Giving Your Council Structure: A Model for Monthly Event Planning
Do you ever feel that your council’s event structure is unbalanced? Are there times when you seem to have too many things going on and other times when you feel your council’s calendar is empty? One way to help maintain balance within the council is by following our structure of two meetings and three events per month. This model calls for a general council meeting, an officers meeting, and three events – one event each for fraternal/social, faith-based, and service. Of course, you can and are encouraged to do more, but as a baseline, this structure should be the minimum activity your council does each month.
General Council Meeting
This meeting invites all members of the council to get together and discuss council business, appropriate funds, and plans for the council’s activities. This meeting should be held at a regular time and place (for example, the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.) so that council members can plan for it. Additionally, this meeting should be kept to 30-45 minutes at most and should be followed by some sort of social or faith-based activity such as a council meal, rosary, or Mass. Based on activity level, some councils may wish to have these meetings more frequently; however, most councils should only need one meeting a month.
This meeting should gather all officers to plan and prepare for the monthly general council meeting. It should have a more relaxed atmosphere as it’s also a time to build fraternity among the officer corps. Each officer should give a report of his activities and projects and an agenda should be prepared for the general council meeting. This meeting can take place over a meal and should be complete in an hour most times. Although all officers should be expected to attend, any council member wishing to get more involved in the work of the council should be invited. This is especially true of underclassmen who may have joined and show promise as future leaders of the council. Getting these individuals involved early helps to ensure they are trained and practiced in handling council affairs.
To give an example of how the officers meeting relates to the general council meeting, consider the scenario in which the council wants to give a donation to a pro-life charity. At the officers meeting, the officers would discuss how much money the council has in its budget and recalls how much may have been given in previous years. Then they can look at the other pro-life work the council hopes to do and come up with a suggested donation amount. At the general meeting, the officers can present their suggestion and their reasons for the proposed amount. Then the council members can ask questions or bring up other points for discussion before the council votes on the measure. Holding successful officers meetings helps the general council meeting run more smoothly and finish in a timely manner.
Three Events – Fraternal, Faith, and Service
Each month, the council should commit to holding at least one fraternal, one faith, and one service event for the council. These events can be either large events that take a lot of planning or simpler events where members just show up. Some of these events may become popular and turn into bimonthly or even weekly events, while others may take place once a semester or once a year.We highlight some ideas that fall into each of these categories below:
It’s important that each council sets aside time to have social events that help build fraternity and community within the council. These events can be as simple as gathering for a meal at the dining hall or sitting together at a campus sporting event. More elaborate events include a weekend hiking/camping expedition, a trip to the movies, or a visit to another college council near you.
As men of faith who constantly strive to grow deeper in our relationship with God, college Knights should promote faith-based events as part of their council activities. Some simple faith events include gathering for daily Mass as a council or sponsoring a weekly or daily rosary on campus. Ideas for larger events include organizing a campus-wide Eucharistic procession, running a council retreat, or planning a pilgrimage to a nearby shrine.
When we talk about community service, most of us think of large-scale fundraisers or work with big-name organizations like Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity. While the Knights of Columbus has a long history partnering with these groups, it’s important for your council to develop relationships with local charities and individuals who need your assistance. For example, establishing a relationship with a local food pantry or nursing home that your council visits on a weekly basis can be just as powerful as the one or two large fundraisers you organize each year. Service events can also involve partnering with other service-oriented campus groups and providing manpower to their events. Also, do not forget to work with your chaplain and find out his needs. There may be work at your campus ministry or Newman Center such as painting rooms, raking leaves, or decorating the Church for liturgical seasons.
By adapting a model of two meetings and (at least) three events a month, your council positions itself for success and sustainability. By remaining active and having a diverse programming regimen, you will continue to attract other men to your council and make a difference on campus and in your community.