Run your chorus

Running a chorus demands time, experience and willingness to make things happen. To run a successful chorus, here are the different areas that you must carefully consider.

Select the right governance

Having a governance structure that is appropriate for your chorus is a fundamental element of running a successful chorus. This is usually the first attribute that you decide when starting a new chorus as this will govern how decisions are made. Within the statutes of Sweet Adelines International, there are two approved forms of governance: a Board of Directors or a Management Team. Your selection of a governance structure depends on the leadership style of your Music Director and chorus members. Before making the choice, it is strongly suggested that your chorus holds a special meeting to discuss and agree on core values and goals.

Board of Directors Management Team
Number of members Six to 12 Five to eight
Method of selection Election Election or appointment
Term of office Two years One or two years
Chorus Director involvement May participate in discussion but not a voting member Team member
Required positions President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer Team Coordinator, Secretary, Finance Manager, Music Director
Selecting officers Board vote Specified in the Standing Rules
Committee required Membership, Nominating, Bylaws and Rules Nominating plus other specified in the Standing Rules
Meeting schedule At least monthly, specified in the Standing Rules Specified in the Standing Rules
Decision making Motion and vote Discussion and consensus
Responsibilities Manages chorus funds, plans for goal achievement, organises and evaluates, ensures open communication Manages chorus funds, plans for goal achievement, organises and evaluates, ensures open communication

Over time, your chorus dynamics may change and decide to amend your governance structure. This is allowed within Sweet Adelines International but can only made during the rechartering process.

The members-only section of the Sweet Adelines International website provides a detailed chapter guide, which covers chapter organisation, nominations and elections, standing rules plus tips for chapter leaders. You will need your Sweet Adelines member number to access these documents.

Set your goals

Goals are standards of achievement – they give purpose to plans and motivates actions. The art and practice of goal setting allows your chorus and its members to gauge the direction where you wish to go and what you want to do.

To significantly increase the chances for successful outcomes, your chorus’ goals must be SMART:

Specific – goals should pinpoint to specific things
Measurable – you should be able to know when you have achieved your goal
Action-oriented – you should be able to break down goals into tasks
Realistic – your goals should be attainable
Time-bound – you should set timelines and deadlines and stick to them

Examples of SMART goals are:

  • Increase membership by 25% within the next three years
  • Purchase new risers during the next fiscal year
  • Raise funds to cover 100% of costs (chorus and members) for retreat

Goal setting should be an on-going process. It should be part of your annual chapter calendar and you should include time to evaluate current goals, then adjust, change or add new ones as needed.

Keeping record

It is important that each member of your chorus’ leadership team (whether Board of Directors or Management Team) keep copies of important and relevant records and documents pertaining the affairs of your chorus relative to their roles. This allows future members to understand the rationale behind every decision in order to carry on the actions.

Each chorus shall determine which records to be retained. To help you decide, use the following criteria:

  • Retain records indefinitely if they pertain to historical or legal documentation
  • Retain records indefinitely if they document an activity, measure its accomplishment, and could materially aid a successor in these areas – performing duties, making decisions and arriving at timely and accurate solutions to problems

It would help even more if you are able to store these records electronically in a centralised and secure area to ensure that there’s one ‘true’ copy of each to avoid any discrepancies.

We recommend that you should keep the following records:

Standard Form Chapter Bylaws*
Policy Book*
Chapter Guide*
Standing Rules
Chorus member directories
Minutes of all meetings
Copy of all legal contracts
List of contacts at International Headquarters* and Regional Management Team
All tax and financial records

* available online from the Sweet Adelines International website