The Role of a Committee Member

The following is an account of how, currently, the Cam City WI Committee organises itself. 


Please do give it a read through if you are considering joining committee - we'd LOVE to have you on board to contribute. 


Our WI is what YOU make it.

What do committee members need to be?

  • You must be able to commit to attending WI meetings on the evenings of the first and third Wednesday of every month. 

  • The committee meeting venue is flexible, to cater to different tastes of committee members. You must be able to arrange transport to the different venues (lifts are often available from other committee members, but please arrange well in advance.)

  • We often meet in pubs. We cannot control the environment as this would be unjustifiably costly to do.  Committee members must be prepared to deal with the antics of other patrons.

  • We sometimes meet in each others’ homes. There is no obligation to hold a meeting in your own home.

  • We communicate mainly via Whatsapp.  You must be able to use this app to participate fully in committee business.  Don’t be put off by the number of messages that come through. Some of us like to chat.

What does the WI committee do?

Any WI committee must have a minimum of three roles filled – President, Treasurer and Secretary – or they cannot run.

However, there is lots of room for other committee members to take on responsibilities alongside the three officer roles, or to help the WI be an active part of the community and its’ member’s lives, including:

  • Arranging speakers/demonstrators/activities for the monthly meetings. We are obligated to provide 11 meetings a year for our members.

  • Arranging venues and setting up for meetings.

  • Maintaining a strict accounting of how we spend the WI’s money on meetings, bursaries and equipment.

  • Organising fundraising opportunities.

  • Organising activities and participating in awareness-raising and fundraising for Resolutions and NFWI Campaigns.

  • Making suggestions for future meetings or social events, arrangements for joining in exhibitions, in fact anything the committee members have discussed, and on which they now need to consult the members and gain their approval.

  • The Federation newsletter. Your committee picks out all the activities relevant to our particular WI - and encourages the members to take part.

  • Taking on specific tasks to assist in the running of the WI and arrangement of meetings.

The President

From the handbook – “The President is the lynch-pin of a WI and is its leader and sets the style. She should be enthusiastic and decisive, yet approachable and friendly in her manner, interested in her members' views and ready to listen to their suggestions…The President is elected at the Annual Meeting, by a secret ballot of the members, from the elected committee members.”

The President’s principal responsibilities are to:


  • Have a copy of and be familiar with the WI Constitution and Rules for WIs

  • Co-ordinate the affairs of your WI and oversee the work of your fellow officers and committee members

  • Encourage good relations between the WI and both the local community and the outside world in general

  • Ensure your WI prospers through the active participation of its members at WI, Federation and NFWI levels and by means of a developing span of interests and activities. 

In particular, the President should:


  • Chair WI meetings, the Annual Meeting and committee meetings.

  • Ensure that the constitution and rules of the NFWI, your Federation and your own WI are observed.

  • Ensure that the financial accounts of your WI are accurate.

  • See that monthly bank statements are shown to the committee.

  • Promote a greater understanding of the WI and its activities by means of the NFWI Newsletter, Federation newsletter, WI Life, WI Moodle, NFWI Website and any other sources of information.

  • Co-ordinate the work of all sub-committees and working groups.

  • Work continually to encourage the recruitment and introduction of new members into your WI.

  • Agree the agenda with the Secretary and read through any necessary papers and correspondence, including the Federation newsletter.

  • Write any letters of congratulation or condolence on behalf of the WI.

The Secretary

The Secretary is elected annually, by the committee, at its first meeting after the AGM.

Specific responsibilities include:


  • Sometimes there will be information from the NFWI which you should make sure is passed on to your members. This is the way you will keep them in touch with the fact they are part of a large national organisation.

  • Keeping records of committee meetings/decisions: During the meeting, some decisions will probably be made, so it is important that a record is kept of these. This will provide a reference to remind members what they agreed. You should keep this record in a book/file provided for the purpose. It should be available at each meeting. 

  • Maintaining MCS

  • With the President, dealing with all communications (emails, letters etc)

  • Ensuring there is time allocated in meetings for:

    • Reports from Delegates to the NFWI AGM or the Annual Meeting of Federation, or from members who have recently been to Denman or completed an expedition/challenge etc.

    • The Treasurer will need to keep the members up to date with the state of the WI's finances and should be included as an agenda item at least every 3 months. She will also need to make suggestions about fund raising, the allocation of bursaries and other details. She will need time to discuss this with the members.

    • Any other business as it arises.


At committee meetings, the Secretary is responsible for:


  • Collating the information from previous minutes/records.

