Defining Your Organization
Why was your organization formed? What is its purpose? Who will make decisions in your organization, and how will they be made? How will you attract members and what will their responsibilities be? Which office positions will you need, and which responsibilities will be associated with each one? How and when will officers be elected? How much will it cost to operate your organization, and where will the funds come from?
These are some of the questions you are encouraged to discuss and answer in a proactive manner with as many members as possible. The answers will be the foundation for a constitution and bylaws.
Many organizations can function effectively for a period of time without a constitution or bylaws. This is especially true when the group consists mainly of the original members. Eventually, however, questions like "Who gets to be president now that you are graduating?" or "How was it decided that we have to pay $10 in dues each semester?" begin to arise. Drafting a constitution and bylaws will let members discuss and decide what the organization is and how it operates in a deliberate manner rather than shooting from the hip when a question arises or a decision needs to be made.
A constitution clearly defines the purpose of an organization, the offices members can hold, and qualifications for membership. Follow this link for an overview of a Constitution.
Bylaws are concerned with process — how your organization gets things done. They answer questions like "How often do we meet?," "Who gets to vote?," and "Who can be a member?" Bylaws can typically be changed much more easily than a constitution, usually by a simple majority vote at a meeting where there is a quorum.
Bylaws are extremely important to organizations where the leadership is in constant transition and the membership turns over frequently, like student organizations. If your organization seems to be straying or begins to dispute a matter, a referral to your bylaws may help clear things up. Bylaws are vital to the long-term success of an organization because they provide structure and continuity from one year to the next. If at some point the bylaws you have are not working, they can be easily changed. Follow this link for an overview of Bylaws.
Developing a Great Organization
One of the interesting challenges members of student groups face is building a great organization — one that is built to last over a period of time, is true to its mission, and provides a rewarding experience for members. Some of the characteristics that distinguish great student organizations at Northern Michigan University include:
- Putting a great deal of emphasis on recruiting, orienting, and retaining members. Members are the lifeblood of any organization and the really good organizations approach membership as an on-going process rather than something that is done in the fall. Great organizations also orient new members to the group and go out of their way to make membership an enjoyable and beneficial experience.
- Setting realistic, achievable, and challenging goals that move the organization forward. Organizations are either moving forward or backward; there is no staying the same. Forward-moving organizations set goals at least once every year and use maximum input from members in the process. These organizations also keep their goals in front of the group during the year as a motivator.
- Involving as many members as possible in making decisions. As the saying goes, "people support what they help create." Wide-spread involvement usually results in better decisions and reinforces that members are valued for their thoughts and ideas.
- Frequent evaluation. Great organizations evaluate programs, projects, the experience members are having in the group, and the year in general at the conclusion of each year. Through the recommendations that come out of evaluations, great student organizations are continuously improving everything they do.
- Developing current and future leaders. Skill Builder! workshops, which are offered each semester, provide a variety of leadership skill development experiences. Many student organizations that have a national affiliation have opportunities to attend regional and national leadership conferences. A number of student organizations at NMU encourage up-and-coming leaders to participate in the Student Leader Fellowship Program. Perhaps most importantly, outstanding organizations orient members, often informally, with the leadership opportunities and "how to's" within their group. This can be done by "shadowing," mentoring, and informal conversations. One of the reasons really good student organizations never have a leadership vacuum is because they are continuously preparing up-and-coming leaders.
- Running productive and effective meetings. Meetings can have a couple of purposes with the most obvious one being the discussion of business that needs to be attended to and the making of appropriate decisions. A second purpose for many organizations is taking time to socialize, bond members to the organization, and enjoy each others company. Some organizations separate business from social time while others run informal meetings that incorporate both. The degree of formality used for meetings is dependant upon the type of organization. It is important for your organization to periodically look at how your meetings are conducted, whether they accomplish their purpose and whether or not more or less meetings are required. It is also a good idea to shake things up once in a while by having refreshments, conducting an activity, or doing something else to keep things from becoming routine.
- Communicating frequently and effectively. Good communication keeps members involved with an organization. Most students are very busy people, and there are times when they will not be at meetings and/or will be out of touch. Routinely sending out meeting notices and agendas, meeting minutes, updates, and requests for opinions and ideas will keep members engaged with your organization. How and when your organization communicates should be a well thought-out and coordinated plan.
