As you know, your group is affiliated with Lancaster University Students’ Union. What you may not know is that the Union is a charity, which exists to:
- Provide social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of its students;
- Promote the interests and welfare of students at Lancaster University during their course of study and representing, supporting and advising students;
- Be the representative channel between students and Lancaster University and any other external bodies.
As a group affiliated with this charity, we’ll support you to manage the volunteers which make up your groups exec and membership.
One of the best ways of ensuring you can effectively managing the society is to create and communicate clear objectives for the group. In order to deliver those objectives, you’ll need to have appropriate roles, with clarity over the responsibilities and accompanying role descriptions in place.
Establishing the Society's Objectives
What is the mission/purpose of your society?
- To provide safe and enjoyable performance opportunities for all members of the local community.
What are the objectives of your society?
- Improve and expand the training sessions we offer so that there are activities to offer people of all ages and abilities.
- Diversify the society’s funding streams.
What are the key functions that your society carries out, or needs to carry out, to achieve its objectives?
- Activity planning
What are the main components of these functions?
- Managing events.
- Financial planning.
- Creating partnerships with local community organisations.
- Seeking sponsorship.
Some additional questions:
What sort of activities, skills and knowledge would ‘add value’ to the society?
What else would you do if you had the time or resources?
What else would you do if you had the right skills available to you?
How could the core functions of your society be improved?
What other competencies does your society need to build?
Which skills or new approaches would your exec and society benefit from learning most?
How could you improve the quality of your internal activities and processes?
How could you improve the quality of your services?
What additional services would your members value most?
What needs does your society have that are currently not being met?
Why should role descriptions be creates?
By having a constructive conversation about roles and responsibilities at the start of your time working together, it can ensure there is clarity and understanding about what each person will be working on for the society. Often conflict arises in Exec when there is disagreement or lack of understanding about what the group should be working on, and how much commitment there should be. By addressing this at the start of the time working together, it can avoid disagreement and conflict later.
Every student group must have a President, Treasurer and a General Secretary. These roles are the core of the society and they are vital for the operations of the society. Other roles within the society are up to you to decide depending on the needs of the society. You should write the role descriptions together as an Exec team, so there is transparency and opportunity for open communication.
- Being on an exec is always a choice!
- It is unpaid and voluntary.
- All activity is not-for-profit.
- Being on an exec should create positive change for the exec member, the society, and the wider community
Benefits of a role description for the individual:
- You will understand what time commitment you will need and when this is needed. Think about the deadlines and exams you may have.
- You’ll be able to articulate what the role entailed and what skills you utilised to future employers.
- You can see what skills you will develop from working in this role.
- You’ll understand what the remit of your role is, and be able to understand which other roles on the exec you can collaborate with.
- If you find the role changes or deviates, it gives you the basis from which to discuss the original purpose/remit of the role.
Benefits of a role description for the society:
- With all the activity the exec has planned, you can ensure you have a team in place which will deliver that activity. If there are any gaps in the team, you will be able to identify the additional roles/people you need in the group to deliver the activities, and explain to them exactly what their role and responsibilities are.
- Having clear roles can minimise confusion over responsibilities
- Having an understanding of their place in the group, individuals can remain motivated.
- If you need additional help or support for roles, it can be easier to identify the people who can help, and explain what help is needed.
- If someone leaves a role, hopefully, you’ll be able to recruit a replacement quickly as there is understanding of what that role entails.
- It looks professional and adds credibility to your society.
- Role descriptions can be useful to understand who has responsibility for managing risks; health and safety, reputation and organisation
How to create role descriptions?
Once you’ve all agreed on the purpose and objectives of the society for the year ahead, you can then look at the roles which may be apparent in the main components and functions of the society.
A way to do this may to have a group conversation and write down each component and function. Can they be grouped? Are there any obvious roles emerging?
The template below recommends a way in which role descriptions should be written.
Please contact email@example.com or come into the Students' Union office to speak to the Societies Team during the term time drop-in every weekday afternoon between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm.