January 20, 2018

Managing expectations for your club or organization

One of the keys to keeping your classmates involved in your campus club or organization lies in managing their expectations. Students can  have expectations about everything about the club for how it is run, to what they’ll get out their involvement, to what impact the club will have in the community, to how much fun it will be.

Dave Kelly, College Speaker - Managing expectations for your club or organization

It’s easy to lose members along the way or for them to become disengaged because the organization is not what they expected it to be . It’s up to you as a club officer to set and manage your members’ expectations. You can do that both during the recruiting process and in how you run your club meetings and day-to-day operations. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind.

During recruiting (formal or informal)

  1. Be honest and upfront regarding what the club is about. It may be tempting to go for image over substance, but you’ll just be creating an expectation you won’t be able to meet.
  2. Be clear regarding expectations about meeting attendance, club activities and how much participation – and effort – is required once they become a member.

Daily Operations

  1. Have a varied menu of activities, some of which do not require a lot of members to pull off. That way even if you have just a few members present you can still pull of an interesting and fun meeting. The word will get around and others will start showing up.
  2. Watch for cliques and break them up by using icebreakers or conducting large activities requiring lots of involvement. Assign the members that seem to be forming cliques  to different teams or different tasks so they can get to know others, especially new members.
  3. Avoid drama by watching for conflicts. Ask for help from club officers, advisors, even psychology professors or the counseling center, if necessary to help resolve any issues. Make sure you catch any conflicts early… before they become DRAMA!
  4. Change negative perceptions by doing something big, bold, and positive. Shake things up a little, step outside of the box or do something with positive impact to shake your members out of a rut or set a new direction.

Remember, it’s your job to run your club well and serve the membership. Keep those two things in the forefront of your actions and people will know what to expect.


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About the Author: Dave "Gonzo" Kelly (64 Posts)

Dave Kelly is the leading authority on student leadership and community service on college campuses today. As a professional trainer, motivator, and servant leader, Dave is an expert on all aspects of running and leading campus organizations and developing the character of a servant leader. Dave has 20+ years training leaders and advisors from student government associations, campus activities boards and campus clubs of every kind on organizational leadership and community service projects. He has trained students and advisors at more than 150 different colleges and universities and is the national coordinator for the APCA Serves! Initiative by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities.

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