Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tip of the Day: Copy Other Groups' Best Practices

Running a student organization is difficult. Starting one is even more difficult. No one expects you to come up with everything on your own. It's okay to take ideas from other organizations, and in fact encouraged. By copying what other organizations do well, you are able to make your own organization do better. Effective management, like the economy, is not a zero-sum game. By doing what other groups have done successfully, you're making yourself better at no one else's expense.

The important question is: how do you learn the best practices of other organizations? Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Attend other groups' meetings. The Penn Libertarians would actually go to the International Socialist Organization's meetings to see what they were doing and evaluate what they were doing good and bad. If it's a public meeting, you should not be ashamed to attend their meeting. Be open that you're with another organization, but interested in learning from them. This may even lead to future collaborative projects.
  2. Join other groups' list-serves. The other groups' should be happy that their list-serve has increased in size, and you get to see what they're doing.
  3. Attend events of other organizations.
  4. Ask leaders of other organizations to have coffee and talk about how they run their organization. Some will say no for various reasons, but you may strike gold and find one other leader who is open to talking with you.
  5. Get involved with SFL. If it's difficult to learn from other groups on your campus, then learn what other pro-liberty groups are doing through SFL.
The important thing to remember when studying other organizations' practices is to not take them all at face value as good ideas. Many groups are run poorly and have bad practices. You should constantly be evaluating whether a certain practice would work for your group or not, and select which ones to implement.

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