Event management is a true test of your abilities to organize and coordinate a lot of tasks, all at once. It is a long process with the final outcome being an exceptional event that fulfills your agenda.
One of the key aspects of this entire process is finances, rather, – the management of these finances. The success of your event is highly reliant on your event budgeting. The way you plan and allot your budget will decide how your event is going to turn out.
So what is event budgeting all about?
Event budgeting is mainly about having a structured plan in place that can help you manage your finances in the best possible way to ensure event success.
Often so, it does happen that planners lose sight of the vision they had for their event or cannot fulfill the same due to lack of funds. So what is it that went wrong? Was it really lack of funds? Or insufficient revenue? Maybe.
But, most times the reason for an event agenda not being fulfilled due to insufficient funds is lack of proper planning. Planners may overlook a certain major expense or at times spend more on what isn’t really required.
Thus, it is of utmost importance that you create a budget that will set you on the right path i.e. event success.
So, the next time you sit down to prepare your event budget, keep in mind these 10 commandments of event budgeting:
1. Thou shall do your research:
Research is crucial to the entire event budgeting process. You need to do your homework before you get to the whole planning process and create a budget for your event.
One way to go about is to analyze your previous events. Analyze your previous budgets, your costs, and estimates and the current market rates. It is always great to read up on ways you can tailor your budget, where you can cut down costs, great events that were a success with well-planned budgets, etc.
There are plenty of resources out there to assist you with the same. Though, it is time-consuming, talking to your vendors individually will help you in getting a rough idea of the prevailing costs for all your requirements directly from the source.
Also research about all sorts of deals and discounts that you can utilize, the best possible time for your bookings, etc. to save up. The internet is always at your disposal, make the most of it.
2. Thou shall plan ahead:
There may be certain unforeseen circumstances that might lead to alterations in your overall budget. But rarely so does it happen that there are major fluctuations in the costs that you’ve planned. These discrepancies aside, it is always advisable to plan ahead of time.
As mentioned earlier, event budgeting is having a structured plan for managing your finances in place. Create a checklist of all your budget items and list down all probable expenses you might have to incur alongside your sources of revenue and additional funding.
Another benefit of planning ahead is the possibility to avail a lot of good deals that can free up your budget a little. For e.g. in case of an event that’s on location, you might need to fly in your team to the location.
Having your dates in place, booking their plane tickets early on will reduce the cost. Have an overview of your budget allocation for the entire duration event and even after it is over. Planning ahead of time is always a great idea.
3. Thou shall have a contingency on hand:
Your projected estimates, as accurate as they may be are bound to fluctuate. There are certain situations that you wouldn’t be able to control. Take the GST tax implementation in India for example or the economic changes that are bound to occur post-Brexit.
As the Goods and Services Tax policy was executed, there were many fluctuations in the prices of various commodities and services. These situations, like major policy changes, may be a bit extreme and a rare occurrence.
However, inflation, manual errors, slip-ups or other similar contingencies are a part of the whole planning process. Always have a certain amount set aside as a safe fund for rainy days so that you are prepared for these contingencies.
Things like bad weather or last minute cancellations can disrupt your budget plan. It is better to be prepared for the same. Having an event insurance in place is also a good option.
4. Thou shall list down accurate estimates:
One of the key aspects of budget planning is your estimates. It is impossible to predict exact costs of all your budget items. Changes are inevitable. The best possible way for this is to try and list down as accurate estimates as possible.
Planners often tend to overprice or under price budget items for many reasons. You might just want to be safe and overprice things in order to not run out funds or you may want to make room for more items and under price things to make your budget more appealing.
But wrong estimates are one of the biggest reasons why budget plans fail. That is why it is important to be as efficient and as accurate as possible while preparing your budget lists with the costs. Here’s where research comes into play. Research the current prevailing costs in the market.
Analyzing previous events and the budget plans for the same is also a good idea. You can apply multipliers according to current prevailing costs in order to get better estimates.
5. Thou shall negotiate well :
Negotiation is the key to nailing any business deal. As a planner, you must coordinate with multiple vendors for all your requirements be it catering, exhibition stall designer, AV and tech provider, etc. Be sure that your negotiation skills are on point.
Have a rough plan ready. Know what cost would you want to settle for with respect to what the vendor is asking for and try and settle for prices that are convenient for both.
This is crucial especially when you organize multiple events in a year. Always try and negotiate prices. Especially for planners who organize multiple events a year. Most vendors do offer a subscription model for such planners whereby they are supposed to pay a certain amount a monthly or annually.
All in all, it is best to attempt and try to score a deal that will free up your budget as much as possible.
6. Thou shall secure good sponsorship:
Sponsorship is not just about the money. Sponsorship can be for varied purposes. The two main purposes, however, are to gain capital and for marketing. What I would like to talk about here is sponsorship for capital.