- Programming for a purpose. Programming for student organizations covers a lot of ground. It can include group activities, a campus-wide program or event, and community service projects. Carefully consider how programming opportunities relate to the purpose and goals of your organization and select those opportunities that are the best fit. Great organizations plan, promote, and participate in programs in an energized and high quality manner.
- Building and maintaining traditions. Most great organizations have some long-standing traditions — annual events, a logo, standard t-shirts or sweatshirts, ways in which they run meetings, start and end the year, welcome new members, etc. Traditions make an organization unique, and they help members realize they are a part of something special. If your organization has traditions, be sure to maintain them. If it doesn't, consider establishing a few.
- Maintaining a historical record. Members of special organizations use pictures, scrapbooks, journals, and files to keep a record of who has belonged to their group, what it has accomplished, awards and recognition it has received, and to record the special stories that every organization has. Consider having a "historian" as an organization officer; future members will appreciate it and so will you when you come back to campus in 10 years for Homecoming!
- Staying in touch with alumni. With electronic communication, this has become very easy to do. The Alumni Relations Office can help you track down "lost" alumni. Alumni of your organization can help your current group in many ways. Consider having a bi-annual or annual newsletter for alumni (they would love to hear what you are currently doing!), sponsoring a reunion at Homecoming, or anything else that can connect your organization with former members.
- Effectively utilizing an adviser. It is no coincidence that many of the great student organizations have carefully selected an adviser and have devoted a considerable amount of time to developing a productive relationship. Advisers can provide valuable advice and a different perspective. They can also recount past experiences with your organization.
- Planning for transitions. Maintaining a successful student organization over a number of years is a difficult thing to do. Turnover in members and officers occurs annually. Summer constitutes a sudden and lengthy break in operations. Great organizations plan ahead to ensure quick start-up in the fall with well-trained officers. They also leave excellent records from the previous year(s).
Bylaws are extremely important to student organizations where there is frequent turnover of members and leadership. Bylaws outline the rules that affect the everyday functions of the organization and they can be easily changed.
If your organization seems to be straying or begins to dispute a matter, a referral to your bylaws may help clear things up. Bylaws are vital to the long-term success of an organization because they provide structure and continuity from one year to the next.
What Bylaws Contain:
- Duties and powers
- Provisions for filling unexpired terms
- Rules for election
- Procedure for recall
Amendments to Constitution and Bylaws
- Notice to membership of proposed amendments
- Type of notice required
- Vote required to affect amendment
- Procedure for proposing an amendment:
- Types: Regular and Special
- Procedure for calling special meetings
- Quorum (designate a percentage of the membership)
- Parliamentary authority/votes required to take action
- Provision for notification of membership if no regular meeting date is established
- Who shall preside at special meetings
- Who can be a member
- Types of membership
- Method for admitting new members
- Method for dropping members
- What constitutes “good standing” for members
- Amount: Annual membership
- When payable
- Initiation fees
- To whom all dues are payable
- Time when elections are held
- Method of nomination
- Method of voting
- Duration of all offices
- The vote required to elect
Board of Directors
- Eligibility for membership on board
- Frequency of meetings
- Delegation of authority to act between
- Who is delegated to speak for the organization in emergencies
- What constitutes a quorum (usually a majority of members)
- How to recall members
- Authority to hire salaried staff
- Names (Finance, Membership, Constitution and Bylaws, etc.)
- Functions (Duties and Limitations)
- How selected or elected
- Term of office
- Quorum (usually majority of members)
- Meetings (number and how called)
Sample Bylaws of an Organization*:
- Membership (types, requirements, methods of selection, termination).
- Officers and their election (statement of positions to be occupied by officers, length of terms, dates of elections, procedures for nominating officers, type of vote, and duties of each elected official).
- Committees (names of standing committees; their selection, duties, and limitations).
- Meetings (time, place, definition of quorum, method for calling special meetings, order of business, parliamentary code [if any] to be followed).
- Finances (how money can be raised and how money is to be handled).
*These rules can be changed at any meeting by a simple majority.
Constitutions are vital to the long-term success of an organization because they provide structure and continuity from one year to the next. A constitution establishes why the organization exists and contains rules that are rarely changed. If you take the time to write a clear and concise constitution that addresses the important questions about your organization, you will save yourself and your group time and energy in the long run.
Either a constitution or the answers to some basic questions are required when you register an organization.
Article 1 – Name
The name of this organization shall be the _______________ of Northern Michigan University.
