Tips and Tricks

Event Planning Tips & Tricks

The BearsDen event application form will link you with specific resources and updated information that you might need to fill out your event form, but the team at SGS and the SERM Coordinator have come up with some other handy tips to make the most out of your event planning!

Did you know that "by donation" bake sales typically make more money than priced bake sales?

BBQs and Bake Sales are two of the yummiest and most painless ways to fundraise on the U of A campus. When it’s 40 below and your group can’t convince people to buy tickets to a large, outdoor event during finals, you can always set up a nice little table for exam snacks. You can even theme your food to your group or its event. Remember that you still need to submit these events for approval on BearsDen!

Did you know that marketing is more than just printing out a few cool posters?

One of the keys to a successful event is a well promoted event and group. Take a look at these marketing basics below to get you started, or download our marketing and postering resources for even more tips and tricks.

Target Market

First off, your group should figure out who the target audience for the group and/or event will be. This maybe something very specific and small (like students taking a specific course or area of study), to larger and more broad groups (even the general public!). Either way, it is important to know where you will cater your efforts. Because, if you don’t target someone, you might engage no one.

Aspects to think about for Student Groups’ Target Market:

  • Demographic
  • Psychographic (i.e. similar attitudes, lifestyles, hobbies)
  • Program of Study or Department
  • Career Goals
  • Time commitment availability
  • Engagement and Advertising

Now that you know who you want to engage, it’s time to figure out how you are going to do this. Start by trying to find common characteristics of the people in your target market. Here are some things for your group to think about whilst planning for advertising:

  • Branding your Group/Event
  • Social Media Marketing (such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs)
  • Posters
  • And don't forget about your budget!

Speaking of postering, HERE are some hanging guidelines from our friends at Safewalk!

Other Areas of Risk

There are a bunch of other risky areas that student groups deal with, and there’s quite a variety of resources and risk management strategies that exist on and off campus to help you deal with them. Here, we’ve highlighted some of the most common areas of risk that you might want to flag in your own group’s plans.


If your group is hosting an event where you’re in charge of any kind of transportation, whether it’s bus rentals or carpooling or a horse-drawn sleigh, you’ll want to have that aspect approved by the SERM Coordinator as well. Waivers might be useful, depending on the specific event, but there could be a number of other things to consider around insurance, contract signing, and liability management.

Youth Outreach

If your group or group’s events involve minors frequently, you’ll want to consider extra security levels to your membership. Safety is paramount, and the SERM Coordinator can direct you towards many resources on campus that can help you figure out what steps should be in place for your group’s interactions with minors.


If your group could re-enact Scrooge McDuck’s favourite pastime and literally swim through the amounts of cash that you have, you should make sure that your financial resources are structured incredibly well. Financial best practices are incredibly important. Although we touch on some of the basic ones in SGS’s Financial Handbook, if you need more support, let us know. (As a start - don’t get credit cards for your group, and don’t enable withdrawals on your debit cards ever.)

Reputation & Controversy

Are you tackling a really controversial event or topic as a student group? That’s great – we want you to have the tools to be able to do so. However, make sure you’ve considered the reputational risk that your actions may have on yourselves, on your group’s legacy, or on any of your many larger communities. If you’re hosting a controversial speaker, or you’re aware that you’re entering risky territory, let the SERM Coordinator know – we can help you accomplish your goal in the best way possible.


Your group can’t ever sign contracts as “The University of Alberta.” Ever. Aside from that, if you’re entering into a contract – whether it’s with a photographer, or a website designer, or a bus company, or a bar – the SERM Coordinator can help you review the contract for anything that might pose a risk to your group in the future. Just ask!

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Student Group Services Office
0-81 Student Life Central
Students' Union Building
University of Alberta
8900 - 114 Street NW
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2J7