Most people who are active in their congregation would agree on this: there are a lot of meetings. From worship gatherings to classes, dinners, public events. And there are the numerous committee meetings required to organize all of these, and more.
Power of Committees
Often, the success of a congregation or institution is traceable directly to the effectiveness of the committees it forms. Here are just a few examples of the types of committees found in many religious organizations:
- Food Committee
- Membership Committee
- Special Events Committee
- Ritual Committee
- Decorating Committee
- Clean-up Committee
- Volunteer Committee
- Social Action Committee
- Registration/Communications Committee
- Marketing Committee
What makes a committee effective? Here are three key factors:
- Members who are personally committed to the cause and are giving of their time;
- An effective leader who can keep the group focused while recognizing the strengths of the individual members;
- The use of tools to keep everyone on track.
Since these committees are generally on a volunteer basis, the participants tend, by nature, to be involved and motivated. The leader should have expertise in the area as well as the ability to manage and motivate a group; in addition, the committee leader must be an example when it comes to punctuality, organization and showing respect for others.
The leader may be selected by the leader of the congregation, or may be elected by the other committee members.
Free Helpful Web Tools for Meetings
While some still shy away from the new digital world, most people, young and old, have learned to embrace it and have discovered wonderful web tools to help them with work and personal tasks. The internet is the fastest way to reach someone and almost everyone has a smartphone with a data-plan. This provides an opportunity to take advantage of some of the free web tools that are available to help coordinate your next meeting or event. The tools we have listed below can help you communicate and stay connected with your committee members and can also automate various tasks.
BigMarker – www.bigmarker.com
This website is a community of groups which meet, share and conference through the internet. You can create a community for your committee and schedule web video conferences to discuss the progress, as well as challenges, regarding your objectives. The interface is easy to use. Your computer or mobile must have a camera for the video chat. Some of the features of this site are:
- Conferencing up to 100 people
- PowerPoint presentation
- Ticket Sales
- Everyone can host
- Mac & PC compatible
The sign-up process is easy and it is free. There is also a support forum called “The Big Forum” that is available to help you with any questions you may have.
Whoozin – www.whoozin.com
Whoozin is a free online RSVP tool that allows you to track who will be attending your event- whether the event is a small committee meeting or a large gathering involving the entire congregation or the general public. Email notifications of the meeting are sent out, and recipients RSVP. The committee leader (or all committee members, if this is how it is set up) can view a real-time display of who will be attending. Whoozin excels when it comes to recurring events- in that members of your group will automatically be invited to each new event.
In some cases, rather than sending invitation, you may prefer to allow people to sign up if they wish to attend. For example, if you are hosting a seminar- you can share a link to the Whoozin event page- and anyone interested can register to attend.
Whoozin is responsive to mobile devices and automatically creates a web page for each new meeting or event. Here are some more great features:
- Automatic invites to members of your group
- Email Reminders
- Set whether people can bring guests
- Real Time attendance tracking
- Comments thread
Whoozin is packed with useful features, but still remains easy to use. It is free to use and provides an ad-free environment.
Twiddla – www.twiddla.com
Twiddla is also known as the “web-based meeting playground” allowing users to mark-up websites, graphics and images. This is a great tool for committees to start brainstorming on a blank canvas. You can also make conference calls without downloading any software or plugins; all you need is an internet connection and web browser. This web app is simple to use and can definitely come in handy during a committee meeting.
- Create and attend meetings
- Share images
- Voice Chat
- Screen Capture
Twiddla also provides premium packages which include features such as: Custom URLs, unlimited storage and password protected meetings.