Article II – Purpose
The purpose of the club shall be: (a) to foster broad student interest and participation in activities by providing leadership, programs, and service; and (b) to assist students in developing skills and leadership abilities.
Article III - Membership
Section 1 – Any student regularly enrolled at Northern Michigan University may become a member of the ________ organization with voting and office-holding privileges. The standards for qualification and the amount of dues to be paid shall be determined by the organization.
Article IV – Executive Officers
The executive officers of ________ shall be as follows: Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. The aforementioned officers shall constitute the Executive Committee.
Article V – Duties of Executive Officers
Chairperson – To preside at Executive Committee membership meetings and general membership meetings; appoint special committees with the approval of the Executive Board; present an annual report; and perform other such duties as may be required by the bylaws or resolutions of the Executive Committee.
Vice-Chairperson – To preside in Chairperson’s absence and perform other such duties as may be required by the bylaws or resolutions of the Executive Committee. Plan and organize publicity for activities and special events.
Secretary – To attend to all general correspondence of the organization and to keep minutes of all Executive Committee and Membership meetings and to preserve the records of the organization. He/she will also perform other such duties as may be required by the bylaws or resolutions of the Executive Committee.
Treasurer – Supervise the financial administration of all revenue, periodically report to the Executive Committee and membership on the financial condition of the organization, and perform other such duties as may be required by the bylaws or resolutions of the Executive Committee.
Article VI – Elections
Election of officers shall take place during _______________________________. The Executive Committee shall appoint a nominating committee consisting of students (preferably older members selected from the membership); the outgoing chairperson, ex-officio, shall serve as Chairperson of the Committee. They also may serve again, if elected. Any student member is eligible for nomination as an officer of the Executive Committee who fulfills the qualifications as set up by the Executive Committee.
Article VII – Amendments
Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed to the voting membership by majority vote of the Executive Committee or by petitions signed by 1/10 of the voting membership. Amendments shall be declared adopted which are presented at two general meetings to receive a majority-favorable vote at both meetings by the voting membership.
Decisions made by a group are usually better than those made alone. Group members are able to offer diverse information from many different points of view. Involving members in the decision-making process has the additional benefit of promoting an atmosphere of cooperation and enhancing the willingness of the members to implement the decision – people support what they help create. Here is an excellent approach to help members reach good group decisions:
- Participants should state their interests and priorities, then listen to others, considering all viewpoints. Everyone should participate.
- Support positions with which you find some agreement, but don't adopt a position just to reach agreement.
- Don't use polling, voting, or averaging right away. Try to reach consensus. At some point, however, you may simply have to call for a vote.
- Explore controversies and search for areas of agreement. Constructive controversies can yield the best decision.
- Seek the best alternative that everyone can support even if a minority supports another alternative.
- Be creative! Brainstorm! Creating a number of options to choose from maximizes the possibility of successfully resolving your problems.
Always reflect on your decisions once they are made. Consciously learning from past decisions will improve future decisions. Decisions can be made many different ways. They can be made by the president, the e-board, a subcommittee, or the entire organization. The type of decision that needs to be made will usually dictate who should be making it. For those decisions affecting the entire organization, it is almost always best to involve the entire organization.
Because you have become involved with your organization, you probably have a great deal of enthusiasm for its purpose. In a few sentences, explain your vision for your student organization. If it was everything that it could be, what would it be? Use this vision as a guide as you are setting goals for your student organization.
Goal setting is important for many reasons.
- Goals help set a firm direction for something definite to work toward.
- Goals create motivation within an organization.
- Goals give a clear understanding of ideas and responsibilities for group members.
- Goals provide a concrete means of measuring progress and success.
- Goal setting can be a teambuilding exercise for individuals to become committed to the organization.
Established goals should be SMART:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Action oriented (your goal is doing something)
R – Realistic
T – Timing and time frame (is the time right and when will it be accomplished?)
Here is a simple process that can help with goal setting and realizing those goals:
- BRAINSTORM: Gather together and record all ideas. No matter what, don’t evaluate or criticize ideas at this point.
- NARROW FOCUS: Discuss the ideas created during brainstorming. Now, narrow the list to a more manageable and practical list.
- STATE GOALS: Now you have a few attainable goals. They should be stated broadly at first and then narrow down to the details.
- Raise money . . . Add $200 to our treasury by the end of the semester.
- Sponsor speakers . . . We will sponsor educational guest speakers during the year.
