Student Organization Officers Guide

Goal Setting


All student organizations can benefit from articulating clear goals for the coming year or semester. Goals can help focus the organization’s activities, inform decisions, and motivate members and officers.

Student organization goals often address organizational improvement, member outcomes, and organizational events and activities.

    • Increase number or diversity of members
    • Develop effective officer transition procedures
    • Increase organization visibility on campus
    • Provide members with unique experiences
    • Host more or better events



When defining organization goals, consider using the SMART Goals criteria:

Specific – Clearly describe the action that will be taken or what will be accomplished.
Measurable – How will you determine that the goal is accomplished?
Achievable – Is this goal realistic?
Relevant – Is this goal appropriate for the organization and in alignment with your mission?
Time-Bound – What is the time frame for accomplishing this goal?


Goal-Setting Activity

All members of the organization should have input regarding the organization’s goals. Consider the following activity to generate ideas for goals and narrow the list down to the most important and popular goals.

    • Introduce the Activity – Review the organization’s purpose and mission, as well as any recent challenges or general areas for improvement. Convey that the the goal of this activity is to help the organization set goals for the coming year/semester.
    • Goal Groups – Organize the members into small groups. Each group will discuss potential goals among themselves. After approximately 10 minutes, each group will use large-format paper or a dry erase board to write down 3-5 goals to share with the larger group.
    • Presentations – Each group will present their goals. If two groups have the same goal, one should cross that goal off their list.
    • Prioritizing – Using stickers or markers, members should “vote” for their favorite goals. Members should either be instructed to vote for their top three or four goals or given a certain number of stickers that they can assign to any combination of goals (i.e. - they can use all their “votes” for one goal or spread them out among multiple goals).

Reviewing – Review the results of the previous activity, noting the most popular proposed goals. These should be written as SMART goals and voted on at an upcoming meeting.


Goal Planning

Articulating goals is important, but it is more important to follow-through on them. Use the Goal Planning Worksheet to guide your planning process.