Office of Student Life

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Student Organization Framework

Student Org Success Framework

The Student Organization Success Framework is a resource designed to help student organizations pursue excellence. The Framework identifies outcomes for member developmentorganization operations and community engagement that can be used by any organization. Student org leaders can identify where they want to grow, then use the Framework to connect with resources across campus.

Use of the Framework is highly encouraged. Organizations who choose to use the Framework may find they are better prepared to recruit and retain members, engage in collaborations, effectively transition leadership as well as be eligible to apply for Leadership Awards or other recognition opportunities.

Student Organization Success Coaches are the peer leaders who can help you navigate using the Framework and can consult with you about operating a successul organization. Connect with a Coach to create a plan for strengthening your organization.

How Does My Organization Use The Framework?

All student organizations can use the Framework to help make their group better, stronger and more successful! The Framework outlines three key areas for member development, organization operations, and community engagement. To get started, we recommend: 

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the outcomes. Each outcome contributes to the ongoing success of your student organization.
Step 2: Identify 1-3 outcomes as upcoming priorities. It's important to set reasonable goals. You can always come back to the Framework later for more ideas for improvement!
Step 3Schedule an appointment with a Student Organization Success Coach to talk through your goals and collaboratively develop an action plan to strengthen your organization.

Success Outcomes

Member Development

Leadership Capacity and Confidence   I   Social Perspective Taking   I   Wellness

Organization Operations

Purpose and Goals   I   Recruitment and Retention   I   Budgeting and Financial Management   I   Fundraising and Philanthropy   I   Programming   I   Leadership Transitions   I   Self-Governance   I   Operational Efficiency   I   Collaboration   I   Responsiveness and Innovation   I   Diversity and Inclusion   I   Risk Reduction   I   Advisor Partnerships

Community Engagement

Connection to Student Organizations   I   Affinity with the University   I   Commitment to Social Change

Member Development

Successful student organizations create opportunities for their members to learn about their own strengths and abilities, gain confidence and build a sense of community. The Member Development Outcomes include:

Leadership Capacity and Confidence 

The development of members’ self-awareness of their personal values and skills, as well as their belief that they will be successful when engaging in leadership behaviors

Outcomes in practice:

  • Leaders and members articulate their leadership strengths and areas for growth
  • Organization promotes members articulating values and skills in conversations with others
  • Leaders and members integrate strengths and weaknesses into their work in the organization
  • Organization promotes development through formal and informal recognition systems

Click here for direct resources for Leadership Capacity and Confidence.

Social Perspective Taking

The ability to take another person's point of view and/or accurately infer the thoughts and feelings of others

Outcomes in practice:

  • Leaders and members ask other one another for their point of view
  • Members and leaders actively listen and ask clarifying questions
  • Members maturely navigate interpersonal conflicts

Click here for direct resources for Social Perspective Taking.


The holistic approach to the promotion of self-care, balanced lifestyles, and member success

Outcomes in practice:

  • Leaders support holistic wellness as it relates to organization purpose
  • Organization connects with campus partners who sponsor wellness development
  • Members maintain balance between academic and co-curricular commitments

Click here for direct resources for Wellness.

Organization Operations

Successful student organizations have structures and processes to manage their overall operational effectiveness. The Organization Operations Outcomes include:

Purpose and Goals

A well-defined mission statement that clarifies the overall priorities of the organization, as well as annual goals that identify specific focus areas

Outcomes in practice:

  • Members identify with and support organization’s purpose statement
  • Organization sets at least two SMART goals annually and actively works towards reaching those goals
  • Leaders and members incorporate the purpose into member recruitment and organization programming

Click here for direct resources for Purpose and Goals.

Membership Recruitment and Retention 

The process of selecting and welcoming new members as well as retaining members for organizational growth and sustainability

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization has a recruitment plan that includes multiple approaches to reaching potential members
  • Organization participates in student involvement fairs
  • Leaders facilitate positive relationships among members
  • Organization implements and maintains a member recognition program

Click here for direct resources for Membership Recruitment and Retention.

Budgeting and Financial Management 

The ability to be financially self-supporting with a well-developed budget that reflects the current and future priorities of the organization

Outcomes in practice:

  • Leaders establish and monitor operational and programmatic budgets
  • Organization sets short- and long-term fiscal plans
  • Organization spends funds in alignment with purpose

Click here for direct resources for Budgeting and Financial Management.

Fundraising and Philanthropy 

The utilization of creative and effective practices to raise funds for the organization, as well as skills for purposeful charitable giving

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization develops a creative fundraising plan that supports programming and operational priorities
  • Members raise funds for philanthropic causes that align with the organization’s purpose
  • Organization seeks sponsorship from local businesses and external entities as needed

Click here for direct resources for Fundraising and Philanthropy.


