Skip to main content

Steps to Successful Program Planning


With your organization, brainstorm a list of programs you would like to provide for the campus community. Make sure to ask other students outside of your organization what they would like to see or experience.

Develop Program Goals

Who is your target audience, what are your goals, what are your objectives, etc.? 

Delegate Responsibilities

Involve the members of the organization in the various tasks needed to make sure the program is successful. Depending upon the size of the event, you may need committees or just committed individuals. Make sure new volunteers understand what they’re signing on for, and use people’s talents and interests to your group’s benefit.

Establish a Budget

Determining your budget will help you decide if you need to seek additional funding, or if your organization can cover the expenses.

Reserve Event Space

Meet with the staff of Event Services (Union, 150) to reserve the date and location for your event and talk through set-up and tech needs. 


As South Dakota State University is a recipient of federal funds, any program or activity at the University must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Contact Performers

If you have an outside performer - speaker, comedian, band, DJ, etc. - that your organization will be paying, it is necessary to have a signed contract. The Office of Student Activities staff can help you with information and support for this process. 

Consider Waivers, Releases, or Permits

When sponsoring campus activities or events involving physical activities, you may want to use a waiver to help reduce liability to your organization. Contact the Office of Student Activities staff for more information and assistance. 

Plan your Marketing Strategy

Be creative, and plan your publicity to attract the audience you outlined in your program goals.

Purchase Decorations and Supplies

Make your event special by putting in the extra touches. 

Pay the Bills

If you received co-sponsorship from other organizations, provide them with the information on actual costs. 

Thank the People Who Helped

Whether they are members of your organization, people on campus, or outside groups who provided assistance, make sure that they are ready to help you out the next time - thank people personally and/or in writing. 

Evaluate the Program

Ask participants what they thought of the event. Find out from your planning group what went well and what could have gone better. 

Leave a Record for Next Time

Save information in a binder to pass on to the next generation of your organization. Program planning is made easier when you can build on the success of those who came before you.

These materials adapted from UNC Charlotte’s Student Organization Handbook 2017-2018