How to Be a Success as an Organization President

Valuable tips to make your presidency a productive one! How to pinpoint the best meeting time for your group; How to run a great meeting; How to prepare an agenda; Ways to keep your meetings from becoming boring; How to keep current members and, finally, recruitment campaigns to increase your organization’s membership! Implement all of the following tips and your presidential term will be a monumental landmark in the historical documents of our Campus Recreation and Student Programming archives!

How to Have a Great Meeting!

Have you found that your meetings run like a circus with three things going on at once? Would you like more people to attend your meetings? Have officers and committee reports been long on words but short on accomplishments? Does everyone seem to socialize and the meetings become non-productive?

If you have faced these problems it is most likely not due to your leadership, but due to your need to implement some basic steps to better organize your meetings. They’re very easy to follow and will guarantee you more productive meetings!

Step 1: Meeting Time

The first step is to target “the best” meeting time that will allow as many members as possible to attend.

In general, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days to elect to hold your organization’s meetings. On these days, there are more students on campus. Monday’s are a little “shaky” for your meeting day choice since, after the weekend, your members may have groggy memories and are more likely to forget your important organization meeting. Designate Monday’s as your meeting reminder day and take along extra meeting flyers for you and your officers to pass out to members and potential members when you see them.
Next, you must pinpoint which of these three days is best for your group and the specific time to hold meetings. During the first week of each quarter you should determine a standard day and time for your meetings and circle on the calendar the exact dates. Establishing a weekly standard day, time and meeting place for an entire semester will help your organization and eliminate confusion and forgetfulness.

Your meeting date and time should be the time slot that allows the maximum number of members to attend. Matching up school and work schedules of officers and members is a difficult task. One simple way is to make your own “Best Meeting Time” form. Look at your schedule and list 8-12 possible weekly meeting times. Then ask your members to check off all those times that match their schedules. When tallying these forms, use your members initials or names. This way you’ll know at a glance which members can make which meeting times.

Several campus groups have been successful holding weekly “piggyback meetings.” When these groups tallied their “Best Meeting Time” forms, they found that by holding two identical meetings back to back on the same day they were able to reach the “majority” of their members.

Once you’ve determined the day and time of your meeting, you must plan the place. If you intend to schedule meeting rooms in Kilcawley Center, then you must stop in the Reservations Office and reserve all of your rooms. If your meetings are less formal, you may find the Student Activities Lounge, the Hub or Wendy's as good meeting areas. If you do schedule rooms in Kilcawley Center, make sure to cancel rooms with the Reservations Office if your meetings are canceled. If you don’t, your group may be denied future room space in Kilcawley Center!

Now prepare a list for all of your members to have for the entire semester. List all meeting dates, times and locations. This is also a great flyer to give to any interested future members, too!
Now what? Will they come to the meetings?

Well, to make sure you’re a success you need to make weekly reminder meeting flyers to mail or hand out to those members who are not “weekly shows!” You need to encourage these “now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t” members to keep coming by sending weekly flyers and making phone calls. This will help strengthen their commitment to the organization. You can delegate one of your officers to prepare weekly flyers and telephone members. Your flyers can be made fun and interesting by adding illustrations from newspapers, movie flyers, cartoons, etc. Use computers at Bytes & Pieces located on the second floor of Kilcawley to create interesting flyers using computer graphics. Also, email is a great way to inform members of meeting times and dates.

Last, but not least, send to the JAMBAR a week before each meeting, a “Campus Short” notice announcing your meetings--it’s free!

Step 2: Chaos or Progress?

The secret to running a good meeting is “pre-planning.” For every meeting that you hold you must take time to pre-plan it! This really only needs to take 15 minutes and eliminates chaos! Planning out the topic areas you should to cover is called setting up an agenda. In general, an agenda should review the past meeting minutes, committee and officer reports on current issue and any discussion of future events on the organization’s calendar.

  1. Call to order by president - start of meeting
  2. Roll - which members are present
  3. Minutes from last meeting read.
  4. Approval of minutes.
  5. President’s report - announcements that concern the whole group.
  6. V.P. Report - only if they have a report!
  7. Secretary Report - only if they have a report!
  8. Treasurer Report - the group should always know how they stand financially.
  9. Committee reports - if any!
  10. Old Business - Review tabled motion from 9-26-05 meeting. Should we give the Youth Club $100 for new swings in their play ground?
  11. New Business - future projects or activities.
  12. Close meeting - announce next meeting date, time, place and things to be discussed.

During your meetings, plan to introduce new members and have an “ice breaker” to let members get better acquainted. Suckers and pretzel sticks from the Kilcawley Candy Counter are a sure fire way to perk up a meeting! (Remember, you must leave the meeting room neat and clean if you’ve had a snack!) When your agenda is drafted, have it typed, if possible and make copies for all of your members to follow.

Step 3: The Finishing Touches for a Great Meeting!

Now that you have a workable agenda, you will need to do a few more things prior to the meeting to make it a success!