The capacity to plan and implement successful programs based on learning outcomes for both members or external audiences

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization sets and follows a realistic planning timeline for ongoing and one-time programs
  • Organization utilizes campus resources and policies (i.e. space reservation, catering, funding sources, marketing)
  • Members are meaningfully involved in all aspects of program
  • Organization utilizes relevant assessment/evaluation practices for debrief and future program success

Click here for direct resources for Programming.

Leadership Transitions An intentional process for a seamless transfer of organization responsibilities that builds emerging leaders,  prepares incoming leaders, recognizes the work of outgoing leaders, and positions the organization for long-term success

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization implements a structured transition period that includes reflection, shadowing, future planning, budget planning, and information about key position responsibilities
  • Leaders keep and pass-on detailed records and transition documents
  • Outgoing leaders update contact information in the Student Organization Management System and organization’s bank account
  • Leaders identify emerging leaders to be tapped for future roles

Click here for direct resources for Leadership Transitions.


A leadership and membership structure that best supports the organization’s purpose and holds members accountable for actions

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization sets clear expectations for member conduct and accountability
  • Organization operational processes meet the needs of the membership
  • Leaders regularly update the constitution to reflect actual operations

Click here for direct resources for Self-Governance.

Operational Efficiency 

The procedures and processes for regular, efficient, and effective organizational function

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization has regularly scheduled general body and leadership meetings
  • Leaders maintain and share detailed records with members
  • Organization operates in compliance with university guidelines and regulations
  • Organization engages in strategic planning to improve operational efficiency

Click here for direct resources for Operational Efficiency.


The ability to work effectively with others in a common effort which maximizes shared resources for mutually beneficial outcomes

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization hosts activities to promote collaboration among organization members
  • Organization seeks meaningful collaborators that combine fiscal and human resources
  • Organization members attend and support other student organizations’ programs

Click here for direct resources for Collaboration.

Responsiveness and Innovation 

A readiness to reflect on past successes and challenges, to evolve and meet the changing needs of members and the surrounding community

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization solicits feedback from leaders and members on their experiences
  • Organization promotes a creative approach to operations and programming
  • Members are encouraged to pursue new ideas

Click here for direct resources for Responsiveness and Innovation.

Diversity and Inclusion 

A dynamic process of involving individuals from different backgrounds to create an environment where they feel a sense of belonging and support across identity and difference

Outcomes in practice:

  • Members build awareness of and articulate their own social identities
  • Members consider how identity impacts interpersonal relationships
  • Members seek out cross-cultural experiences and dialogue
  • Organization incorporates inclusive language and practices into guiding documents, operations, and programming

Click here for direct resources for Diversity and Inclusion.

Risk Reduction 

The assessment and reduction of accidental harm or loss through proactive safety measures and response plans

Outcomes in practice:

  • Leaders are familiar with and follow university policies and processes;
  • Organization examines membership process for potential hazing implications
  • Organization reports any hazing or other harmful behaviors
  • Organization develops emergency action plans for programs
  • Organization follows risk reduction recommendations including related to liability insurance, food safety, and international travel

Click here for direct resources for Risk Reduction.

Advisor Partnerships 

The collaborative process through which student organization leaders and advisor(s) work to meet the purpose and goals of the organization and larger university

Outcomes in practice:

  • Leaders meet with advisor(s) on a consistent basis; organization establishes standards of communication with advisors
  • Advisors attend organization meetings and programs
  • Organization shares successes and failures with the advisor
  • Organization balances student autonomy with advisor involvement in decision making
  • Organization actively involves advisor during leadership transitions

Click here for direct resources for Advisor Partnerships.

Community Engagement

Successful student organizations foster engagement and contribute to communities larger than themselves. The Community Engagement Outcomes include:

Connection to Student Organizations 

The dedication to one’s organization and the larger student organization community as a diverse and inclusive network where students can find their place to belong

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization promotes the variety of student organizations at Ohio State
  • Organization connects and collaborates with other organizations
  • Organization participates in larger student organization programming and trainings

Click here for direct resources for Connection to Student Organizations.

Affinity with the University 

The organization’s spirit of connection to Ohio State and commitment to a lasting relationship between the student organization, its members, and the university community

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization aligns operations and programs with Ohio State’s mission and values
  • Organization develops an organization connects with key campus stakeholders
  • Leaders sustain relationship with alumnae and maintain alumnae records
  • Organization has a presence at campus signature and traditional events

Click here for direct resources for Affinity with the University.

Commitment to Social Change

A responsible relationship with the community, built by working interdependently with others to address social issues on a local, national, and/or global scale

Outcomes in practice:

  • Organization participates in community-engaged learning
  • Organization promotes active dialogues on contemporary issues
  • Organization builds partnerships with groups working towards social change
  • Members critically reflect on the impact of organizational operations and programming on a local, national, and global scale

Click here for direct resources for Commitment to Social Change.