You want to have a plan for each year for how your group is going to achieve its mission and goals. Take time as a group to determine what you would like to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it. Then plan out each step and share the calendar with everyone in the group so that they know what the group will be doing and how they can help. Don’t wait until the semester starts to plan your year. Do this several months in advance so that you have time to prepare and hit the ground running from day one.
1. Start by requesting a Plan Your Year calendar from your Regional Coordinator (email him/her at [yourstate]@studentsforlife.org). Look up your university calendar which should have dates for the first and last day of classes each semester, dates for final exams, days off, and special university events. Mark all of these dates on your group calendar so that there won’t be any conflicts with the activities you schedule. Also look up local pro-life organizations and list their events on your calendar – you may want to attend or volunteer at these events.
2. Brainstorm event ideas and make a list of events to do during the year. Then place those events on the calendar. Plan a mix of bigger and smaller events. Start with easier events at the beginning of the year and more difficult ones towards the end. Set a goal of having an activity every other week (in addition to the weekly meetings) and doing one big event each semester. Remember to give your group time to advertise a speaking event and choose a good recruitment event for early in the semester. Use the SFLA site and our free guides for ideas and for help planning.
3. Schedule regular recruitment efforts, meetings, volunteer opportunities, and social events on your master group calendar. Remember that every event is a recruitment opportunity. Your group should also plan to have regular weekly meetings on a set day at a set time and location. If you have additional meetings write those in as well. Your group should be regularly involved in volunteering at a local pregnancy help organization or right to life organization. This can include sidewalk counseling or holding vigils at an abortion clinic. Finally, don’t forget to plan regular social events to help bond club members!
4. Discuss this calendar at your first meeting of the year. Go through the event ideas and talk about the work required for each one. Ask for comments, ideas, or suggestions from your group members. Make any changes, additions or deletions as needed and then start working to make the events you have planned happen. Assign a member to be in charge of coordinating each event or other specific tasks.
5. Refer back to this calendar throughout the year and use it to plan your budget. Plan backwards from the date that you have chosen for an event to determine when you need to make certain preparations. For example, if the university requires you to reserve space for an event a month before, mark that in the calendar so you don’t miss it.