- SET OBJECTIVES: Objectives are smaller steps necessary to achieve your goals. To set objectives, follow the same guidelines for starting goals.
- By the end of the semester, we will add $200 to our treasury . . . We will raise money by holding two bake sales.
- We will sponsor educational guest speakers during the year . . . Our group will host two speakers each semester.
- SET UP A TIME LINE: Frame your ideas in the context of other goals--and your obligations as students--or they might fall by the wayside. Pencil in dates on a calendar and distribute a copy of it to each member.
- FOLLOW THROUGH: Refer to your goals every time you meet to make sure you are remaining focused. If adjustments need to be made, feel free.
- INVOLVEMENT: Involve as many members as possible in the process from brainstorming to when goals are actually accomplished. Involvement leads to commitment.
Running an Effective Meeting
Effective meetings provide communication and structure for an organization. Organizations get together to discuss goals and progress toward their goals, to work through problems, to make decisions, to give support to fellow members who need it and just to be together as a whole to share in the fellowship of the organization.
Meetings vary greatly from group to group depending on the number of members, the mission of the organization, and activity level of the group. Despite the differences in organizations, there are some basic tips to help meetings run more smoothly and keep members coming back.
- Have concrete goals for each meeting. Set an agenda and ask for additions or changes at the beginning of each meeting.
- Make sure all members are aware in advance of the meeting day, time, and place. You might use mailings, phone calls, postings or e-mail to keep in touch. E-mail the agenda as a reminder.
- Always start meetings on time! This will prove to the other members that you know how valuable their time is. You will receive a lot of positive reinforcement for your consideration, as well as help others to be on time.
- Prepare an agenda. Type the agenda and have enough copies for every member. This will also keep structure to your meeting. Here is a skeletal outline of a basic agenda:
- Review of last week’s minutes
- Executive Board/Committee Reports
- Old Business
- New Business
- Responsibility Sign-Up
- Comments, Questions, Concerns
- Time to Socialize
- Have a process for group decision-making that is consistently used. In a larger group, it would be easier to have a show of hands, while a smaller group may always seek to reach consensus.
- Keep track of the discussion and decisions made at meetings. Have a secretary or individual be responsible for taking notes at the meetings so minutes can be sent out to members. It is a good idea to keep a file of minutes for the year to look back on during evaluation time or just for information. A good format for minutes would be the following:
- Members Present
- Members Absent
- Progress on Old Business
- New Business
- Assignments and Responsibilities
- Next Meeting (day, time, place)
- Don't be afraid to add spice to your meetings! Have a guest speaker and/or refreshments once in a while. Conduct fun, new icebreakers at the beginning of meetings (especially early in the year).
Effective communication is essential to maintaining a good organization. Keeping members informed keeps them involved with the organization. As important as communication is, it is surprising how often it is overlooked. Excellent organizations develop their own plans for communication that take into account the special characteristics and needs of the situations. This is especially important for student organizations, where membership is fluid and constantly changing and members are balancing their participation with a number of other commitments. Following are some tried and true techniques that your organization should consider when you develop your communications plan:
Inform members of meetings. It’s always helpful to do a few things to remind everyone of your next meeting. Some ways of doing this are:
- Putting a reminder at the end of each meeting’s minutes if your organization keeps minutes and distributes them.
- Sending individual meeting notices.
- Having the secretary or another appointed person text members a day or two before the meeting to remind them of it.
- Using the campus radio or newspaper announcement section to publicize your next meeting (if your organization is exceptionally large).
- Using an email list.
Have members build meeting agendas. Members will be more engaged if they help set the topics covered in a meeting. Some groups build the agenda for the next meeting by asking members for their ideas on items that should be included at the conclusion of each meeting. Others ask members to leave agenda items with the secretary any time up to 24 hours before the meeting. Still other groups use the first part of each meeting to build the agenda.
Plan meetings that facilitate good communication. Analyze your meetings – do they encourage a high level of two-way communication? Consider some ways in which your meetings could allow for better communication:
- Use smaller groups to discuss some issues.
- Ask each member to share their thoughts on important topics rather than hearing only from the few who may volunteer an opinion.
- Have a “good of the order” item on the agenda where members can express a thought or opinion on anything.
Keep minutes of meetings and distribute them by email. If your organization is like most student groups, you will have very few occasions when all of your members are at a given meeting. Minutes keep members informed and up to date even if they occasionally miss a meeting.
