Planning an event for your RSO can be an exciting and rewarding process, but also stressful and challenging if you aren't sure what to do. This page was setup to guide RSOs through some basic event planning steps. We can't list everything that could possibly be needed for your event, but this is a good place to start from. Additionally, check out our Upcoming Events page for RSO workshops that may be helpful!
Step 1: Come Up with an Idea
Your RSO may have annual events that are hosted, or want to develop something new. Either way, discuss your ideas as an organization. Things to consider and discuss:
- Does everyone like the idea?
- Can you fund it if there are costs?
- Can you partner or collaborate with other RSOs?
- Who is your audience? Students, faculty, staff and/or the public?
Your idea should be something that the organization as a whole supports - not something that just one person really wants to do. Remember that the event is a reflection of your RSO!
Step 2: Choose Your Event Date & Location
The event date and location can be critical to the success of your event. Do you have it on a weekday or weekend? Lunch hour or night? On-campus or off-campus? All of these are important to consider.
When selecting your event date, we encourage you to check for other events occurring. Some places to look for events are DawgDen, our Upcoming Events calendar, the University calendar and any RSO social media pages. Choose a date where there are no (or minimal) conflicts!
When selecting your location, consider what will help to get you the best event possible. If you want an on-campus space, is the space available? Which space will best suit your needs - a conference room? Classroom? Indoor event space? Outdoor space? All of these are options. If you want to go off-campus, can people get to your location easily? What is the cost associated with the venue? Reserve your location as soon as possible!
Step 3: Review Event Policies
If you are hosting your event on-campus, there are a variety of event policies that must be followed. Check out the campus event policies website, as well as the RSO resources and policies page. These both will have critical information that you will need to be aware of and ensure that your event follows. Our office can always assist with answering questions.
If you are using an off-campus venue, be sure to ask about any contracts and policies that you need to be aware of. Many venues will have location-specific policies that you must abide by - and a contract that you sign. Some venues will even require event insurance, which your organization would need to purchase.
Step 4: Determine Your Event Needs
What kinds of support and needs will your event have? Will you need tables, chais, a stage? Will you need special equipment (lighting, audio/visual) or approvals for fundraising, serving food, serving alcohol, etc.? If you are hosting on-campus much of this can be listed and requested on your space reservation, but some things you may be responsible for getting on your own. If you are hosting off-campus, be sure to ask your venue about any support and/or equipment they will be provide.
Step 5: Review Your Event Budget
Event costs can start to add up quickly! Be sure to accurately track your event and it's expected costs. Don't assume there isn't a cost just because it wasn't mentioned or discussed. Ask! You don't want to be surprised by any any unexpected costs that you are required to pay. We have several funding options for RSOs that you can consider. These include the RSO operations fund, the RSO UWAA support fund and the campus event fund. Remember that these have to be applied for - and some may take several weeks to be decided on. Plan your time accordingly!
RSOs are also encouraged to seek sponsorship and donations for their events. You are welcome to obtain sponsorship from on-campus departments or off-campus organizations from the community. How you recognize these sponsors is up to your organization.
Step 6: Advertise Your Event
One you have everything confirmed - and we strongly recommend that you don't advertise until your date, time and location are solidified - you should start to advertise! There are several ways we recommend for you to advertise:
- Create an event on DawgDen
- Submit an Advertising Request with our office. On this one request, you can promote on the:
- Husky411 weekly email (goes to all students!)
- Campus TV screens
- University online calendar
- Our office's social media platforms
- Post flyers on campus - follow the posting policies!
- Post on your RSO's social media platform
- Make a reservation for a table on campus
Step 7: Make a Plan for the Event
Make a plan for your event - who will work what stations, what time to be there, what items should be packed to go, everything! Double-check that you have completed all appropriate forms for your event (Did you submit your Event Management Safety Agreement? Or your fundraising request form?) and have reviewed event policies. You can always reach out to our office to make sure you aren't forgetting anything!
Step 8: Host the Event!
It's time to host your event! Make sure your volunteers/members show up on time. Assign roles and responsibilities to people for the event. Be sure everything is setup and ready to go. Show up a little early to your reservation - you don't want to waste any of the time you have reserved! Have fun and enjoy yourself!