For anyone who is involved in planning an event, budgeting can be one of the most difficult parts. It can be tedious and constantly changing. Every detail must be correct for it to be effective. Your event budget can be a valuable document if you do some strategic planning and use budget management software. This document can communicate a lot of information about your event, to many different stakeholders. It can also show changes in your thinking during the planning process and serve as a useful learning tool for future events.
How can you make sure your event budget is flexible enough to cover all the details and still have sufficient funds for contingencies? Continue reading to learn more!
Here are 9 ways to streamline your event budgeting process
1. Know your event goals, and key performance indicators.
The event budget should reflect your vision and include everything you envision for the event, including decor, technology, setup, talent, and merchandise. You can close your eyes and see an important element in your budget.
You can reuse language from your vision and goals section if you have already created your event promotion plan. It’s worth taking some time to consider your goals for the event. What are your goals? What goals do you have for the event, beyond happy attendees? What are your personal goals?
The budget will be directly affected by the objectives. If you are trying to impress VIPs at your event, venue and decor are important items. You might want to put more emphasis on engagement if this is an internal corporate meeting. Some objectives, such as a company meeting, can support cost-cutting measures. Some objectives, such as a routine company meeting, can be achieved by spending more to achieve a better ROI. These KPIs will impact how successful you are in this event and your budget.
2. Take a look at similar past events.
It is not a good idea to create a budget for every event. Look at previous events to see if they are similar in terms of their objectives, scale, and scope. A company’s anniversary event could be held every year, or at specific milestone years. You’ll probably have similar events to this event even if it’s not something you have done before. Ask your colleagues in other departments or offices about similar events. Editing a budget draft is much more easy than trying to create your own from scratch.
You should keep in mind that costs and event trends may have changed since the inspiration event. Therefore, you will need to continue researching your exact costs. You don’t need a exact blueprint. But you do want a rough idea and some ideas on what line items you should include to help you start your research.
3. Begin with a rough figure and then refine.
Throughout the planning process, your budget will be subject to constant revision and updating. It is an evolving document that will be updated and revised by many stakeholders who may have different priorities. It’s a good idea to get a rough estimate of the cost of your event, then add details as you investigate your costs. This allows you to talk to stakeholders earlier about costs and back them up with numbers as you approach holding your event.
4. Get started researching your expenses.
This is the right time to begin researching specific line items that will fit your budget. A good list of items to include should be made based on previous events and similar inspiration events. Here are some basics to ensure you have them all.
- Costs on-site
- Event staff
- Food & beverage
- Audio/visual and other tech
- Speakers and entertainment
- Swag, and other handouts
- Event Planner or On-Site Manager
- Promotion and event marketing
- Graphic design
- Paid advertising and social media
- Marketing materials printed
- Affiliate and influencer commissions
- Paid content marketing
- Event management technology
5. Get multiple vendor quotes.
You should get multiple quotes from various vendors to cover all the above costs. It is a great way to make sure you get a good deal and to be able to negotiate better prices with vendors. Multiple quotes can also help you get a better idea of the costs for that item. Only by speaking with multiple vendors can you get an idea of the cost range. Vendors can be a great source of information in their local area. You can also get help from vendors to determine what you need and what you don’t. You might even find great tips for saving money on a specific line item.
Some costs may be contingent upon other line items. Your A/V setup will vary depending on where you are located. Some venues will have additional costs, while others may not. Depending on the venue, other costs could include parking, transportation to the airport, and Wi-Fi.
When you begin to receive quotes, take note of the costs included in each estimate as well as any contingent costs. This will help you to know what items you can cross off your checklist when you choose a vendor.
6. Take into account how event income can balance out expenses.
Your budget will be affected by how much income you expect to earn from the event. You can make income from ticket sales, sponsorship, or other creative sources. So that all stakeholders and you can accurately estimate the cost of the event and the estimated ROI, make sure you include these income sources in your event budgeting.
You can do the opposite. Once you know what expenses you are likely to incur, you can create ticket prices or sponsorship packages to offset them. This will help you set a clear goal for event income and keep your costs under control.
7. You can decide where you want to save money and where you want to spend your money.
Event budgeting is a very difficult task. No one has an unlimited amount of money. Planners must choose the most important aspects of an event. These are the areas that it is worth spending more for high-quality options. You’ll find that you can reduce spending as you narrow down your priorities. Perhaps you don’t really need a separate VIP area and can do with a digital VIP experience. You might be able to serve snacks and beverages throughout the event instead of a plated dinner. Prioritizing your needs will help you decide where to put your valuable resources.
8. For emergency situations and incidentals, add an additional amount.
You’re familiar with the problems that can occur when planning events. It is possible that you run out of flowers or need to call a florist on the day of your event. Your setup may not be compatible with the venue. You could have your speakers call in sick. You should have a reserve fund for rainy days, no matter what the reason. The amount of contingencies and the size of your event will determine how much you need. A good rule of thumb is to add 15-30% to your total event budgeting.
9. Your budget document should work for you, your team and yourself.
Your budget is an evolving document that will grow and change as you get closer. If you format it properly, your budget will be even more useful.
- Add notes regarding payment deadlines to estimates. Include deposits and when they must be paid.
- Add a column to reflect actual costs when you begin to pay for items so that you can compare your expenses to estimates. This is particularly useful for planning future events.
- Notes about cost contingencies, special offers, contact names and details about each item should be made so that other members of the team can quickly access the information they require.
These event budgeting tips can help you get started today!
Now that you have a good idea of the amount you will spend on your event you can make sure it is worth it.