National Collegiate 4-H

Collegiate 4-H Club Development

Looking for advice on improving your club in areas such as promotion and membership expansion?  Or looking for new ideas for club fundraising, social, or service activities? Or are you interested in developing a new Collegiate 4-H club at your school or in your state?

Check out the menu on the right for various areas of club development!

For now, check out the Collegiate 4-H Message Boards and share your clubs programs in the Clubs, Programs, and Activities Forum or your service projects in the Service Forum.

It is difficult to formulate a list of principles which will insure a successful organization. Groups have different purposes and members with various needs. Some organizations are able to experience success using. methods which would bring failure to others. However, there are a few basic principles common for all organizations and these are listed to assist in laying the foundation for a successful organization

  1. Organizations must have a reason for existing. They must have a meaningful program. There must be a unity of purpose which the membership understands, is able to explain to others, and constantly works to achieve. 
  2. Goals which the entire membership sets up should be established for each organization. People support what they help to create. These may be short-range goals which should be accomplished in a short period of time, but also there should be long-range goals toward which the year's efforts are directed. Groups that fail to have clear-cut goals frequently elicit mediocre interest from members and have activities which result in mediocre accomplishments. 
  3. There must be continuity in the activities of the organization between meetings. This can be accomplished only when officers and members sit down and outline their activities and meetings in advance for the semester or even the year. Between meetings there should be follow-up work through committees, publicity stories in the newspaper, bulletin notices, posters, newsletters, etc. Keep your own members as well as others aware of your group. 
  4. Well-planned meetings are essential. A printed agenda with a copy for each member is one of the best ways of planning. The best agendas are those which are prepared by the officers and the advisor at a meeting held at a scheduled time in advance of the regular club meetings. Officers should not make decision for the group–their purpose is to think through problems and ideas to make recommendations to the group. 
  5. Participation of all members contributes to a good organization. A common bond of fellowship should be engendered. A variety of social, recreational, and cultural activities should be developed so that they present both a challenge to the initiative of each member as well as eliciting support. All members should have opportunities to speak and express opinions. Ask opinions of those who do not volunteer to speak up and express themselves. Appoint each member to a committee or give them some special responsibility at least once during the semester and more often if possible. Help each member to feel important to the group. See that the entire group has the opportunity to make decisions about plans and solutions to problems. The minority should not direct an organization; there should be a majority decision on all issues which come before the group. 
  6. Advice from the advisor. As an experienced person the advisor may be able to help the organization with organizational details or bureaucratic red tape. Combine advice with member ideas. 
  7. One of the most important meetings of each year is the first. It sets the tone of your group for the entire year. Therefore the leadership should prepare and organize for it. They should know what is going to be done, should ensure that it be a friendly meeting, should make certain that all members know what has been accomplished. 
  8. Enthusiasm with a capital E is a must. The officers should remember that if they are not enthusiastic about their group, the members will not be. Remember, enthusiasm, as well as other attitudes, is contagious. Because of this, the officers set the tone for the entire group. Do not be an officer if you cannot be enthusiastic or if you do not believe in your group and what it stands for. Let members know through enthusiastic leadership and interesting programs that the organization has things to do–and is doing them! 
  9. Regularity of meeting time and place is essential for satisfactory meetings of the organization or club. 
  10. Critically evaluate your meetings
  11. Cooperation with other organization, both student and faculty, should be encouraged.
  12. The officers should encourage the membership to assume projects related to service on the campus and in the community. 
  13. Recognition by the leadership that academic achievement is the responsibility of the individual, and that the organization cannot act as a vehicle for creditable achievement, is essential if the organization is to fulfill its objectives. However, it should also be recognized that an organization can, through the special competencies of many of its members in various courses, provide tutorial assistance to those individuals incurring academic difficulties. 
  14. Balance. Remember the successful organization has a purpose. A good balance of social, service and leadership opportunities will allow all the members to feel that the organization is "theirs".