These guidelines are intended to help all of our volunteers and supporters to better understand how SBW - Southwest Illinois functions and how each person can contribute to achievement of our goals. The organization’s main focus is a series of events celebrating small businesses that occurs in a single calendar week, traditionally the first week of May each year.
The committee directly sponsors and arranges three events each year, and coordinates events sponsored by other like-minded organizations. A total of sixteen to twenty events are scheduled each year. All are organized by non-profit educational institutions, business trade groups, government entities or civic groups. Many for-profit businesses sponsor the organization’s activities with cash and in-kind contributions and the generous use of their employees’ time.
It is important that we have a consistent understanding of our mission and how we work amongst all volunteers. We ask that whenever you invite someone to participate in this committee, please do two things: First, be sure that they know that this is a working committee. Second, please explain these guidelines so that we all can work together, all supporting the common goals. Potential volunteers are welcome to visit a monthly committee meeting, or a sub-committee meeting before making a commitment to the organization.
SBW - Southwest Illinois is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. We are an all-volunteer organization. There is no paid staff; in past years we received significant staff support from the Small Business Administration, but that has waned recently to a minimal level. The SBA provides guidance, and we must operate within their parameters, but all staff functions, including legal, accounting and cash management, marketing, web site, event management, etc. are performed by volunteers for no compensation.
Many people volunteer because they want to do some good, to return something to their community. Others do it because the visibility and networking opportunities are good for their own businesses. And we do try to reward volunteers by making their contributions very public.
Small Business Week Southwestern Illinois is an all-volunteer organization. This organization functions at three separate levels of volunteers:
All staff functions, including legal, account and cash management, marketing, website, event management, etc., are performed by volunteers with no compensation.
Many people volunteer because they want to do something good – to return something to their community. Others do it because the visibility and networking opportunities are good for their businesses. We do try to reward volunteers by making their contributions very public.
Board of Advisors
The advisors meet periodically, for an annual meeting and planning meetings for the annual Small Business Week. Only a few active committee members (with significant experience or history on the committee) will be asked to serve as an Advisor. Qualifications include:
- A demonstrated leadership style
- Demonstrated commitment and accomplishment as a volunteer
- Some necessary professional expertise
Most of the visible activity and most of the coordination takes place in a series of monthly committee meetings. The committee chairs attend these meetings; all members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Most event decisions are made here.
Much of the real work takes place at this level, as individual committee members do all the various tasks to arrange the events or perform the myriad functions necessary. Sometimes the work is done in subcommittee meetings; each committee sets its own schedule. Much effort takes place individually, as individuals carry out the agreed tasks of the subcommittee. These task can frequently be performed at times chosen by the individual, although much must be done within business hours such as calling sponsors or exhibitors. A volunteer can and should choose the subcommittees where their personal skills and abilities will give them the greatest reward. Some members are representatives of agencies that sponsor Small Business Week events.