Program of Work: The Foundation of Your Chapter

My chapter participates in a wide range of activities throughout the year—not only while school is in session, but also during the summer months. These activities include competitions, social functions, community service projects and all of DECA Inc.’s campaigns. The only way we can effectively manage so many different projects is by planning and preparing through the use of a program of work.

In late June, our chapter officers go on a two-night camping trip to bond as a team, network with other chapter officers from Wisconsin and, most importantly, develop our program of work for the upcoming year.

A template of what a program of work should look like can be found on DECA’s website ( You’ll see the “Organize” heading on the left side of the page. Click “Develop Your Program of Work” underneath this heading.

My top recommendations for creating your own program of work are as follows:

  1. Meet early in the summer when other school commitments aren’t as pressing.
  2. Have all chapter officers or leaders present when creating the program of work so that everyone shares ownership and passion for your chapter’s goals.
  3. Bring a copy of your chartered association’s campaigns or goals as well as DECA Inc.’s campaign requirements. Decide which of these you’d like your chapter to incorporate into its program of work.
  4. Be detailed! For example, if you plan on hosting an ice cream social, list all tasks involved in putting on the event. Be sure to include the small tasks, too (creating posters, printing and hanging posters, purchasing ice cream and supplies, etc.) Each task should be completed by a specified date and assigned a point person to oversee its execution. 
  5. Simply listing events or activities with the intention of planning them at a later date almost always leads to failure. Our chapter listed an event in its program of work this past year, but we didn’t take the time to pre-plan it. Guess what? It didn’t happen.
  6. The program of work should always be referred to at officer or chapter meetings and when reviewing upcoming activities.

By creating a solid outline for your program of work, you can easily tweak it from year to year to address any changes in your chapter. It’s also a great document to share with school administrators and other key people at your school and in your community to show them the sheer number of DECA activities in which your chapter participates!

If your chapter did not create a program of work for this past year, I recommend planning now how you might incorporate it for the next!

You can follow Keegan O'Brien on Twitter @AEastDECA.

Categories: Chapter Development, Chapter Resources