Tips to help guide your organization

By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo

Many organizations, farm-related and otherwise, will have recently passed (or soon will pass), their year-end.
Throughout the coming months, these organizations will be holding their annual meetings, with one of the main agenda items being to elect a new board of directors.
The board of directors will have the responsibility of guiding the organization for the following year. If the chair of the board is not elected/appointed at the annual meeting, then the selection is one of the first duties of the new board of directors.
The selection of the chair should not be taken lightly.
To maintain a truly effective organization, the chair has more responsibilities than simply calling meetings and asking “All in favour . . .” at the appropriate moment.
Keeping an organization running smoothly requires attention to details.
The chair must watch the board for signs of interest and disinterest so that the proper support can be provided as required.
Maintaining your organization is similar to supervising: the role is to provide those supports which help volunteers achieve goals.
Activities that will help to maintain your organization are:
•plan and prepare well for meetings (no one, especially volunteers, likes to spend three hours at a meeting that could have been over in one hour);
•help members feel important; that their contribution is valuable and needed;
•be sure all members know their responsibilities and exactly what is expected of them;
•be a good listener;
•ensure the group knows that progress is being made because of their participation;
•recognize members for their participation;
•start the group out with a readily “do-able” task;
•select a task of common concern;
•maintain contact with all the members;
•provide the opportunity for everyone to speak and participate;
•delegate responsibility to all members;
•be sure the results of group recommendations are given meaningful and public attention; and
•start and stop meetings on time.
Most of the activities are the responsibility of the chair. However, to some extent, the directors/members also have a responsibility to ensure these activities take place.
Dates to remember
•Jan. 26—Nor-West Animal Clinic meeting, “General on-farm procedures owners can often do,” 7 p.m., Millennium Hall in Stratton; and
•Jan. 27–Grower pesticide safety course (call 1-800-652-8573 to register).

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