Building Your Blueprint: The Importance of Team Charters

Failure to plan is planning to fail. This is an oft-clichéd saying for good reason. The truth is, it applies to the world of Self Directed Volunteer Teams too.

The process of creating an SDV Team can be an exciting one. It is a process of gathering, motivated, like-minded individuals that are ready and raring to face an organization’s challenge. The organization is excited to have a team of individuals to meet this challenge, and the volunteers with their new roles are eager to start work right away.

It becomes dangerously easy during this time to confuse momentum with productivity.

You can assemble the world’s most skilled group of construction workers, plumbers, electricians, and bricklayers, but unless everyone is working from the same blueprint you will never be able to build a proper house. Such is the importance of the Team Charter. Based on an SDV Network template, the SDV Team Charter is the blueprint that the volunteer team and the organization create together and use to ensure that the desired objective is met.

So, what exactly is a Team Charter?

A Team Charter is a document that is developed by the volunteer team and the agency, to specifically define the goal and direction of the team and its scope of authority. It can include clearly articulated roles and responsibilities of team members, expectations of the team and the agency, and other important clarifications.

It is important that development of the Team Charter begins early and in such a way that all relevant stakeholders are able to be part of the development process. This ensures that both the organization and the team share a collective feeling of responsibility and ‘buy-in.’

While developing the Team Charter can seem to be a tedious process, it is able to save countless hours in the long run. The process will quickly bring to light possible future challenges, and most importantly ensure that everyone is working from the same blueprint. The Team Charter is never cast in stone. It can be modified, revised or adapted as often as necessary, based on mutual agreement, to accommodate emerging situations and opportunities. Imagine how wonderful it is to have a blueprint that consistently stays focused on the shared objectives of all stakeholders.

By: Edmina Bradshaw, Principal –

SDV Network has researched and developed a structured framework for engaging and implementing Self Directed Volunteer Teams (SDV Teams). Let us help you get your teams going!

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