Leading Virtual Organizations

As William & Mary has moved to online instruction for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, all in person activities and events have been cancelled.  Student organizations may continue to meet and engage in activities virtually.  As President Katherine Rowe stated, "We are in wholly new territory and will learn as we go, together." Here are some resources to help us learn, together, what it means to lead organizations virtually and online.

Student Leadership Development is here to support you as we all navigate this transition!  Staff members are available to meet with you (virtually) to answer questions, brainstorm ideas, navigate challenges, etc.  Just send an email to leadership@wm.edu with the name of your organization, a brief description of what you'd like to discuss and someone from our team will be in touch to set up a meeting. 

We will continue to add to this page throughout the remainder of the semester.  If you have any questions or suggestions of content we should address or share with other organization leaders, please send us an email at leadership@wm.edu.  

information about supporting virtual organization operations
Staying Connected with One Another
Organization Communications

With so many communication platforms available to you, we recommend committing to one or two essential platforms to streamline your communications.  For example, if you are going to hold meetings, don't switch back and forth between Zoom and Google Hangouts, someone might miss a meeting because they are on the wrong platform! 

Meetings and Organization Business
  • Meetings - a great resource for holding meetings is Zoom.  This is a free service available to all students at William & Mary.
  • Develop a gameplan for figuring out what organization business you will address for the rest of the semester.  In addition to a timeline of meetings, votes, deadlines, etc. we recommend making a priority list of tasks/business
    • Essential - This is business that must be completed before the end of the semester so that operations can continue in the fall.  Examples include, approving a budget, electing new officers, transitioning new leadership, voting in any changes to the governing documents, etc.
    • Identify other tasks/projects that it would be good to attend to now, but might not be essential (like those listed above).  This can include some of those "lower priority tasks" that you've wanted to accomplish, but never got around to. 
  • Essential Tasks/Business
    • Voting and Elections - Organizations can vote and hold leadership elections using the Elections feature in TribeLink
    • Leadership Transition - Review this "Leadership Transition" guide and think about how you might complete these tasks virtually.  There are tasks for both incoming and outgoing officers.
  • Important Projects/Tasks
    • Governing and Operational Documents - This could be a good opportunity to review governing documents or internal operational guides
    • Update the organization's website/TribeLink page/Facebook page or other online presence - prospective students will be checking these out
    • Uploading and Organizing Files - There are always a ton of files that organization leaders need, but can never find.....use this time to upload and organize all of these files in a shared location, like the organization's TribeLink Documents section
    • Create a master timeline of events/projects/deadlines/etc. for the organization.  This will help with the planning of events in the future
    • Update the organization's Roster in TribeLink
    • Manage the subscribers on the organization's listserv, remove any people who should not be on there
Events

While in person/face-to-face meetings, events, and activities have been cancelled, you can still host these virtually! 

You can still list your virtual events on TribeLink.  Instead of identifying a physical location, you can provide a weblink and information about how to access the event online. 

End of the Year Tasks
  • Annual Renewal will be coming soon!  Make sure that  the person who will be serving as Primary Contact next year completes this by the June 1st deadline. 
  • After you've elected new leadership for the organization, make sure you update positions in TribeLink to reflect the elections results.
  •  Make sure you still conduct a leadership transition process, so that the new leaders feel confident and prepared to lead the organization.
  • Do some reflection on this year, what were some successes and some challenges and what did you learn from both of those?
  • Make plans for next semester and map out timelines and tasks that can be completed before returning to campus
Zoom Tips for Student Organizations

Information Technology has provided a lot of great resources and information about using Zoom, we recommend you check out their website.  Here are some additional tips we have for Student Organizations using Zoom to conduct business and connect with members. 

Zoom Tips for Student Organizations
Managing Participants (including Security)
  • The easiest setting to use if you are worried about interlopers to your meeting is to set and require a meeting password.  This password can be changed each time or you can repeat it for multiple meetings, just know that reusing the same password may make your meeting/event easier to hack.  Don't share the password with the public (like on a Facebook or TribeLink event)
  • It's also recommended that you generate a new Zoom meeting ID for each meeting/event; this ensures that if your ID gets comprised, you will not have to change every meeting. 
  • Think about the type of meeting/event you are holding an how you want your participants to show up:
    • Do you want everyone on video?  If it's a large meeting, it's sometimes easier for video to be off as to not distract other participants, they can focus on the primary speaker.
    • Do you wan to mute participants upon arrival?  This can be a good option if people will be arriving at various times, so that no one arrives and disrupts the meeting/event.
    • You can enable participants' ability to unmute themselves OR you can have full control of when people can speak.
Participant Engagement Tools
  • Reactions -Thumbs up, thumbs down, and hand raising are great tools for a large meeting/event where people are muted
    • These can be accessed from the control bar or the Participants icon
  • Chat Feature - if you want people to submit questions or "sign up" to speak using this feature, explain that process to them.  It's also recommended that you designate another leader/officer to monitor and moderate the Chat box. 
  • Gallery View v. Speaker View
    • If you are giving a lecture/one-directional communication, or only a few people are talking, speaker view is the way to go
    • If you want to see everyone on the meeting/event, try gallery view to feel like you can see everyone!
Recording the Meeting/Event
  • Make sure you let your participants know that it's being recorded. 
  • You can set a meeting to record in your settings, which means it will start recording automatically, OR you can start recording in the meeting
  • Recordings can be saved to either the cloud or your hard drive; recordings of some meetings can be really big, so the recommended option is the cloud in this case
Using the Waiting Room
  • This feature can be used to ensure that people don't enter the meeting during someone's presentation or if you have multiple presenters, you have the ability to admit them to the meeting during their "turn"
  • This is turned on in the Advanced Settings when you set up your Zoom
Using Breakout Rooms
  • This is useful too for a large meeting or for small group work, like committee meetings/connection time
  • You can randomly assign participants to breakout rooms or you can manually assign them.
  • The meeting host can visit each room to check on progress.
  • Participants can then rejoin the large group on their own.