Clubs and Societies

Governance, Constitutions & Meetings

Governance, Constitutions & Meetings

Governance is all about how an organization is managed. It includes the strategies, systems, processes, and controls that help a group make decisions and ensure they are carried out effectively.

Governance vs. Management 

Governance is about your committee's leadership role – setting the direction, making decisions, and shaping the big picture. Management, on the other hand, is about carrying out those decisions in day-to-day club operations.

The governing committee members oversee and guide, rather than doing daily tasks. Sometimes, things can get a bit tricky when roles become blurred or overlap. It's not uncommon for individuals within our clubs and societies to be involved in both leading and running the group. For example, you might hold the position of vice president in your group while also taking on the role of head coach.

Understanding the difference helps maintain a good balance between leadership and operations for a smoothly run and successful club.So, whether you find yourself wearing multiple hats or focusing on specific roles, finding a good balance is important to make sure your club operates smoothly and successfully.

When it comes to running a club smoothly, there are a few key ingredients:

  • Dedicated committee members with a diverse range of skills.
  • A practical constitution that guides the club's operations.
  • An effective leader and chairperson to steer the club in the right direction.
  • In large clubs, having sub-committees or specialized roles for tasks like sponsorship and recruiting volunteers to lighten the workload.
  • A strong vision that sets the club's direction and goals.
  • A keen understanding of what club members want and the creation of safe and inclusive environments for all.

By having a clear vision, understanding your members' needs, and fostering safe and inclusive environments, you'll create a vibrant and welcoming club atmosphere.



A club's constitution acts as a "rule book" that guides how your club operates. It outlines the procedures for decision-making, ensuring efficiency, transparency, and accountability to your members. Some processes are required by OUSA or New Zealand law, while others are determined by your club's preferences.


All clubs and societies must have a basic structure and methods of operation in writing uploaded in the Clubs Portal

Using your Constitution 

Take the time to familiarize yourself with your constitution. Read it carefully, and encourage other committee members to do the same. If there are any parts that are unclear, discuss them with your fellow officers. It's highly recommended to have a copy of the constitution on hand during meetings as a reference document.

Amending your Constitution 

Your constitution should evolve with your club's needs and remain relevant. If certain provisions no longer suit your club, it's important to make amendments. The best time to do this is during your Annual General Meeting (AGM), as outlined in the AGM template. However, if waiting for the AGM isn't feasible, you can consider holding a Special General Meeting (SGM).

To initiate the amendment process, refer to your current constitution for guidelines on special general meetings and constitutional amendments. It's crucial to follow the prescribed procedures to ensure the validity of any changes. Allow ample time for discussion on the proposed changes and establish a fair voting process. For sensitive topics, a secret ballot can provide a helpful way for individuals to express their opinions without feeling pressured.

Once any amendendments are made, the new draft must be sent to the CDO for review. The document is then ratified by Executive.

Remember, your club's constitution should be a living document that reflects the needs and aspirations of your club. By reviewing and amending it as necessary, you can ensure that your club operates smoothly and remains aligned with its goals and values.



Meetings are where the magic happens! They're all about getting together, sharing info, making decisions, solving problems, and building connections. Running efficient and productive meetings is important as it allows you to minimize the number of meetings needed and the time spent in each one, freeing up more time for the fun stuff. Curious about the fancy words and phrases used in meetings? Not sure how to "move a motion" or what it all means? Don't worry, click here to find out more.

There are a bunch of different types of meetings. We have listed the key types below:

This is your club's very first meeting. Keep it simple and straightforward. Introduce your club's mission, goals, and constitution to the members. Also, elect your new executive positions and discuss any exciting activities or projects you have in mind. It's all about getting everyone on board and excited!

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.

  • Special General Meeting (SGM)

When urgent matters arise and can't wait until the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the club president can call for an SGM. This meeting allows you to address pressing issues, such as making changes to the club's constitution or electing new executive officers.

The highlight of the year! All club members come together for this annual gathering. The AGM features the president's annual report, the treasurer's financial report, and the election of new executive positions for the upcoming year. It's also an opportunity to discuss any potential changes to the club's constitution. These minutes are required for re-affiliation!

We understand that some clubs may encounter issues with their quorum. It can be frustrating when you want to make changes but can't gather enough members for a quorum. If you find yourself in this situation, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We can help by requesting a special dispensation from the OUSA executive, provided there's a reasonable justification.


To find out more about different committee roles click here!