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Developing Student Organizations
- Have a clear mission that is understood by members and those external to the organization.
- Set a few meaningful goals annually that members agree upon and, when accomplished, will move the organization forward.
- Put those members who are most capable and most caring about the organization (not necessarily the most popular or those with the greatest seniority) in leadership positions.
- Recruit excellent members, orient them to the organization, and involve them extensively. Many of these groups use a “buddy system” that pairs experienced members with new members so that new members learn how to do things within the organization.
- Delegate extensively and check back often with those who are assuming responsibilities to see if help or assistance is needed and to ensure that things are getting done. Excellent organizations also develop a culture where members take pride in getting things done.
- Make communication across all lines within the group a high priority.
- Develop a culture where honest opinions, disagreement, and new ideas are encouraged and welcomed. At the same time, there is an implicit understanding that once the group makes a decision all members will be supportive.
- Treat reality as a friend rather than as something to be avoided. The current condition of the organization along with its programs, projects, and operations are assessed openly and honestly. At the same time there is always an optimism that the organization can and will move forward.
- Develop a few “traditions” within the organization if they don't already exist.
- Maintain the history of the organization – pictures, scrapbooks, records, etc. – and share it freely with current members.
- Have a good knowledge of available campus resources. This knowledge is passed along each year to new members.
- Maintain excellent records on everything that the organization does, making it easy for future planners of events and activities.
- Have a yearly plan for transition at the end of each academic year that includes orienting new officers, handing off responsibility for programs and projects, setting up summer and early fall programs, and having summer and early fall contact information for members.
- Have an excellent financial plan for the organization’s operations.
- Actively promote the organization and its accomplishments and involve the group in campus and community events that result in positive public relations.
- Search for, find and cultivate a positive relationship with a faculty or staff person who is willing to serve as an adviser and then utilize this person’s expertise on a regular basis.
- Keep track of, communicate with and occasionally involve organization alumni.