  • Checking any action required has been taken.

  • Drafting the agenda into logical order of priorities - Discuss and agree proposed agenda with the President, providing her with all the necessary background information.

  • Discussing the federation newsletter with the President to identify items of interest for the members.

  • Providing the WI Officers, the Press Officer and yourself with a detailed agenda, and the committee members with an outline agenda for the committee meeting.

Additionally, at member meetings, the Secretary should:


  • Distribute the federation newsletter and any other items, e.g. your WI newsletter. (These tasks should be delegated to members.)

  • Take careful, adequate notes of all items of business discussed, noting particularly names of proposers and seconders and the result of any voting. Never rely on your memory. (This usually only applies at our AGM)

  • Remind members of closing dates for applications for outings, courses, Federation events and Federation newsletter subscriptions.

  • Have clipboards for members to sign, with a column for payment required.

  • Check that all papers and clipboards are returned.

  • After meetings

  • Write up the draft minutes/record as soon as possible after the meeting.

  • Agree these with the President.

  • Send off any applications for tickets before the closing date, with a WI cheque for the correct amount and enclosing a SAE. (We prefer to have our members send their own applications in, but will send cheques on behalf of members if they cannot do so themselves)

  • Be helpful over any queries from members, but remember the confidentiality of the committee minutes, so be discreet.

Please note: Many WIs elect/appoint an Assistant Secretary (or more than one) to act as either a Minute Secretary or a Programme Secretary, to share the work of the Secretary. Cam City WI also has an MCS Representative, who is responsible for maintaining member records (and sending birthday cards!)

The Treasurer

The Treasurer's role is to be a guide and adviser to the committee and to maintain the actual accounts. The Treasurer is appointed by the committee, at the first meeting after the Annual Meeting, to look after the financial affairs of the WI.

It is the committee as a whole which is responsible for the financial well-being of the WI. The Treasurer presents recommendations from the committee to the members at the WI meeting. It is the members who take the decisions.

The responsibilities of the Treasurer:


  • Advise on financial planning.

  • Draw up the budget and presents it, first to the committee and then to the members, for approval. The budget must be monitored and, if necessary, revised.

  • Keep the accounts up to date and prepare a statement at the year end for examination by an independent examiner.

  • Contact/arrange with Cambridgeshire Federation to appoint the Independent Examiner.

  • Make sure the reconciled monthly bank statement is seen by the President and committee. 

Specific duties:


  • Be aware of the WI Constitution & Rules.

  • Open a banking account in the name of the WI. This could include a Post Office Account, or a Building Society Current Account. (The committee appoints not less than three members - usually the President, Treasurer and one other, to sign cheques on behalf of the WI. Two signatures are required on each cheque.)

  • To obtain a mandate from the bank if there is any change in the signatories.

  • Collect the annual subscriptions. Pay these and all other monies into the bank.

  • Ensure that obligatory payments are paid promptly. These are:

    • Membership fees to Federation (which includes the NFWI payment).

    • Pooling of fares for NFWI Annual General Meetings

    • Delegates’ expenses

  • Pay all bills.

  • Issue receipts.

  • Ensure that all money collected is paid into the bank promptly. Money required to pay out (Petty Cash) should be drawn out from the bank.

  • Check current account balance. Should this be excessive, open a deposit account which pays interest.

  • Present the independently examined accounts to the committee and then to the members at the Annual Meeting, accompanied by the Bank Statements.

Please note: An Assistant Treasurer can be appointed to help the Treasurer fulfil these duties. They should have specific tasks delegated to them - such as collecting the annual subscriptions and running a savings scheme for them, and/or keeping the attendance register, or taking responsibility for getting cash payments to the bank.

Social Secretaries

Cam City WI maintains a very active online presence. We communicate and raise awareness via our Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter accounts as well as our own website and direct email using mailchimp. It would not be possible to keep up with all of these channels without dedicated committee members prepared to update and maintain them.

Our Social Secretaries post events, engage with members and add updates to our social media accounts. One takes on the responsibility to regularly maintain, update and create content for the website (working with members as well as committee), as well as designing and sending the monthly newsletters and any adhoc communications to members and those who have asked to be kept updated with Cam City WI News.

The Social Secretaries also take on the organisation/running of our clubs – Book Club, Craft Club and Film Club, plus supporting Walking Club members with promotion.

Resolutions Sub-committee/Campaigns
There is scope to develop roles within the committee to cover specific issues/WI Resolutions. Recently we wrote our own resolution for consideration – these things take a considerable amount of research and time.