In the non profit sector, teams can be made up of trustees/management committee members, staff, volunteers and service-users.
Larger organisations usually have a mix of teams undertaking different functions. In smaller organisations the same group of people may carry out these different activities.
The overall purpose of different types of teams is described below. Understanding this helps to clarify their role and responsibilities and what can be expected of them.
Strategic teams provide leadership and direction for the organisation, keep in touch with the external environment, set key objectives, develop strategy, and monitor progress. This is the role of Boards of Trustees and senior management teams.
Management teams set more detailed objectives and development strategies, plan operations, allocate resources and co-ordinate the work of others. They provide day-to-day leadership and manage the boundaries between different functions.
Operational teams are often seen as the ‘face’ of the organisation by people who use their services. They might work directly with people, provide services or produce goods. They perform the primary task of the organisation, implementing its policies and displaying its standards.
Support teams provide the necessary back-up to enable others to get the job done efficiently and effectively. This might be technical support such as IT, finance or Human Resources or general office management and administrative support. Their work can sometimes be less visible but without their contribution, the whole could not achieve its goals.
Temporary teams or task groups are a useful way to develop new initiatives or undertake specific tasks. They are a particularly useful way of bringing together different perspectives. They might involve a cross-section of staff, volunteers, service-users and board members. Time-limited task groups in voluntary organisations have, for example, developed guidelines for service-user involvement, written publications, run fundraising events, developed new policies, planned moves to new premises, carried out reviews and a host of other one-off tasks.
Many voluntary and community organisations are scattered across a region, country or the globe. People who need to work togetherare geographically dispersed. They might be staff working alone, volunteers in external placements or trustees who meet only occasionally for formal meetings. Such remote, distributed or virtual teams face particular challenges. Efforts to develop ways of work together as a virtual team can make a positive difference.
Voluntary and community organisations are playing an increasingly important role in multi-agency or partnership working. They might, for example, sit on local strategic, community safety or children and young people’s partnerships as well as other groups. Working in partnership also takes good teamwork.