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Leadership Series:
Vice President of an Organization

by the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service


Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of publications from the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service. It's purpose is to help nonprofit organizations function and live up to their potential as capable and well organized groups.

-------------------------

As vice president of an organization, you are a program builder. If you do a good job building programs, you also will help the organization build success. Your influence on the program can mean the difference between a "do-nothing" and a "do-much" organization. This sounds like a big responsibility, and it is. This information sheet should help you understand your basic responsibilities and give you specific tips for handling your job.

Your Responsibilities

As vice president, you have many responsibilities and roles to fulfill. As the president's right-hand person, you need to keep in touch with the president. A good vice president is informed about club activities.

You also need to know about the president's responsibilities, because you may be called on to fill in for the president. The president probably will ask you to preside at least once a year and assume other presidential duties occasionally. If the president resigns, you succeed to that office.

In addition to learning the president's tasks, you need to think about building programs for your club. The vice president acts as program-planning chairperson. You preside over the program part of the meeting.

Program Planning Tips

Program planning is too important to your organization to be left to a one-person committee. In fact, it is so important every member of the group should be involved in planning. The programs are for the members; therefore, members should have a say about the programs they want.

A good way to get ideas from the members is to devote at least a part of one meeting to program plans. As members express their thoughts about programs, jot down their ideas in a notebook. A notebook is a handy reference as you attend county planning meetings. When your term of office is over, your successor may find your notebook helpful in planning programs for another year.

A state Program of Work Committee may have established a procedure for planning programs. As vice president, it is your job to become familiar with and follow this procedure. You need to establish a Program of Work Committee in your county if you don't have one.

Attend all of the program planning sessions in your county. Vice presidents from all the organizations in the county find these meetings helpful in learning about program planning. By sharing ideas with other vice presidents in the county, you can plan exciting programs for the clubs.

Remember to summarize and report the results of the county program-planning meeting to your organization. Explain what ideas were discussed and why certain topics were selected for programs. Your members will be interested in knowing about the county program, too.

You may get other program-planning ideas for interesting programs from people in the county who know others in the community with special skills, and you may get current information from the county Extension office.

Pointers for Program Planning

A carefully planned program can help members express their wants. During a program-planning meeting, you might:

  1. Explain you need ideas from each member, because the programs are for the members and they share the responsibility to help plan meaningful programs.
  2. Review objectives. Members should understand that programs are designed to help them answer questions and concerns about the community.
  3. Encourage each of the club's education chairpersons to think of ideas for programs in their areas.
  4. Ask what information would help each member at the present time. Keep in mind that members' needs are influenced by age, education, economic status, and family situations.
  5. Discuss trends that affect families and communities. What new ideas, products, and information are important to your members?
  6. Explore possible resources for programs and information.

This planning program will be successful only if you can get members to participate. Encourage members to talk and share ideas.

Ask members to tell what program in the past year was most meaningful to them and why.

Did it solve a problem or help them as individuals?

Did it answer family needs?

Did it provide new information, stimulate new interests, or broaden their views?

Discuss how an individual or family can adjust to changes in our society. Today's family must cope with increased mobility, changing sex roles, more education, and changing uses of time, money, and leisure.

Your Club Program

During the first meeting after the yearbooks are printed, it is your responsibility to get a person to be in charge of the program each month, or you might assign different programs to the appropriate education chairpersons. Record this information.

The persons responsible for the program should be particularly interested in the program information. They need to attend the leader training meeting and present the program at the meetings.

If a resource person is to present the program, the program leaders make the necessary arrangements with that resource person.

It is your job to check before each meeting to see that the program is ready. To keep the members looking forward to the next program, announce at each club meeting what the club program will be the following month.

Overview

Remember these essentials of program planning:

  • Supply information to your organization.
  • Challenge the group's thinking.
  • Do not be afraid of new ideas.
  • Encourage members to talk.
  • Listen to what members say.
  • Involve the education chairperson in planning the program.



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About the Author:

This document has been produced by the Extension Service of Mississippi State University in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is reprinted with permission.



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