Use a newsletter (electronic or hard copy), especially if your membership is large. Newsletters can go into depth with important issues. Through “personals” and notes of recognition, they can also be great morale builders.
Encourage officers to spend time with members of your organization on an individual basis. Many people, especially newer members, will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas, feelings and concerns about the organization in one-to-one situations.
Retreats, social events and other occasions to build person relations will do great things for the communication in your organization. The more familiar and comfortable members of an organization are with each other, the easier it is to communicate.
There comes a time for every organization when the officers and members leave. The transition to a new group can be traumatic and difficult for the organization.
The key to an effective transitional period is good communication. Good organizations plan for transition – new officers are trained and prepared for the roles they will be filling. Think back to when you first became a leader in your organization. You were probably nervous, excited, full of questions, and perhaps a bit intimidated. Wouldn't it have been nice to have an experienced leader to ask questions of and get suggestions from?
Here are some suggestions for making the transition period a positive one for the incoming and outgoing leaders:
- Set aside a time for incoming and outgoing leaders to meet. Use this time as an orientation to filing systems, records, names of contacts, office supplies, etc. Introduce the new leaders to any people they'll be working with closely.
- Discuss past, present, and on-going projects. Share information about what has worked and what hasn’t. Include ideas and suggestions that may be helpful in the future. If your transition occurs between semesters, devote more time to getting acquainted with current members and leaders.
- Prepare a reference/orientation packet or job description. In addition to other relevant information, include a short written report by each of the officers describing their roles, responsibilities and specific duties. A number of organizations have begun keeping a “how to” notebook for major projects and programs.
- Have the new executive board conduct the final two or three meetings of the semester. This will help them get experience, gain credibility with the group and receive feedback from the outgoing executives.
- The transition period presents some logistics challenges, too. Where checkbooks and bank statements will be stored should be known to members. Over the summer or at the end of the winter semester, recruitment and activities such as Orientation and Fall Fest should be organized.
The most important thing to remember is that outgoing leaders need to provide guidance to the new officers. This is a chance to insure continuing success of the group and share some experienced leaders’ expertise.
Brainstorming and Creativity
Is your organization having problems coming up with ideas for activities? Try brainstorming creative ideas as individuals, as a group, or both. There are many different ways to brainstorm. Give the members a general idea of what is being brainstormed. Pull a word randomly out of the dictionary and use that word as a basis for ideas. No matter how you do it, your organization can be left with a lot of great ideas at the end of a brainstorming session. Just remember to follow a few important rules:
- There should be one person who facilitates the brainstorming session to make sure that everyone participates and keeps focused.
- Ideas must not be criticized or evaluated during the session.
- Expand on other people’s ideas.
- Have fun with the ideas you come up with.
- Keep a record of all of the ideas from the brainstorming session. These will help you with the evaluation process.
Creativity is not a gift; it is a state of being. Everyone has creative potential. Pull in the creative members of your organization and delegate the jobs requiring creativity to them. While they are doing these jobs, however, have them work with the not-so-creative members so they can be creative too.
Northern Michigan University recognizes the important role that student organizations play in the life of the campus community. A number of support services are offered to help your organization be successful. In order to take advantage of these resources, organizations must register annually.
Registration: Annual registration must be completed by the fourth week of classes in the fall semester in order to maintain services for pre-existing organizations. Registration includes updating leadership contact information for students who may be interested in joining and takes only a few minutes to complete. New organizations may register at any time throughout the year.
Below is a list of support services available to registered student organizations.
For any questions, or to reserve any of the opportunities outlined below for your group, please contact the Center for Student Enrichment (CSE) at 906-227-2439, email@example.com or stop by 1101 Northern Center, across from the Wildcat Den.
- Sign Posting on Campus: Have an event coming up? Trying to attract new members? A poster on campus might be just what you need. All posters must be registered through the Center for Student Enrichment, 1101 Northern Center. Want help designing a poster? Please view the promotional services opportunity listed on this page.
- Northern Lights TV Ad Space: Promote your organization’s events in Northern Lights by submitting an electronic copy of your organization's event. Ads are posted every Monday for one full week and must be submitted to the CSE no later than two business days before it is posted. Only organization events will be considered.
- Image Requirements: Images must be horizontal, saved as a .png file and be 1920 x 1080 pixels.
- How to Sign Up & Restrictions: Organizations can advertise for one full week up to two times a semester but no more than once a month. One organization will be allowed an ad per week. Stop by, email or call the CSE to reserve your space ahead of time!
