This stage provides an opportunity to identify the members of the group who have skills, interest and enthusiasm as part of the decision-making process.

"I wanted to take care of the park but thought I wouldn’t be any use – I certainly don’t have green fingers! So, I started helping organise events instead. I get to do something I enjoy and am good at, which is also good for the park and my community.”
- Member, Torbay Friends Group

A committee must be elected by the members of the group to carry out actions and tasks on their behalf between normal meetings. The committee is responsible for the actions of the group so members cannot act without the committee’s authorisation. It is important that members within the committee cannot obtain a personal financial benefit through being elected.

Although the committee can have as many members as the group wants, there are three positions that every committee must have:

  • chairperson
  • secretary
  • treasurer

You may also choose to elect vice positions, such as vice chairperson, vice treasurer and vice secretary.

Anyone can elect another member to a position; however, it must be decided by vote who is to take a position. It is possible for individuals to act as chairperson and secretary whilst organising the first AGM, but they must give up their position when the committee is to be elected.

Our officers and/or elected members cannot operate as official members of the group on our behalf and will only attend group meetings to offer advice and support as appropriate. They are welcome to join your group on a non-professional basis.

At this stage, you may also wish to set up a bank account. Any account set up for the group should be set up in the group's name with at least two signatories for the account. The signatories must be members of the committee, usually the chairperson and the treasurer. Other groups have chosen to have three signatories on the account, therefore if one member of the committee is unavailable, another can sign in their place. An account with a cheque book is essential for easy access to the group’s funds.

Roles within the committee

  • The Chairperson helps the group to achieve its aims, sets agendas, conducts meetings and acts as the leader of the group, ensuring its smooth operation. The chairperson should act as a good facilitator, ensuring positive discussions and involve all members of the group.
  • The Secretary ensures all members of the group are kept fully informed and involved. The secretary prepares the group’s paperwork and agenda for group meetings; takes minutes of meetings; arranges meeting locations and supports the chairperson.
  • The Treasurer looks after the group’s financial activities, ensuring accounts and records are up to date and accurate. The treasurer is responsible for arranging to open the group’s bank account and paying in money, paying invoices and managing cheques and expense payments and for arranging financial reports for the committee.

Note: Most groups will need to open a bank account and it is important to ensure that a minimum of two unrelated group members are needed to sign cheques. It is usually the group’s treasurer and chairperson who have this responsibility.

Other positions

  • Vice Chairperson assists with positions within the committee and provides cover when the secretary and chairperson cannot be available.
  • Events Co-ordinator arranges events on behalf of the Friends Group; booking venues, arranging permission (from the council and others) for events within the park; seeking sponsorship of the event; working with the Treasurer to manage the budget effectively; and ensuring that health and safety requirements are met.
  • Media Co-ordinator You may choose to create a website and utilise social media accounts for the purpose of expanding your members and for providing easily accessible information to members. The co-ordinator could design the group’s website and updating information content and images.

There are three types of committee member:

  • Elected – committee members are appointed by and from the membership.
  • Nominated – by another group, normally when two groups wish to form a working partnership.
  • Co-opted – brought in from outside the group because of their specific knowledge and skills.