Program Planning: What it Is and What it Isn’t
Program planning is integral to your honor society’s/chapter’s success. It is what will keep your members engaged and coming back for more. Programming provides value as membership dollars are used to create a member benefit. A variety of topics should be offered including nursing, leadership, research and service. Periodically, ask the membership what kinds of programs would be most helpful to them. Ask your members often as needs and expectations change at the various stages of members’ careers.
Chapter programming can be narrowly defined as educational opportunities provided to members. Programs can be developed to build knowledge, provide community service opportunities, and create social and professional networking connections.
Honor societies and chapters cannot survive with just one narrow focus. Programming needs to be inclusive of many topics and meet many members’ expectations and needs. In the past, honor societies and chapters have planned programs and events from a mostly academic perspective. Keep in mind, many new honor societies may mainly have student members. As the chapter develops, a majority of your members may be mainly new clinicians entering the workforce.
Programming will need to meet the interests, needs and expectations of all of your members.
Take a look at your membership demographics. Do you know who they are, where they are in their careers, where they work and what their interests are? You can also review and use the chapter programming guidelines and topic ideas posted on the STTI website.
The following is a list of activities/events submitted on applications that reviewers did not define as chapter programming. (Many of these ideas are good ideas to implement but should not be considered chapter programming.)
NOT Honor Society/Chapter Programming:
- A member of your honor society presenting at a nursing conference
(Remember, with honor society and chapter programming, your primary audience should be your honor society/chapter members.)
- Your honor society financially co-sponsoring an event
(For an event to be an honor society/chapter event, the honor society/chapter should have a key role in the content and logistics planning as well as the financial support of the event.)
- Setting up an honor society/chapter informational booth in the student union
(Although this is a great marketing activity to make students aware of your honor society/chapter and to bolster member recruitment, it is not programming.)
- Including your honor society’s/chapter’s name on the School of Nursing’s Research Day fliers
(Although we fully encourage collaboration with other groups when it comes to programming, reviewers will want to see that your honor society/chapter will be able plan and implement stand-alone events as well.)
If you have questions regarding what types of events qualify as honor society/chapter programming, please e-mail a chapter specialist at STTI headquarters.