Student Unions & Activities : University of Minnesota

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Before you start working on your event’s coordination and logistics…you should answer “yes” to these questions.

Event Planning Resources include:

Helpful tools and information:

Develop a projected budget for your event

Your event budget should include both expenses and income. Don’t forget your event partners and keeping track of the event’s overall budget plus each partnering group’s contribution. Make sure all event partners are working off of the same budget information to minimize miscommunication and accidental assumptions.

Throughout the event-planning process, you’ll need to monitor and track your expenses and income.

Think through your funding sources and opportunities

There are different funding sources available to your group but not all “money” can be spent in the same way. For example, not all grant funding can go towards your group’s operational expenses so you may need to look at using membership dues, event ticket sales or fundraising income to cover some of your expenses.

Grant Funding

Student Unions and Activities offers grant funding for events that your group hosts both on-campus and off-campus, as well as for travel to conferences/competitions. SUA grant funding allocated for on-campus events requires that admission is open to all University of Minnesota students. These events should be offered for free or low cost to attendees.

Planning ahead and completing the grant application process early can allow your group greater access to available event funds. If you are awarded grant funding by the committee, an early application means your group will receive awarded funds sooner, which makes event planning and payment of event costs easier to manage. Historically grant initiatives are fully awarded prior to the end of the academic year, so applying as early as possible gives your group the best possible chance to receive funding before it runs out.

Consider collaborating with other student groups to plan an event! Partnerships not only allow your group to put on larger-scale events and share the planning responsibility with others, but can also make your group eligible for larger amounts of grant funding. In order for your application to be eligible for partnership awards, be sure to include all partnering groups as “applicants” when you fill out the online application form.

Student Activities Advisors are happy to meet with your group to review draft language for a potential application and provide feedback before it’s submitted for committee review. If you have any questions about the grants application process feel free to email the Grants Assistant or visit the Student Groups Grants website.

Minnesota Student Association (MSA) offers grant funding for two types of grants for registered student groups - to assist with operational expenses or to hold events. For more information and to apply, visit the MSA Grants website.

Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) offers several different types of grants to support the academic, professional and social development of its members. For more information and to apply, visit the GAPSA Grants website.


Fundraising is one of the best and most proactive ways to make your group self-sufficient, finance your group’s activities and gain valuable experience for the participating members. All student group fundraising activities must follow University policies and procedures, as well as local, state, and federal laws. When planning a fundraiser, keep the following in mind:

  • Reserved spaces and contact tables must display the name of the student group and be staffed at all times by the members of the student group which have reserved space for the fundraiser or sale.
  • The name of the sponsoring student group must be prominently displayed in all advertising and other communications connected with the fundraising or sales effort, including at the event site itself.
  • Sales of goods and/or fundraising activities are allowed by registered student groups with an approved sales/fundraising permit from Student Activities.
  • Registered student groups should be aware of policies pertaining to Use of the University of Minnesota Name, Marks and Logos for CLPs and RSOs for use on any merchandise.

Working with Performers

Content forthcoming
Entertainment – recommend talent, negotiate, and contract with providers.

Please see Event Planning Timeline for additional logistical information regarding poster sessions and exhibits, as well as events with presenters, performers or vendors.

"People" and "Time"

All events, regardless of size, need to have dedicated individuals who will participate in planning for the event, serving as event and logistical coordinators, assist with promotions and publicity, assist in picking up supplies and other driving needs, organize event materials, and handle food or catering. There also needs to be a “day-of” team of volunteers who help with set-up and tear-down/clean up, serve as door greeters or staff check-in tables, and assist throughout the event itself so everything runs smoothly.

Depending on how large an event’s supporting team of people is, for both the event planning process and the day-of event management, the timeline needed for successful event planning will be affected.

Things to consider when determining your event date:

  • How is your event being funded? If you need to secure funding through donations, fundraising, grants or partnerships – what is your estimated timeline for securing that funding?
  • When will you actually receive the money and when will you need to pay your bills?
  • Once your group has determined its event and logistical coordination team, how much time do they realistically need in order to successfully plan for your event? See Planning an Event – Timeline for more information.
  • Once you’ve mapped the funding timeline and event planning timeline, what is your venue availability?
  • Between enough time to plan, knowing that you can pay for the event, determining venue or event space availability, you should have an idea of your “final” event date. Do you have enough time to properly promote your event? Is the event date a good time for your intended audience to come?