- University TV Ad Space: Courtesy of NMU’s Marketing and Communications Department, promote your organization’s event on the university TV’s around campus. Ads are posted every Monday and run until the following Sunday. Email an electronic copy of your organization's event poster to the CSE at least 2.5 weeks before desired posting date for initial approval.
- Image Requirements: Images must be horizontal, saved as a .png file and be high resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels.
- Posting Restrictions: Only events will be accepted. Organizations can advertise for one full week up to two times a semester but no more than once a month. Space for these TV’s are limited and scheduling of ads is at the discretion of Marketing and Communications. Submission does not guarantee event posting.
- Promotional Services: Flyers, table tents, posters, North Wind ads, T-shirts, etc. — you name it and the talented students who work in Promotional Services can create an attractive and effective design at a very reasonable price.
- Reserve University Facilities: Being a registered organization allows groups to schedule a room for their meeting/event almost anywhere on campus, have their fundraising event approved or schedule a table to recruit students! Get started by submitting an Activity Request Form on The Hub. *Please note that requests are not guaranteed and are granted based on availability. Any food fundraisers outside of bake sales must apply for a food exemption through Simply Superior.
- Campus Mailbox: The advantages of using a campus mailing address vs. a member's address is that when members/officers change, the mailing address remains the same. Make the leadership transition less painful by registering for a campus mailbox today! Mailboxes are located on first floor of the Northern Center. Contact the CSE to be assigned a mailbox.
- Storage Lockers: Located in the Northern Center and Harden Hall, organizations can reduce the headache of passing on materials or storing event supplies by signing up for a storage locker. This is a service provided free of charge. Stop by the CSE or call the office to inquire about availability.
- University Student Involvement Fairs and Events: Registered student organizations are encouraged to be an active member of the NMU community through involvement fairs and annual university events held on campus throughout the year. These opportunities allow for organization exposure and recruitment of new members.
- Apply for University Funds: Have an idea for an event but don’t have the funds to execute it? You are able to apply for funding through the Student Finance Committee. For more information, contact the ASNMU treasurer/Student Finance Committee chairperson in the ASNMU Office (1203 Northern Center, 906-227-2452). Many student organizations have sponsored a speaker or an entertainer that reflects the interests of their group.
- Recognition of Accomplishments: Every April 500+ students and guests attend the Leadership Recognition Banquet where outstanding efforts by student organizations are recognized. In addition, accomplishments by student organizations are recognized throughout the year in the North Wind and by other means.
- New Student Interest Forms: Each spring, the Center for Student Enrichment asks registered student organizations to update a short description of their group. These are included in the student organization newspaper that is distributed to new student orientation participants, along with an interest card. Orientation participants complete the cards and then a list of students interested in each student organization is sent out. Additional membership recruitment opportunities include annual programs such as Fall Fest.
- Advice and Assistance: When you enter the Center for Student Enrichment, you will find friendly staff who are available to answer questions and discuss ideas or concerns you may have about your student organization. Call on us; we are here to help!
Promoting Your Organization
Here are some quick ideas for promoting your organization:
- Buy organization T-shirts, sweatshirts or jackets.
- Participate in Homecoming and WinterFest.
- Get involved in a major community service project (Make A Difference Day, Special Olympics, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Day of Service, or one that is unique to your organization).
- Apply for a student organization award: Diversity Event/Project of the Year, Community Service Award, Project of the Year, Event of the Year, Organization of the Year (University Supported), and/or Organization of the Year
- Take pictures of your organization in action and submit them to the Center for Student Enrichment (firstname.lastname@example.org) for inclusion in the slide show at the Leadership Recognition Banquet. Your pictures might also appear in a future publication or on our Web site.
- Sponsor a campus program or event.
- Attend an athletic event as a group with your organization shirts/sweatshirts.
- Put up a display about your organization in Harden Hall and/or inquire about a display case in the Northern Center. Contact the Center for Student Enrichment (1101 Northern Center, 906-227-2439) for arrangements.
- Plan now to participate in early fall recruitment activities next year (Fall Fest, etc.).
- Develop and maintain a Web page that explains and promotes your organization.
- Escort new people to their first meeting. Remember how scary it can be to walk into a room full of strangers.
- Know what makes your organization special, what sets it apart from other organizations.
- Get attention! Use posters, flyers and table tents with a creative message.