  1. Make sure you have a meeting place that can be easily found by new members. Place signs outside of the room with your group’s name on it and make sure to add “new members are welcome.”
  2. Have officers and regular members greet new members at the door, and then give them a name tag.
  3. Have everyone fill out a New Member Application form so you will have a record of everyone’s name, address, phone number, interests, talents, email addresses, etc. This form is available in the Campus Recreation and Student Programming Office with tips on how to customize it to your group.
  4. Make sure you have enough chairs for everyone.
  5. Start the meeting on time - don’t wait too long for late comers. You’re wasting the valuable time of those members present and indirectly telling them it’s ok to be late.

Step 4: You're the Big Kahoona!

As presiding officer of the meeting, in other words you’re the King Pin...The Final Boss in a video game... The Head Hauncho.... The Big Ka-hoo-na, you have five main responsibilities to keep in mind as you start and run the meeting.

    Items or proposals the members to consider or take action on.
    The deliberations and actions of the group in order to make it easier for them to conduct the business which has brought them together. Do this by: knowing your parliamentary procedures, keeping things moving, using your authority to keep order and using your secretary to keep track of motions.
    The goal is to teach members of parliamentary situations. Help them make motions, help them understand motions and tell them their options. Do this without putting people down or showing them up.
    Bring about free open discussion of matters brought before the group. Listen to all ideas. Don’t laugh at or criticize others’ efforts.
    Clarify and restate any business not understood by the group.

How Do I Keep Members Active and Interested in the Group?

Motivating your members and recognizing their efforts to further your organization is the key to keeping your membership! Recognizing both small tasks and large accomplishments is important whether it be to a member who makes the weekly reminder phone calls for the next meeting or...the member who took charge of the entire fundraising project. The following are tips to keep the group cohesive and motivated in your organization.

  1. Award a “Committee Member of the Month” certificate. Certificates are available in the Student Activities Office.
  2. Use candy bars or “Oreo” cookies as a “THANK YOU” for small accomplishments.
  3. Print up t-shirts with your group’s logo. Award these for major events.
  4. Each month, celebrate at one meeting all your members with a birthday in that month. Get a card and have all your members sign it!
  5. Plan an Organization Party/Meeting in the Hub
  6. Schedule Neon yearbook pictures for your group, especially when you need to get everyone back in the groove.
  7. Ask The JAMBAR to interview and write about a special program your organization is doing. Don’t forget to ask them to take photos of your group.
  8. Nominate your organization’s outstanding programs for the Campus Recreation and Student Programming Annual Awards Banquet. Nominations are taken early in the Spring semester.
  9. Order sweatshirts or satin jackets to be printed with your organizations logo on them.
  10. Plan a breakfast together during finals week. “Stress Release!.”
  11. Write and mail “THANK YOU” postcards to members, or make special thank you certificates for your organization.
  12. Invite a guest speaker to your meetings for a change of pace. A faculty member, Campus Recreation and Student Programming staff, alumni, business person, advisor, Student Government president and to name just a few, Career Services staff member are a few possibilities.
  13. Have everyone draw a member’s name for a Christmas card exchange, Valentine chocolate - chocolate exchange -- whatever to spark interest and keep members coming to meetings.
  14. Plan a scavenger hunt to a meeting! A putt-putt outing, an end-of-the year trip to Cedar Point, a zoo trip before school starts, a YSU football game tailgate party, road trips to businesses in your organization’s academic field or visit another campus and meet with a similar organization.

Everyone Get One

....New members of course! Our strongest organizations on campus are those who make an effort to recruit quality members all year long. Very rarely does that magical perfect member show up at a meeting without someone having told him or her all about the organization, when and where the meetings are and having had invited them personally to attend.

The only way your organization will grow and remain on campus, even after you have graduated, is through new members!

Plan now to announce at the first meeting of each semester, the start of the “Everyone Get One” campaign.

Each member is to recruit one really great member! The current member then takes on the responsibility to orient the member to the group, introduce him/her around, explain programs and, most importantly, invite the potential member to help out on specific tasks so he or she can feel involved and be part of the group.

The Campus Recreation and Student Programming Office “ORGANIZATIONAL FAIRS” are held twice yearly; in the fall and spring semesters. These events are usually held the first week of the semester. They are excellent means of finding interested students. To participate in the event you need to pre-register for the table space with the Campus Recreation and Student Programming Office. Plan an effective table display with your organization and include membership applications, flyers for upcoming events, a scrapbook of past events, also tablecloths, props, balloons and give - always to create interest. Finally, organize to have at lease 2 members to cover every hour.

The fairs are usually held from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., with table set-up usually
between 9:00 A. - 10:00 A.M.

Other ways to find potential members is to inform faculty members, especially your organization’s advisor, that you’re having a membership drive. Provide them with a flyer with all the details about your group and who to contact and when and where the next meeting is. Stop in at both the Student Serving Students and Peer Assistant offices and give them information that they can pass on to students. Post flyers on campus bulletin boards and put on easels in Kilcawley. Reserve banner space and have a banner made and put up in Kilcawley. At your table for the organizational fair, have information on how to join your group. Ask professors if you can make announcements in class, if time allows, for your organization - especially if it is an academic organization.

Don’t forget the dorms! Ask the housing coordinators how and where you might post or distribute information to interest residents.


The University has established a series of awards to recognize excellence, and encourage participation in campus life. The awards are presented annually at the Student Activities Awards Banquet in April. Student organization presidents and their advisors are notified early in the spring semester as to how to nominate candidates for the following prestigious awards.