How to get others involved

A young organiser was asking for advice on how to be a better organiser. An older organiser replied, “You are selfish—you take all this work and do it yourself. But other people want to participate and help out. They need you to be more giving and give them meaningful work so they can feel part of the organisation.” Those are wise words—and true for many of us. So how do we get others involved by giving work away? One tool to help us with this is: the menu of tasks.

Time: 10-20 minutes Group Size: 5-30 people

Using the Menu of Tasks to delegate tasks

The menu of tasks identifies the tasks essential to making an event happen. Some of us may do this naturally; but if we are having trouble getting others involved, it may be because we don’t have a clear list of tasks that we can give away.

First, start by answering the following questions:

  • What is the event you are planning?
  • What are your hopes after the event is over?  (include task goals like, getting 50 people to contact a city council member, as well as process goals, such as giving people a greater understanding of how city laws are passed)
  • What are the tasks for the event to happen?  (To get a full menu, break-down the large tasks into highly specific smaller tasks)

Write up the tasks that are necessary on the left side of your paper, write tasks are helpful but not necessary on the right side of the paper

You now have a menu of tasks to be done to carry out the event – with necessary and not necessary tasks separated. This helps you make sure the most important things to carry out the event are covered, before you focus on the other, sometimes more exciting, additional pieces.

The last step—perhaps the most important—is to circle items that can help with leadership development. Think about the people in your group and who may be ready to take on a more challenging task. Think of people who haven’t been reliable in one task and give them another task that will be easier for them.

You can use the menu of tasks to delegate tasks in group meetings—and can be a great chance to open up the conversation about how other people can get involved!

If you do this successfully over time, more and more people will be doing different tasks—building group power, involving more people, and empowering people to take on even bigger challenges!

An Example Menu of Tasks

Event: The Annual Dinner & Awards Ceremony

Goals: Energize membership, celebrate accomplishments, build community

Necessary tasks

Large Task: Prepare the dinner and all food
Sub-task: Get paper goods & drinks
Sub-task: Set up tables and chairs on the day
Sub-task: Cook food
Large Task: Sell dinner tickets
Sub-task: Get tickets printed
Sub-task: Sell tickets by phone and face-to-face
Sub-task: Send out dinner flyer announcements
Large Task: Awards Ceremony
Sub-task: Get awards speaker to motivate crowd
Sub-task: Create awards certificates
Sub-task: Call to confirm attendance of awardees

Great additions but not necessary

Task: Find out if local band will play
Task: Get and put up decorations
Task: Organise games for the dinner
Task: Create a brochure with local sponsors

The final step would be to circle items that others are ready to do.

Menu of Tasks Worksheet

Event: ___________________________________

Goals: ___________________________________

Step 1. Fill out with tasks to be completed

 Necessary tasks        


Great additions but not necessary


Step 2. Circle items that you can give away to other people.

Step 3. Give those tasks away. Then your job is to follow-up and support them so they can implement those tasks).

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