Branch action plan

Involving Members through Committees?

“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it” — Dennis Waitley

SETTING UP COMMITTEES

Once you have a stable membership, you can begin thinking about committees within your YALDA Branch that will be responsible for various aspects of implementing the YALDA mission. YALDA Committees are meant to keep members actively engaged in the organization and give them a sense of purpose and belonging. There are a variety of committees to cater to the diverse interests of your members, and all committees are required to have chairs and as many members as your branch sees fit, for example, the Chair could be the sole member or you could have ten members, etc.

To create stability and low turnover in your committees we suggest offering similar incentives as described in the previous section (Keeping People Active and Engaged). Another example includes a member’s eligibility to attend YALDA International Conferences. For instance, those who can attend the conference for free or at YALDA member rates are required:

  1. To be YALDA registered members, and must have filled out their branch membership forms and registered on the YALDA website.
  2. To be active members on one or more YALDA committees for the whole duration of the academic year or semester (which ever suits your branch).
  3. To attend all required meetings and events, where attendance will be taken at these meetings.

Again, your branch can choose to adopt these requirements for your members or create your own set of requirements for committee members. It is important to keep in mind that YALDA will not accept the use of coercion or black mail to get members to commit to anything. Whatever your requirements are, please ensure that they maintain YALDA’s integrity and that they are in line with YALDA’s mission and goals.

COMMITTEE DEFINITIONS

Outlined below is a detailed list of the committees that all branches are required to set up in order of importance or significance. All branches are required to have at least the first 4 General Committees as listed below and are required to expand and add on the remaining two as time goes on. The Project and Action Committee is completely optional. Please note that further details on committees and how they can be amended, recommended chairs, etc are stated in the YALDA Branch Constitution, Article XII, (found in Appendix A). The next section (Chapter 4), gives ideas and detailed suggestions on how you can improve the effectiveness of all your committees.

