Risk Management for RSOs


Risk Management

The Student Leadership & Development area values the relationship with students engaged in organization activities and as such has adopted a philosophical approach to partnering with individual students and student organizations as facilitators of this unique experience.

 As facilitators, student organization members, leaders, and advisors work with administrators, faculty and staff to make intelligent, fair and reasonable choices within the boundaries established by state, federal, and local laws, university rules, and the educational mission of the institution. It is now a requirement that all ASU student organizations to designate one member to be a risk management liaison to ensure minimal risk for the organization.

Organization Orientation and Risk Management is required for all student organizations. In this session, we will discuss all of the registration requirements for organizations, applicable policies and procedures, navigating our new virtual development platform in GAView, event registration, and resources for RSOs across campus. All registered student organizations at Albany State University must also attend an annual Risk Management Education which will be included in the program.

We will cover information about alcohol and drug use and prevention, sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention and response, fire and firearm safety, food safety, and services for students with disabilities. This is the ideal starting place for organizations to gain the most information on how to effectively manage your organization.


Anytime there is need for clear understanding of responsibility, there is need for a contract. Contracts are a binding agreement between two parties in which each gives something in return for something else. Before creating or signing any contract, please review these guidelines for proper procedure as student organizations do not have signatory authority for ASU.


Most student organization activities do not require the purchase of insurance. However, higher risk activities or large scale events may require the organization to purchase additional insurance.

Liability and Waivers

Whether you are planning an event or carrying out organizational duties, the organization and the advisor (s) should review the information on the legal affairs website to be in the know about proper liability and when waivers may need to be completed.

Serving Food on Campus

To ensure that ASU food sales or service does not conflict with existing university food contracts and meets health and safety regulations, ASU student organizations must obtain approval for sales, service and handling of food-related items. Student organizations can obtain official policies and procedures through Auxiliary Services department.


Policy and procedures are in place to govern travel for recognized student organization events or activities. Approval should be requested prior to travel.

Youth Programs and Involvement

All youth activities, pre-collegiate programs and camps must be authorized by the appropriate campus leadership, before program activities can occur. Please see the information provided by the Office of Legal Affairs to learn more about the Youth Activities, Pre-Collegiate Programs and Camps policy.

 A complete list of university policies and waivers can be found on ASU's Legal Affairs Website

RSOs & Fundraising

Student Organizations can raise funds in a number of ways. You are encouraged to look into funding sources both inside the University and out.

Registered student organizations can utilize membership dues, fundraising initiatives and funding grants to support the costs of organization events and activities. It is important that the organization adhere to Campus, City, State and Federal laws and policies regarding the collection of revenue. 

Use of University facilities or grounds for fundraising must be approved by the Office of Student Engagement.

Requests for approval must be submitted in write via a detailed proposal.

Fundraising as it pertains to student organizations is defined as any on-campus exchange of goods. This includes, but is not limited to bake sales, book drives, ticket sales, canned food drives, clothing drives, and similar activities. If you would like to pursue outside sources of funding, please talk with your RSO advisor before you approach any prospective donors. We will work with you to secure approval to contact your potential donors and to ensure that you have the greatest chance of success.

Consult Institutional Advancement

Before approaching businesses and corporations for sponsorships, it is essential for Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) to consult with the Office of Institutional Advancement. This step ensures that the university is not already receiving support from the potential sponsor in some form. If the university does receive monetary support from the entity, RSOs may explore alternative options such as requesting product donations instead.

Including Institutional Advancement in the process of seeking corporate sponsorships offers several benefits:

  1. Avoiding Conflicts: Consulting with Institutional Advancement helps RSOs avoid conflicts of interest by ensuring that the university's existing partnerships or sponsorships are not jeopardized or duplicated.

  2. Leveraging Existing Relationships: Institutional Advancement may have established relationships with businesses or corporations that can be leveraged to negotiate favorable sponsorship deals for RSOs.

  3. Maximizing Resources: By coordinating efforts with Institutional Advancement, RSOs can maximize the resources available to them by tapping into the broader network and expertise of the university's development office.

  4. Ensuring Compliance: Institutional Advancement can provide guidance on any university policies or procedures related to corporate sponsorships, ensuring that RSOs remain compliant and adhere to relevant regulations.

  5. Enhancing Professionalism: Involving Institutional Advancement in sponsorship discussions adds a level of professionalism and credibility to RSOs' interactions with potential sponsors, increasing the likelihood of successful partnerships.

Other examples of alternative sponsorship requests that RSOs may consider include:

  • Requesting in-kind donations of products or services relevant to the organization's mission or activities. For example, a sustainability-focused RSO could request donations of eco-friendly products or services from a local business.
  • Seeking sponsorship for specific events or initiatives rather than general monetary support. This approach allows businesses to support targeted initiatives that align with their values or interests.
  • Exploring opportunities for joint promotional activities or partnerships that offer mutual benefits to both the RSO and the sponsoring entity.

