Between hosting events, leading meetings, and overseeing administrative tasks, leading an organization can be overwhelming for even the most talented students — which is why SA pros are there to lend a hand as advisors.
But what if I told you that you didn’t need to spend hours with student groups advising them on each and every program, initiative, and decision? There is a way to equip your organization leaders with the skills and resources needed to operate autonomously.
It all starts with creating a catalog of digital forms. I’m going to share which forms are most helpful for advisors or campus life offices to create. Then, I’ll discuss how to articulate the many benefits of these forms in a way that will motivate your student leaders to get their organizational ducks in a row.
From the get-go, have your student leaders get into the practice of running their organization through a digital platform like Presence. They’ll start by completing an easy-to-navigate registration form.
You’ll want to include prompts like:
- Official organization name
- Funding resources
- Organization mission and values
- Meeting dates, times, and locations
This form should also include fields where they can enter information about their organization’s officers (like the vice president, treasurer, or secretary), as well as their membership list. This will allow officers to stay in touch and send updates to their constituents. It also means that leaders can make membership updates at any time — no more scrap paper needed at the organization fair, nor a constant need to update the organization’s e-list.
An added bonus to this form is that it can easily be updated or edited by organization leadership. So, when it’s time to transition, student leaders can seamlessly pass the torch by updating the officer directory. In doing so, they will be providing administrative access to the successor, who will then have access to all organization files and forms.
Once you’ve streamlined your event registration process to be run digitally, student organizations can tackle all of their program planning tasks on your campus’ virtual engagement platform.
Since your one-size-is-customizable-to-all event registration form will be accessible to all student leaders, they’ll be carefully guided through the planning process and presented with each of the necessary forms — like performance contracts, catering orders, or facilities requests – along the way.
If their form submissions live within their organization’s page (they do with Presence!), they can always go back and duplicate if they’re hosting the same program again. They can also use this storage feature to revisit the submission information, which will serve as a helpful reminder as they get closer to the event date.
Presence also allows organizations to market their events via a mobile portal and track attendees through card swipes. As an administrator to the platform, you could use this data to help organizations uncover helpful trends — like which events are most successful or the demographics of involved students.
Within the event management process, it would also be helpful to create an event evaluation form. This quick event recap could ask about what went well, what should be done differently in the future, and whether the organization achieved its intended outcomes. Again, this form submission would live in the organization’s page so future leaders can use the responses as a baseline for improvement or adjustment.
If you advise an organization that travels often (like a capella groups for performances or club sports for tournaments), consider moving your travel forms to a digital format as well. This will not only allow student organizations to keep their documents organized in one place for quick reference, but it will also allow you to keep track of upcoming trips, confirmation codes, and waivers.
Presence allows you to download an Excel file of form submissions, which means you can easily produce a report of all traveler information and filter it by student organization. This will be helpful to hand off to the student leader organizing the travel logistics and for you to keep on hand should you receive a call to manage a crisis while they are away.
Popcorn for a documentary viewing. Poster boards for a rally. Prizes for a Bingo night.
You or a coworker likely process hundreds or thousands of expenditures for student leaders. You may already have a homegrown system for keeping track of these requests but it can be extremely beneficial to have them live in the same place as other organization materials.
With a one-stop-shop digital form catalog (like one you can create with Presence), student leaders know exactly where they need to go to be reimbursed or to receive a cash advance. What’s more, this form can connect directly to the organization’s budget allocation so leaders can see their budget changes in real-time. When leaders have the ability to interact with their finances in such a tangible way, it can lead to more fiscal responsibility within organizations.
While this isn’t a form, per se, uploading any operational or transition documents to the organization’s page will allow student leaders to display up-to-date records to officers and members.
For example, this is where the secretary of the Chess Club could upload meeting agendas. Or, the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper could upload a helpful how-to video regarding editing software. Outgoing officers could also leave letters of encouragement or semester timelines to incoming executive board members as a way to start them off on the right foot.
Think of these documents as digital breadcrumbs leading organizational members to success.
Transparency and efficiency are critical for a student org to run smoothly. Therefore, a digital home for all forms and documents is exactly what student organizations need to thrive. By establishing this essential foundation, you’re empowering your student leaders to build lasting legacies.
How have you used digital forms to enhance campus life and simplify everyday processes? We’d love to learn from your successes! Connect with us on Twitter @HelloPresence.