  1. Events and Planning: The Events and Planning Committee shall work to plan, sponsor and facilitate events within the YALDA branch itself. Such events may include: speaker series where distinguished national leaders are invited to speak on development issues; site visits to different locations of partner organizations or exciting youth development projects; workshops on employment, internships and volunteer opportunities on the continent; cultural shows; a campus wide Africa development week; the YALDA launch event, socials, parties and dinners for members, and other events as the needs arise. The Co-Chairs of the Committee shall be the Executive Director and the Local University Coordinator. The Events and Planning Committee shall:
    1. Decide what events and/or activities they are going to plan and implement for the semester/year and ensure the activities/events cover all of the 4 identified key YALDA target areas at least once, every semester:
      • Increasing knowledge on Africa and African Development
      • Facilitating the Brain Gain (through Career and Volunteer Opportunities)
      • Gaining Critical Leadership Skills
      • Building a Strong and Committed YALDA Community
    2. Create the budgets and timeline for their events. The Committee shall submit all budgets and proposals to the Fundraising Committee which in turn will help the Events and Planning Committee raise funds for the events
    3. Ensure that no other group on-campus was planning on hosting the same event or a similar one. In the case that there is one, then the committee should collaborate with this group and co-sponsor the event
    4. If no groups were planning on hosting a similar event, then ask a group(s) on-campus, in the community, country etc. if they would be willing to co-sponsor the event/activity
    5. Work closely with the national YALDA foundation in the country, other branches locally or regionally and with YALDA headquarters to plan such events/activities on a larger scale.
    6. Branch Expansion: The Branch Expansion Committee shall be responsible for maintaining relationships between their own YALDA branch and other branches within the country, on the continent and abroad. The Chair of the Committee shall be the Inter-University Representative. The Branch Expansion Committee shall:
      • Research for opportunities for collaboration with other branches
      • Maintain an active relationship with the national YALDA foundation in the home country once it is set up and the YALDA International Headquarters
      • Seek for other youth members in the community, who are not as fortunate to attend university, encourage them to join their YALDA branch and have them register on the YALDA website
      • Set up one other YALDA branch in Africa (for Africa based branches) in their location of choice
      • Set up one branch in Africa and another in an international location if they are an internationally based YALDA branch (not based in Africa)
      • Set up more than one branch (if they are Africa based) or more than two (if they are internationally based), if they choose to. The branches this committee helps establish form the branch’s YALDA LINCS (Liable Internal Network Colleagues).
    7. Fundraising and Corporate Sponsorships: The Fundraising and Corporate Sponsorships Committee shall work on securing corporate sponsorships from local as well as international companies, as well finding other ways to source for funds such as fundraising drives, grants and donations from their university, local community, foundations and other sources. The Chair of the Committee shall be the Financial Director. The Fundraising and Corporate Sponsorships Committee shall:
      • Receive budgets, quotations and proposals from other committees, and then plan and implement fundraising strategies
      • Help other committees create budgets (if needed) and produce coherent fundraising proposals
      • Develop a coherent short and long-term fundraising agenda, using all received budgets, quotations and proposals, at the beginning of every year accompanied by a reasonably well thought out timeline
      • Continuously work on securing funds for the branch’s annual operations branch
      • All funds secured by this committee must be sent directly to the Financial Director and deposited in the branch’s bank account following protocol.
    8. Publicity and Publications: The Publicity and Publications Committee shall be responsible for all media relations and publication materials of the respective YALDA branch. This committee works very closely with the Events and Planning Committee. The Chair of the Committee shall be the Multi-Media Specialist. The Publicity and Publications Committee shall:
      • Ensure that YALDA members who are interested in writing and submitting articles, pictures and other items for the YALDA International publications do so in an efficient and timely manner
      • Choose to publish a newsletter and/or magazine locally, or submit articles to local newspapers about their branch’s activities
      • Design flyers, posters, brochures, as well as other marketing materials and be responsible for the YALDA brand name management
      • Publicize their branch, their branch’s activities and projects on-campus, in the local community and in their country through various media outlets. This also involves pursuing and getting interviews with various newspapers, magazines, radios and TV channels
      • Manage the branch website if one has been established. Each branch can choose whether or not they want their own website separate from the general YALDA website.
      A key part of publicity in our current era is the use of social media, and all branches should have a strong social media presence, which this committee will also be responsible for. In addition to making sure all branch members are on all the YALDA International social media accounts, branches should also set up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp Group etc accounts where they can promote events, fundraising efforts, gain exposure, connect with members and keep them actively engaged and informed about the branch activities. You must consider who the administrators of the page will be and who holds the passwords and login information. All branches must sets goals to establish what exactly they would like to achieve.
      The Committee shall create a social media strategy. Suggestions include:
      • Create a trendy and catchy hashtag that has the potential to reach a large amount of people.
      • Create a content strategy defining what types of content to post e.g. upcoming Events, fundraising campaigns, African youth development news, inspirational quotes etc.
      • Use a Social Media Management Tool such as HootSuite to help you track and manage your multiple social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram, and more) at once. Using this tool will enable you to plan, automatically schedule your social media posts in advance, and post to multiple channels at the same time.
      • Use donation tools such as Charitweet that allows people to donate directly through twitter.
      • Constantly stream relevant images and videos to share powerful and interesting moments from within your Branch and externally.
      • Use Google Analytics to measure social media website referrals and monitor where your website (if you have one) referrals are coming from.
      • Celebrate milestones. If you meet 100 or 1000 followers post an acknowledgement and thank you followers.
      • Call users to action by providing sample posts to share when launching a big campaign such as pre-written Facebook posts or Tweets with images and wording set for people to share.
    9. Partners and Professional Contacts: The Partners and Professional Contacts Committee shall be responsible for researching and working on getting more contacts for the YALDA database for YALDA youth members to access. The committee is also responsible for managing the specific relationships it establishes by continually communicating with the partners and professional contacts and getting updates from them. The Chair of the Committee shall be the Research Director. The Partners and Professional Contacts Committee shall:
      • Contact different organizations to establish them as YALDA partners and have them register on the YALDA website (see Article XXI)
      • Contact and establish relationships with leading professionals in the various YALDA fields, in Africa and abroad, who are interested in becoming YALDA Professional affiliates and encouraging them to register on the YALDA website
      • Work closely with the Events and Planning Committee together with the Conference Planning Committee, in order to suggest and invite various speakers to the on-campus and local events as well as the biennial international conference.
    10. Conference Planning: The Conference Planning Committee shall assist the YALDA Headquarters in planning the YALDA International Conferences. All conference planning committees of every branch work closely together. The main purpose of having this committee is to ensure that every branch has input as to the planning and theme of every conference. The Chair of the Committee shall be the Inter-Governmental Organizations Liaison. The Conference Planning Committee shall:
      • Assist in creating a theme and purpose for the conference. Then help in formulating the issue statement, agendas, goals and objectives of the conference
      • Help write the YALDA Conference Fundraising Proposal with the headquarters
      • Prepare the branch’s own unique conference budget that they may submit to their Fundraising and Sponsorships Committee to help them raise funds. The budget should include costs of flights or transport, registration fees, etc.
      • Aid in editing the schedule, planning panels and workshops, activities, gala dinners, tours and other events at the conference and help run them during the conference
      • Locate one or two speakers/organizations in their own countries that they would like to see and hear at the conference and invite them to attend
      • Host Branch: does most of the planning with the headquarters in terms of locating conference facilities, arranging accommodation, planning logistics, and locating speakers. Due to financial constraints most speakers will be from the host country and the surrounding areas.
    11. Project and Action (optional): The Project and Action Committee is an optional committee that shall be in charge of managing and running the project(s) the branch engages in. These project(s) must be aimed at specifically addressing an issue or declaration identified in the African Youth Charter. In their implementation the project(s) should help develop the communities where your branch is located or other African communities (nationalities other than your own) in your area or in another country. The Chair of the Committee shall be the Assistant Executive Director. There are various ways the Project and Action Committee can select a project to work on:
      • Every year the Headquarters will ask these committees to come up with a theme and/ or common goal for the projects for that year to create a sense of YALDA unity with the branches. However, branches are free to choose sub-themes that are relevant to the theme suggested by the Headquarters.
      • Find out various projects already being done at the university and if they are similar with what the Committee proposes to engage in, form partnerships and volunteer with them
      • Research on projects that are already being done in the surrounding areas. If they have similar mission and goals partner with them and have the YALDA Project and Action Committee members volunteer
      • Maybe a YALDA member is already working on an interesting project that the Project and Action Committee can assist with and have this as their YALDA project
      • Members can come up with project proposals and choose the best ones to research, develop and implement
      • If a project becomes really successful, the branch may keep working on it for years to come, or add on more projects if they wish.