General Fundraising Considerations

  • Define the organization’s goals. What does the organization want to accomplish this year?
  • Develop the financial plans based on the organization’s goals.
  • Map out methods to reach financial goals.

Fundraising Activities Conducted by Nonprofit Entities

Planning Tips

  • Plan ahead – planning ahead will allow more options to be available. The choice of facilities, funding sources, speakers and entertainers will be more diverse.
  • Learn from past experiences. What fundraisers have been most successful for the organization?
  • Identify the constituency and target the audience. Who are the people most likely to support the activity?
  • Evaluate the fundraiser. Write down the keys to the successes and keep records of everything. Organizations can pass the victories and failures on to future members and save them some time. When planning events and activities, new members will benefit from the legwork.
  • Always thank contributors. Whether it is thanking an audience with a few words acknowledging the support of a contributor or send someone a note, it will be invaluable in the future. It is also a common courtesy.


Fundraising Activities That You Can Do On Your Own

  • Sell program ads or ask local businesses for less than $500.
  • Ask local businesses to make in-kind donations (food, supplies, etc.).

*Online sales???  third-party systems for eCommerce. This means you cannot collect funds through sites like Paypal, Venmo, Eventbrite, or Kickstarter, nor can you utilize any credit card transaction apps like Square

Contact your RSO advisor for advice on how to approach the companies.

Offer local businesses public recognition in exchange for their donation. Companies are more likely to make a gift if they receive recognition on posters, in programs, etc.

We strongly urge you to send thank you letters to the businesses that provide support to you.  A thank you letter can go a long way to encourage businesses to donate in the future.

Fundraising Activities That Require University Approval

A few groups may also want to spend more time and effort to:

  • Contact your group's alumni, friends, and parents and ask them for support.
  • Ask a company for sponsorship over $500.
  • Apply for grants from foundations.

These activities require explicit approval, and may take considerable time to arrange.

Your RSO advisor can help you with these fundraising efforts. Working closely with the University's Development Office, Alumni Association, the University, and the Office of Student Engagement your advisor can:

  • Meet with you to discuss your fundraising goals and possible sources of donations.
  • Identify opportunities for Alumni outreach.
  • Coordinate required approvals processes to reach out to possible donors.
  • Connect your group to resource guides which list foundational and corporate funding sources and provide information on the types of projects they fund with sample letters and proposals.
  • Ensure that gifts to your organization are processed correctly so that the donor receives an ASU receipt for tax purposes.

Gambling/Gaming Policy

Gambling is illegal in the State of Georgia; these methods of raising money bring up serious legal issues. Events that violate state law may result in significant ramifications (e.g. student judicial procedures under the Student Code of Conduct, loss of University facility reservation privileges, arrest and/or monetary fines). The information below that will assist the organization with planning for successful and legal events.

The legal definition of gambling in Georgia has three components:

  1. Consideration- exchanging something of value for a chance to win (for example, paying/donating money in exchange for poker chips or a raffle ticket)
  2. Chance- taking a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome (for example, betting chips in a poker game)
  3. Prize- something of value received as a result of winning (even, for example, designating the charity to which donations will be given is considered a prize).

Take away any one of the above-listed three components and the activity does not constitute illegal gambling.

Casino Nights & Poker Tournaments

The nature of poker and other casino games makes it impossible to take away the element of chance.  As such, groups wanting to hold legal poker/casino nights are left with removing either the element of consideration or prize.  Since the prize is generally what makes potential participants want to participate, this element is probably not a practical one to remove.  Therefore, the element of consideration is the one that can most realistically be removed while still allowing for a fun and successful fundraising event.  To be more specific, the requirement of a “buy-in” amount in this case would not be allowed.  A suggested donation may be requested but not required.  Anyone wanting to play must be allowed to fully participate and the requested donation may not be “suggested” so strongly as to effectively comprise a requirement.


In the case of raffles, there may be an exception to the prohibition against them as illegal gambling in Georgia in certain circumstances.  RSOs would be responsible for seeking this inforomation from the local sheriff Department. 

Georgia Code on Raffles

Dougherty County Sheriff On Raffles

General guidelines for Georgia nonprofit organizations 


overal tips for Fiscal Management for Student Organizations

  1. Budgeting: Develop a comprehensive budget outlining anticipated expenses and sources of income for the organization's activities and events.

  2. Financial Planning: Plan expenditures carefully to ensure funds are allocated efficiently and effectively to support the organization's mission and goals.

  3. Record Keeping: Maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records, including receipts, invoices, and bank statements, to track income and expenses.

