Clubs and Societies

Governance | Leading Your Club

Governance | Leading Your Club

Governance is how an organisation is run.  It covers all the stratigies, systems, processes and controls that enable a group to decide what it will do and to make sure it happens.  

Good Functioning Clubs Have:
  • A dedicated governing committee (with a good mix of skills)
  • A constitution that has practical application
  • Internal policy that is fit for purpose
  • An effective leader and chairperson
  • Sub-committees/roles for specialist tasks e.g. sponsorship, helping hands (volunteers to share the load)
  • A strong vision for where they want to go
  • A sense of what their members want and safe and inclusive environments 
Governance verses Management 

In basic terms, governance (your committee) is the role of leading an organisation providing direction, leadership, and making decisions. Management take lead from their governors to implement the decisions they have made aka managing the day-to-day operations*. The governing body’s role is to oversee management, not to manage it. This can be tricky particularly when roles are blurred or overlap. It’s not uncommon within our clubs and societies for the same people to be involved in both leading and running the group. For example, you may be the vice president of your group but also the head coach or you could be the treasurer but also the team manager.

A helpful workshop Dunedin Community Accounting Students presented to our Clubs on Club Governance can be viewed here

A helpful workshop Dunedin Community Accounting Students presented to our Clubs on Club Financial Planning can be viewed here

Your Committee

OUSA affiliated Clubs and Societies must have a minimum of three officers (roles) on their committee, these are:

  • President - who is in charge of leading your committee and representing the organisation
  • Treasurer - who is in charge of keeping the organisation's finances healthy
  • Secretary - who is in charge of administration

Your club can have additional officers, which can include the following:

All officers within your committee have a general duty to act in good faith and in the group’s best interest as well as take reasonable care to exercise their duties. Officers will then have specialised functions, duties and powers as set out in your club’s constitution. Click on the position title above to download specific job description examples, these are samples only.



Meetings are essential for discussions, sharing information, making decisions, solving problems and developing relationships. It is important to run meetings that are efficient and productive so you can reduce the amount you require and the time in each (freeing up time to do the actual activities you love). Need a reminder on meeting jargon? have a look here

There are a bunch of different types of meetings. We have listed the key types our clubs and societies use below:

Inaugural General Meeting (IGM)

The Inaugural General Meeting is a clubs first meeting. The goal of the first meeting should be simple and straightforward: Introduce students to your club mission and goals, introduce the members to the clubs constitution and vote in your clubs new executive positions. The club may also want to discuss some activities or projects which the club would like to do or inform their members of any relevant information. IGM template

General/Regular Meeting 

A regular meeting is a meeting held by the club executive, and is generally is held weekly, fortnightly or monthly to track business, and plan forward. For clubs this could be to evaluate an event, plan for clubs day or another event, plan for new club equipment or plan for grants etc. GM Template

Special General Meeting (SGM)

The special general meeting is a meeting that the club president can call at any time throughout the year to address any urgent matter if it cannot wait until the AGM. Urgent matters could include changing the clubs constitution or electing a new executive officer.

Annual General Meeting (AGM) 

An annual general meeting is a meeting held annually for all club members to attend. At the AGM the key items on the agenda will be the president’s annual report, the treasurer’s annual financial report both of which will be presented to the club, the club will elect their new executive positions for the following year, and the possibility of changing the club's constitution. AGM template

Moving a Motion

Wondering what all these fancy words are about? Not sure how to move a motion? or what this means? Click here to find out.


A club’s constitution is a “rule book” by which your club operates. It sets out how you are run, how decisions are made and the procedures you will follow to ensure you are efficient, transparent and accountable to your members. Some of these processes are required by OUSA or NZ law whilst others are at the discretion of your club. OUSA Club Constitution Template

Using your Constitution 

Get to know your constitution! Read it carefully and make sure others on your committee do the same. Highlight anything that doesn’t make sense and bring it up with your fellow officers. If there is still confusion come in and see us. We highly recommend having a constitution on hand at all meetings as a reference document.

Amending your Constitution 

Your constitution should be a working document, relevant and specific to your club. If the provisions of your constitution don’t suit your club anymore amend, amend, amend. The best time to do this is your AGM (see AGM template) although if you really can’t wait you could hold a Special General Meeting. To kick things off refer to your current constitution around guidelines for special general meetings and constitutional amendments. If you breach your changes may be considered invalid. Make sure you allow for people to discuss the change and have a fair process lined up to vote. A secret ballot can be helpful for sensitive topics so people don’t feel pressured to vote a particular way.

Any questions? Contact the Clubs Development Officer Kathryn Corry for guideance.  

Some clubs have found their quorum is not working. They want to change it but can’t make a quorum to do so! (what a rut). If this sounds familiar come and see us. We can ask the OUSA executive to make a special dispensation given reasonable justification.