Whether you’re new to working with student organizations on campus or you’re a seasoned professional, there’s always work to be done to increase the reach your organization. New organizations face unique challenges when it comes to establishing themselves on campus while established organizations can often use the reset button to extend their voice. The following are a few tips we’ve come up with to get your group on the right track and brand your student organization.
Create a true-to-mission logo that makes your organization stand out.
One of the most important factors needed to brand your student organization is having a logo that serves your organization and constituents well. Think your organization may be struggling in this area? Here are a few paths you can take:
What does your mission say? What are the goals of the organization? How can you reach groups of students on campus who have traditionally been marginalized and make their campus experience better? These are questions to ask yourself when deciding what you want your logo to do for you.
Do some research on what other student organizations are doing with their branding.
A simple Google search will yield some examples.
Make sure to follow your institution’s branding guide.
This includes color schemes, fonts, and ways in which logos are used on campus.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little money on a logo.
Think of it as an investment. There may be costs up front, but in the long-term, your organization will have the opportunity to thrive.
Attend other student organization meetings and events.
This creates a sense of awareness of who your members are and, by extension, what your organization is all about. I don’t mean crash other events and make it all about you. That can often ruin relationships and send a mixed message to the student body in attendance. What you want to do is give your members a chance to mingle with the members of other orgs. Network. Connect. Let them brainstorm together. Give them a platform to collaborate. (A little more on that later.)
Students who are at these events will be able to recognize your members outside of the event and create a face-to-face relationship. Furthermore, supporting other student organizations is crucial to extending a sense of belonging for all students, especially those who aren’t typically included.
Create a position in your organization that is solely dedicated to social media.
Think of it this way: if it’s a create-content-by-committee way of thinking, there are several voices that are creating content. When there’s only one dedicated person in charge of all social media, the organization has a better shot at having a clear and consistent voice. There aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak.
Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite will allow your organization to have a process with which updating your accounts can occur. It streamlines the process so that your message is clear and you’re not spending too much time trying to organize your content.
Talk about your organization often.
This seems like a small act, but you would be surprised at how much word-of-mouth communication can impact the overall success of an organization. Again, don’t just make it about you and your organization all the time. It creates a negative association with your organization and that’s not what you want. What you can do is talk about how your organization impacts the bigger picture: the campus you’re on, the community, and those who live on/in both.
Co-sponsor and collaborate with other organizations.
In my experience, all events benefit from collaboration with other organizations or groups. Budgets can often be tight, especially for smaller organizations or smaller institutions. Pooling resources can help multiple organizations reach their goals and create spaces on campus that are welcoming and inclusive.
Another thing to note is that there are community organizations that also want to collaborate. Build relationships when you can. Not only does fostering great relationships with the community create better opportunities for success within your student organization, but it also builds a link for your members to have opportunities after graduation. Internships and jobs can come from collaborations. This furthers your organization’s credibility and presence on campus in a natural and beneficial way.