  4. Transparency: Ensure transparency in financial matters by providing regular updates to organization members on the status of the budget and any financial transactions.

  5. Approval Processes: Establish clear procedures for obtaining approval for expenditures, including who has authority to authorize spending and the process for obtaining signatures or approvals.

  6. Financial Controls: Implement internal controls to safeguard organization funds and prevent misuse or unauthorized access to financial resources.

  7. Compliance: Ensure compliance with university policies and procedures regarding the use of funds, including any requirements for documentation or reporting.

  8. Fundraising: Explore and pursue fundraising opportunities to supplement the organization's budget and support its activities and initiatives.

  9. Grants and Sponsorships: Seek out grants, sponsorships, and other external sources of funding to support specific projects or events, following any guidelines or requirements set forth by the funding organization.

  10. Risk Management: Assess and mitigate financial risks by identifying potential threats to the organization's financial stability and implementing strategies to address them.

  11. Financial Responsibility: Hold organization leaders and members accountable for their financial responsibilities, including adherence to budgetary constraints and timely reimbursement of expenses.

  12. Auditing: Conduct regular audits or reviews of the organization's financial records to ensure accuracy, compliance, and accountability.

  13. Training and Education: Provide training and education to organization leaders and members on fiscal management best practices, university policies, and financial procedures to promote responsible stewardship of resources.

  14. Seeking Assistance: Seek assistance and guidance from university financial advisors or administrators as needed to address complex financial issues or ensure compliance with university policies and regulations.

RSO Advisors & Risk Management

As an advisor, assisting the organizations with managing and mitigating the risks of campus programs is important. We believe that taking time to learn the policies that guide risk management and liability for student organizations is key.

Risk Management 101

  • Includes the process of identifying and evaluating the risks associated with activities and operations of an organization; developing a plan to control, reduce, or eliminate those risks.
  • Is an assessment about a future event or experience that threatens your organization's ability to accomplish its purpose, host an event, maintain status as a student organization, and maintain a healthy and safe environment for you and others.
  • Includes reasonable attempt to identify unexpected factors which may result in:
  • Harm to those involved
  • Property damage
  • Harm to the RSO’s reputation
  • Includes proactively preparing to respond to incidents.


Risk can be categorized into 5 areas:

  • Physical– risk related to physical activities, travel, food illnesses, etc.
  • Reputation– risk related to damaging the character or image of individuals, the organization, or institution.
  • Emotional– risk related to the discomfort or damaging to an individual's personal feelings and well-being.
  • Financial– risks that negatively affect the fiscal strength of the organization or related parties.
  • Facilities– risks that inhibit the activity from taking place including weather, space, property damage, equipment, etc.

Risk management should be an integral part of the event planning process. When planning events or programs, it is important to think about anything that could unexpectedly occur. Anticipate the worst case scenario and plan for those possibilities. Take time to consider the risks and develop a risk management plan. 

Each advisor has the responsibility to be fully acquainted with and ensure student organizations comply with the Code of Conduct, Student Fee Regulations, and the Campus Use of University Facilities policy. These documents provide great information for your students and you as you go through the event management and operation process. 

  • Georgia Code On Insurance and Liability For Advisors (State/University Employees)
  • Registered Student Organizations
    • (RSO) Registered Student Organization activities are not covered under the University’s liability insurance, however, they are able to have advisors.  The main difference is that RSOs do not act as part of the institution. However, there are measures the students and their advisor can take to reduce the potential for loss and limit liability.  In addition, RSOs should be aware that if their event/activity is determined to be a higher risk category, e.g., concerts, physical/athletic type activities, they may need to purchase a one-time special event insurance coverage.  This would be determined during the campus event management process.  The Office of Legal Affairs can consult you on what type may be needed.



  1. Have students schedule an appointment with their liaison in the Center for Student Involvement to talk through logistics.
  2. Ask probing questions to student leaders planning events. Some examples include:
  3. How they will manage lines, numbers, etc.
  4. Run through “What if” scenarios about how they respond to someone getting injured at the event. 
  5. Student organizations should have a process for documenting/recording their activities and events to demonstrate:
  6. Reasonable efforts were taken to mitigate risk. 
  7. Event planning consistency and accountability.
  8. Transition for the next academic year planning process. 
  9. Availability of student organization records should an incident occur and the organization is required to provide documentation.
  10. Decisions made to support event/activity safety.
  11. Adherence to campus policies and procedures.
  12. Event and Activity Planning
  13. Waivers for activities with risk of injury
  14. Requesting certificates (proof) of insurance from 3rd party vendors/companies
  15. Risk assessments and emergency planning checklists  
  16. The University is available for questions regarding risk, insurance and liability questions.


The Office Of Student Engagement will counsel your organization through potential risks. You may request a meeting by emailing RSO@ASURAMS.EDU