It is an aspect that is impossible to neglect. It is one of the main sources of your event funding. Hence, it is crucial to have the best sponsors for your event. It will help you sort out a lot of additional costs.
For e.g., having a food and beverage sponsor will help you cut down additional costs for the same. So have a sponsorship strategy on hand to secure the best possible sponsorships, not just in quantity but quality.
List down the sponsors you want to target, market for potential sponsors and prepare a well-researched proposal. Remember, it is not necessary to have many sponsors, it is important to have the best ones.
7. Thou shall keep your budget detailed:
Never procrastinate when it comes to listing down your budget items. Be sure to keep it as detailed as possible. The more detailed your budget the more effective it is.
Once you list down all your revenue and expenditures, you can also find ways to cut down on more costs. For e.g. you can combine AV expenses and venue rental costs by trying to find a venue that’s rentals cover the AV costs as well.
When you have a detailed budget with every possible expense listed, you can have a rough idea of where you can make adjustments and prioritize your budget items accordingly. This will also help you in your contingency plan.
You can have an idea of where there might be fluctuations in the costs that have been listed down and keep aside a certain amount as your rainy day fund accordingly.
8. Thou shall explore all your options:
There are a lot of aspects to be taken care of when it comes to events. A lot of purchases to be made. Usually, planners have a set list of trusted vendors for each purchase, be it event producer, tech, AV, etc.
Certain planners who organize multiple events annually usually have a fixed vendor for everything. But time and again there are new up and coming vendors in the market who may be just as good or even more effective and may provide requirements at a much reasonable cost.
Before committing to one particular vendor, it is always advisable to explore all your options. Also, there are options in terms of the services that you could use as well.
For e.g., instead of spending a part of your budget on spate vendor for an event website, ticketing, schedule printing, etc. you can opt for an event management software that can take care of all these requirements.
9. Thou shall coordinate your budget with your team:
Make sure all the members of your team are on the same page when it comes to the planning process. Every person is assigned their particular tasks and a budget for each task as per you initial budget plan.
Every member of your team has to work with that budget. Here’s a basic example; you might have planned to use the venue parking facilities instead of appointing a valet for the same.
Be sure that the member of your team who is in charge of managing the venue is aware of this fact and coordinates with the venue accordingly.
Avoid any sort of miscommunication and see to it that every member of your team is aware of the budget allocations and is following the same game plan that you devised.
10. Thou keep track of your budget plan :
In order to ensure that everything goes as per your plan, you need to coordinate and follow up with all your team members regularly. Have meetings at regular intervals.
Also, keep a track of all your incomes and revenues. See to it that there are no unnecessary additional expenses made. As soon as the registrations for your event are open, keep tallying your ticket revenue.
If there is additional revenue, more than estimated, you can use it to optimize your event further and modify your budget. Just be sure to be on track as per planned.
All of this may sound a little overwhelming. But take it step by step and you’ll be on your way to delivering a successful event.
Here’s a little something to help you out.
You can refer to this checklist and formulate an event budgeting strategy of your own based on what your event needs.
☐ Primary payments for the staff
☐ Added incentives
☐ Cost of travel, food, and accommodation for the staff members
– Venue and logistics
☐ Venue rent
☐ Cost of furniture, decor, etc.
☐ Cost of technical requirements (projectors, microphones, etc.)
☐ Cost of data connection
☐ Cost of licensing, contracts, permits, etc.
☐ Cost of printing badges/Ids, etc.
– Budget for catering
– Budget for guest accommodation
– Budget for travel and transportation of the guests
– Internet ubiquity requirements
☐ Cost of creating an event website
☐ Cost of creating an event application
– Marketing Expenses
☐ Cost of flyers and posters
☐ Cost of paid social media advertisements
☐ Content writing for various advertisements
☐ Web development
☐ List out your sponsorship requirements
☐ Market research for finding potential sponsors
☐ Plan the number of sponsors needed
☐ Finalize the Event Sponsors
– Plan the Ticket Charges
☐ Various ticketing plans (e.g.- VIP, Premium, etc.)
☐ Discounts on tickets
☐ Online Ticketing Platform
☐ Offline Ticketing platform
☐ One Venue Ticketing Platform
☐ Payment options for the tickets (Card payments, net banking, etc.)
– Plan the Exhibitors’ Charges
☐ Registration charges
☐ Basic registration fees
☐ Advertising costs
☐ Staff costs
☐ Logistics and amenities costs
☐ Follow-up advertising (if applicable)
– Plan the parking fees (if needed)
☐ Parking charges
☐ Payment options for parking charges
Hope this would have been helpful. For suggestions, please comment.