Step 3: Establish a Steering Committee

To coordinate and facilitate the activities of your partner program, we suggest that your organization forms a steering committee. We encourage you to seek out enthusiastic, creative and passionate individuals who can serve on the steering committee and help launch, maintain, and sustain the partnership.

Here are some tips for forming an effective steering committee:

  • Include staff, volunteers, and community members. The steering committee’s impact and resilience depends on the commitment, experience, and engagement of its members.
  • Ensure that the membership is diverse and inclusive. The most effective steering committee includes diverse representatives from both your own organization and the broader community. Consider including individuals who are familiar with your partner’s country.
  • Assign leadership. Select co-chairs to serve as leaders for the steering committee. Having two chairs helps increase the group’s efficiency and distribute responsibilities. These leaders are responsible for facilitating the steering committee meetings and keeping the members engaged about the partnership. It is important for these leaders to communicate with your organization’s leadership about program activities and other decisions related to the partnership.
  • Keep it simple and meaningful. The steering committee processes can be simple and informal — its purpose is to serve as a mobilizing force, not a bureaucracy. Nonetheless, you should have an agenda for each meeting and stay on time in order to respect the time people are volunteering for this effort. Make your meetings meaningful and purposeful for everyone involved.
  • Meet on a regular basis. Meeting on a regularly scheduled basis helps keep members engaged and activities moving forward. It’s best to set up a series of meetings scheduled at the same date/time each month (either in person or by conference call) so members can plan their calendars.
  • Establish sub-committees / workgroups. At some point, your may want to establish sub-committees or workgroups to focus on various partnership goals and activities. Allow members to self-select the workgroup on which they want to dedicate their time and energy.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at