Publicizing Student Events
Whether it is for an open meeting, a small event or a campus-wide program, there is a need to let people know about it. How you inform people is usually determined by the size and scope of your event, your budget, and in some cases by the amount of time that you have. Try to develop a promotional plan that fits the audience you are trying to reach.
Following are some promotional methods to consider.
- Submit your information to be included in Student Connect, a bi-weekly update of campus programs and activities. Student Connect is emailed to all students and other members of the campus community every week during the academic year. To have your event included, go to nmu.edu/studentconnect and click "Submit News, Events, and Announcements" (green box in the right column). NOTE: Student Connect is intended for those events and activities that would be of interest to the general student body.
- Contact the student newspaper, The North Wind (email@example.com, 906-227-2545, Gries Hall) and ask to have your event or activity placed in the “What’s Happening” section. Ask if your event or activity is of sufficient interest for a story to be done on it. This should be done by 4 p.m. Monday in order to have it printed in the following Wednesday’s edition.
- Contact WUPX, the student radio station (firstname.lastname@example.org, 906-227-2348, 1204 Northern Center), and ask to have a public service announcement made about your event.
- Send a student announcement to all students through Student Connect. This can be done online at nmu.edu/studentconnect (click on "Submit News, Events, and Announcements" - green box in the right column).
- Request that your event be promoted on the scoreboard and with public address announcements at Wildcat football and hockey games. Contact the Athletic Department at 906-227-1193.
- Promote your event with a slide at Campus Cinema films screenings. Send a slide to email@example.com.
- If your event is primarily for students in a particular academic department, ask the departmental faculty to mention it in class.
- Consider starting a facebook group for your event or activity.
- Sidewalks can be chalked to promote an event or activity. Chalking has to be at least 20 feet from building entrances. Note: Chalking on poles, walls, etc. (anything other than a sidewalk) is not permitted.
- Add your event to the NMU Master Calendar of Events. Anyone with an NMU User ID and password can do this.
- If your event might have some appeal in the community, ask the University Marketing & Communications Office (409 Cohodas, 906-227-2720) to send out a press release to all local media. Do this well in advance!
NOTE: For all of these forms of promotion you will need to provide basic information that includes the name of the program, a short description, date, time, location, ticket information (if applicable), sponsor and who can be contacted for more information.
Publicity for a Price
- Have a poster and/or a table announcement designed and printed. These items can be designed by your members or, for a nominal charge, by Promotional Services (1101 Northern Center, 906-227-1623, firstname.lastname@example.org). Printing can be done by Printing Services (Services Building, 906-227-2454). It takes 128 posters to cover the entire campus, and you may want to consider placing some in the community. Please reference the posting policy. Posting locations are listed here.
- North Wind ads. Contact the North Wind at 906-227-2545 for current rates. Ad space must be reserved by 4 p.m. on the Monday of the week you want the ad to appear. Ads can be designed by your members, the North Wind, or by Promotional Services (906-227-1623, 1101 Northern Center, email@example.com).
As always, try to think of a unique or innovative way of promoting your event or activity. Things that are new and different stand out!
After an activity, the members are usually ready to celebrate success. Before the celebration, however, all of the members should take time to evaluate the activity before they leave.
In order to evaluate a program, project or the performance of our organization over the course of an entire year, we need to determine in advance what goals we are trying to accomplish. For project or program goals we might be trying to attract a certain number of people, raise a certain level of revenue, create an awareness, or involve a certain percentage of our organization’s members. In evaluating a year, we may consider a membership level that we want to be at, the success of annual programs and projects that we do, the experiences that our members have in the organization and the impact that we hope to have on campus. Whatever it is that you will be using to measure your levels of accomplishment, it is important to determine them in advance and to involve as many members as possible in deciding what they will be.
Evaluations can be done in writing or through a discussion. In either case, keeping a written summary on file is very important. Some areas to consider in evaluating are:
- What made this project/program or year a success (to what extent were goals met)?
- What could be done to improve this project/program or year?
- What additional recommendations would you like to make to members who will be involved with this program/project next year?
- Any other information you would like to include.
Evaluations should be conducted as soon as possible after a program/project is completed or at the end of the year if you are evaluating the year. They should involve all relevant parties – members, officers, those who attended or participated and your organization's adviser. Successors in your organization will appreciate the thoughtfulness and help that you will be providing them by doing a good job of evaluating your efforts. It will allow them to see the world from your shoulders, rather than from the ground!