    EVALUATIONS

    It is required that all branches evaluate their committees at least once a semester. YALDA provides four types of evaluation forms that can be found in Appendix E. These forms maybe edited by any branch as they choose but changes to evaluation forms should only be made at the beginning of the Evaluation period. We also suggest that you give your committee members copies of all types of the Evaluation forms at the beginning so they know exactly what is expected of them. Online versions are also available below and you can request a copy of the form for your branch by emailing yaldafrica@gmail.com.

    1. Executive Director’s evaluation of board members
    2. Executive Board’s evaluation of their board click here
    3. Committee Chair’s evaluation of committee members
    4. Committee Member’s evaluation of their committee

    It is important to always write a status report on the results of the evaluations. The questions in the evaluation forms, guide you as to which issues to address. You can also include trends in the progress (or lack thereof) towards achieving specified goals and objectives, recommendations about the status of the organization, and any action needed by the Executive Board.

    The evaluations serve to give important anonymous feedback to the YALDA branch’s Executive Board, Committee Chairs and members. These evaluations can be used to improve the quality and efficiency of all those involved, thus increasing the capacity of the YALDA branch to execute their agenda and accomplish their objectives more effectively.

    Evaluations also help keep members active, as they know their performance will be gauged. The forms allow members not to guess, but to know exactly what it is that is expected of them in their committees and by their committee chairs. That is why we suggest you edit the forms only once at the beginning of the evaluation period and only a second time if it is crucial. Evaluations can also be used to determine who the most active committee members are, and to reward and recognize them and their achievements appropriately.

    If members feel their evaluation was not impartial, then they can file a petition with their Executive Board for review. If the member is not satisfied with their Board review, then they have the opportunity to file a petition with the Headquarters Executive Board. All decisions made by the Headquarters Executive Board are final.

    QUESTIONS TO CONTINUALLY ASK YOURSELVES

    “Dream, implement and succeed beyond your boarders”

    It is necessary for us to reiterate here that it is important while you are running your YALDA branch to remember that YALDA is first and foremost a networking organization meant to: create information, collect information, and to distribute this information to its members. There are three simple questions you and your board members should continually ask yourselves while running your YALDA branch.

    With all the resources available to us such as human, financial, information, material, what is our branch doing to further the mission of YALDA:

    1. How are we as a branch ensuring that our resources go towards improving the YALDA network and distribution of all types of information on African Development?
    2. How are we as a branch using our resources to help our members develop and improve their leadership skills?
    3. How are we as a branch utilizing our resources in order to foster communication and networking between African youth and African leaders, both abroad and on the continent?