July 9th, 2013
As July progresses, the start of the school year looms in the near distance, and now more than ever it is time to start preparing the plans and goals of your student organization. Last week, I stated that throughout the month of July I would be suggesting various ways that you, a student leader, can best prepare for the coming year to ensure maximum potential for your efforts.
As stated in last week’s posting, establishing relationships with other members of your student organization, leaders of other related student groups, and local community or faculty members can play a vital role in expanding your goals and providing you with the resources necessary to accomplish them. The next step in preparation for growing your organization is to plan future events.
While it may seem far too early to begin considering the specifics of events, let alone general ideas about them, I can tell you that this is a crucial time to begin the preliminary planning. If you have prior experience in student leadership, this may come as no surprise, but for those of you that are just now taking the helm, events take weeks, or even months, of preparation. Although the logistics of the event itself may not be possible to plan until much closer to the announced date, some steps must be done now to ensure it meets your expectations.
For example, if you want to host a speaker in the Fall semester, planning must be coordinated now. Many speakers start booking their schedule three months in advance – some as early as 9 months! They may be in high-demand and waiting any longer could cost you the opportunity to host a particular speaker.
Most campus funding for speakers also requires lead times of 4 to 8 weeks depending on your campus. So if you need a $500 grant from your student government to bring off your event, you may need to submit that application in July.
It is important to distribute save-the-date reminders to the members of your group as well as the local community. This reminder, while not necessarily significant in planning a student’s schedule that day two or three months from now, can boost interest and give others a preview of what the year will bring. A save-the-date reminder, likely distributed across various forms of social media, is a very easy way to recruit students that may not have otherwise been interested in joining. At the very least, it will get students to inquire further into your plans for the coming year.
From there, if you begin planning and coordinating with others now, you will have a whole list of engaging activities that will drive students to participate and become members.