The Balloon Accreditation Scheme is Bristol SU's way of recognising and celebrating the brilliant things that our student groups get up to. Whether you are a Sports Club, a Society or a Volunteer Group, our scheme helps you offer the best possible experience for your members and supporters.
Recruit more members
Strengthen your committee
Grow your reputation
The scheme runs from 1st May 2020 - 30th April 2021.
Any student group affiliated to Bristol SU can take part. Your group can achieve gold, silver or bronze accreditation.
There are 18 criteria in total. Your group must complete:
The scheme is now closed for 2020/21. We'll be announcing details of the 2021/22 scheme in September.
You can submit evidence in any format (including hyperlinks, photos and videos, and documents), as long as it clearly shows how your group has met the criteria – you can include a short explanation on the form if needed. If your evidence submission doesn't meet our requirements, it will be rejected and you'll need to resubmit it.
For categories that have multiple parts (e.g. 'host two fundraising sessions') you should try to submit all parts at the same time.
If you have any questions or feedback on the scheme, please email the Development Team (email@example.com).
1) Have an up-to-date Bristol SU website presence and have members listed with Bristol SU
You should view your Bristol SU webpage as your groups shop window. It’s the first place new students will go to when looking for information and as such should promote your group in a positive light. We’d highly recommend having your page up-to-date by Welcome Week at the latest.
2) Submit a three-year strategic plan and book a Development Meeting to discuss it
Strategic Planning for Student Groups is more important than ever. With the uncertainty COVID-19 has presented to all our groups, it is important to have a robust plan in place for the year. A strategic plan helps to focus the energy, time and resources of everyone in your committee in the same direction.
This criterion can only be submitted in Term 1.
3) Submit an annual budget and explain how you will use or have used it to inform your activities this year
A robust budget is an essential document that all groups should have and use throughout the year. This year in particular, groups will need to plan for the impact COVID-19 may have and a potential loss of membership due to cancelled events and lower membership numbers.
This criterion can only be submitted in Term 1.
4) Secure a source of external funding for your group
This criterion is all about sourcing external funding to help you run your activities and giving your members the best possible opportunities and experience. You could:
5) Collect feedback from your members and evidence how you have taken their feedback into account
Getting regular membership feedback is an important part of running a successful group. Your members can tell you what events are working, what they want to see more of and how you can improve the member experience. You might think about:
6) Collaborate with at least one other affiliated Bristol SU student group or Network
Collaborating with another student group can be hugely beneficial to both the committee involved and the wider membership. You get to practice teamwork and negotiating skills, enhance your groups exposure and (hopefully!) gain some new members! You could:
You could contact groups directly by finding them on our website or you could join the Facebook groups below and start a conversation about collaborations:
7) Collaborate with an external group, charity or organisation
Working with an external partner is a great way to get your name out into the wider community and can provide excellent opportunities for you members. You could:
8) Attend at least five non-compulsory training sessions (run by Bristol SU, SEH, Bristol HUB or another partner)
We provide training and support throughout the year on a variety of topics to help student group leaders develop new skills and build memorable experiences for their members.
Bristol SU training sessions can be found on our Training Calendar.
9) Run a Give it a Go session at least once before and after Christmas aimed at attracting new members
Give it a Go provides a fun and friendly way for new students to get involved with Clubs, Societies and Volunteering Projects, allowing them to ‘road test’ groups before committing to membership.
We encourage all groups to get involved in this scheme, regardless of your core activities.
10) Represent your group at 3 or more democratic events
11) Hold at least two alcohol-free social events per term
More students are drinking less and less, and many don’t drink at all, and their reasons for doing so are as personal as the individual. Student groups that have a solid roster of sober socials are taking a great step to being fully-inclusive to all.
12) Organise two fundraising initiatives (either for your own group or a charity)
Many groups have been holding fundraisers with their members over the summer in aid of local charities affected by COVID-19. You may also be thinking about your own groups funds and organising an event to help with a difficult year. You might consider:
GoRaise.co.uk have a pretty extensive A-Z list of student fundraiser ideas of student fundraiser ideas.
13) Show how you have taken steps this year to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within your group
Student lead societies are often the best placed to offer bespoke and distinctive social networks for E&D to thrive. For groups wanting to work on their EDI we have designed the Equalities Action Plan Toolkit as a first step (this should not be your only evidence submitted).
14) Show that your group has enabled and encouraged members to partake in work to enrich the cultural or physical environments around you.
We know that many of our groups want to do more to care for the environment or volunteer with the local community. This criterion recognises those groups who go out of their way to do something more and enable their members to do something positive. As a group you could:
15) Show how your group has offered skills, training, or schemes that improve members employability prospects or impart valuable transferable skills
Being part of a student group is a great way to enhance employability skills and this criterion recognises groups who go out of their way to provide these opportunities for members. Your group could:
16) Achieve a 90% or higher member satisfaction score in the Rate My Group survey
17) Plan for a successful Handover
Your Handover is literally the handing over of the running of your student group to the new committee. Handover time gives outgoing committees the chance to reflect on the achievements of your group and to share essential information and useful hints and tips with the incoming committee. A robust handover plan is essential to ensure the continuation of your group into the future.
18) Plan and host an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and hold contested elections for core committee positions
You must give all your members a chance to attend an AGM to hear about how your group has developed over the year, what the financial status of the group is and to vote for a new committee.
Whilst the biggest benefit of taking part in the scheme is a better run group, rewards are offered to those who gain accreditation.
Once you have submitted evidence, the table below will update automatically.
🕐 Pending approval
❕ Partially complete