross other committee jurisdictions, the working group must be approved by the president (via Executive Offices) and tracked in the Working Group/PAG Requests and Status database.
- Working group requests are initiated and signed by the committee chair. The liaison and vice president of committees must approve the request via Executive Offices prior to establishing the group.
- If there is a budget impact, a “Special Meetings Authorization Request” must be completed, which requires the approval of the vice president and liaison to committees and the president via Executive Offices. (The chair, liaison and staff executive should discuss prior to submission for approval.) Off-cycle meetings should be conducted in the Chicago or D.C. office unless the president or EVP/CEO approves an exception.
- If members outside the committee to which the working group reports are being considered for membership, the working group roster must be approved by the president (via Executive Offices) and tracked in the Working Group/PAG Requests and Status database.
PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY GROUP
Presidential Advisory Group's members are appointed by the president of the National Association of REALTORS® to address issues that may not fall within the jurisdiction of a standing committee or to address an issue that may be time sensitive. The term of each PAG shall not extend any longer than the term of the appointing President. A Presidential Advisory Group evaluates single activities or projects as assigned by the NAR president.
The report or recommendation(s) generated by a Presidential Advisory Group is to be provided to the NAR President only. Therefore, there shall be no open hearings, forums or reports to committees or affiliates without the review and approval of the president in advance. The president shall approve distribution of the report within the Association.
Note: Presidential Advisory Groups (PAGs) are not part of the official NAR Committee Structure.
In the event that there is a need for a meeting to occur for any group within the Association between the annual and midyear meetings to discuss or review an issue, approval from the president must be granted. The staff executive can assist the chair in completing a Special Meetings Authorization Request, which is necessary to request a special meeting.