print header
Handbook for Student Organizations

Contracting a Service

The signing of contracts is an important part of program planning. A contract is a standard document outlining details and terms of service agreed upon by two or more parties.  For example, telephone messages, verbal agreements, memorandums, and telegrams may become binding to an organization or individual. Caution is necessary because this process involves making a financial commitment to a service agreement for an organization. Organizations and, in some cases, individuals in organizations can be held financially liable for their contracts and agreements, both written and oral. The University ordinarily is not a party to contracts made by student organizations unless University funds are used. The following guidelines may be useful once program plans have been finalized and a contract seems appropriate.  An advisor should always review contracts for professional services with the students before signing.

In instances when the organization is seeking to employ the services of an individual or group who does not use the services of a professional agent, the organization will traditionally initiate the agreement through confirmation letters, emails, or faxes. This communication should specify all the necessary information, such as date, time, topic, travel arrangements and fees.  An advisor should review all agreements with the students prior to sending the communication to the contracted individual or group.

A rider is an additional type of contract that may be used in a variety of ways such as to amend a contract and to expand the terms of a contract initiated by a professional agency. Riders spell out the necessary details of service. Again, the advisor should review the terms of the rider with the students before making an agreement.

Remember — Student organizations are responsible for their financial commitments.
If you have questions or need assistance, visit the Student Organizations and Leadership Center. For assistance in contracting outside services, contact the Coordinator for Student Organizations.


  1. Contact the individual group to request date and secure necessary information.

  2. Require all contracts to be in writing.

  3. Confirm in writing the date, time, place, topic, fee, travel arrangements and cost.
    If the individual or group uses the services of a professional agency, a contract will be issued.

  4. Keep written records of all contacts, contracts, riders and amendments.

  5. Read the contract carefully, insuring that details are correct and the document does not contain blank spaces.

  6. Correct a contract using a rider to amend the original.

  7. Return the contract (and rider) to the individual, group or professional agency.

> More on Entertainment Contracting