How to budget for your event.
If you’re holding an event, you’ll know just how difficult budgeting for it can be. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned event pro, or a first-timer – getting the numbers right can be a stressful task.
There are many costs to bear in mind beyond the initial venue hire. Catering, entertainment and the last-minute scramble to find savings or minimise contingency payouts will inevitably take more of your time than you originally bargained for.
However, getting your budget right can mean the difference between a stress-free event and one made near unbearable on your part by missing equipment and unforeseen last minute costs which are difficult to account for.
Fret not, however. We’ve got a simple, yet effective checklist which should help you when deciding what to put into your budget plan.
1) What do you need?
It is important to firstly identify all areas of expenditure, and spending a good amount of time doing so is some of the best time you’ll spend throughout the whole event process. Events are about so much more than just venue hire. Even if you’re holding a very small event, make a list of the most minute details – pens, paper, etc. Some ideas for potential event costs are as follows:
- Printing costs for leaflets and tickets or expenses for sending e-shots
- Payments for entertainers or guest speakers
- AV equipment – sound, lights, projectors and flat screens
- Room decorations
- Catering costs
2) Don’t forget the contingency budget
No matter how hard you try and get your main budget right, it will inevitably go wrong somewhere along the line – that fact is almost unavoidable. Cancellation fees, medical costs and broken equipment can be some of the nasty surprises sprung upon you at any time. Allow around another 10-15% for such unforeseen expenses.
3) Be realistic
Once you’ve noted down all areas of expenditure and accounted for your contingency, you will have an estimated total budget. Take a look at the figure – is it realistic? How challenging will it be to make a profit (if that is the aim), or to simply break even? Depending on how you’re going to measure the success of the event, you may be able to trim certain elements to make it work.
4) Grab an app or two
Most events are run both from the desk and out on the field. Smartphones are your friend, in this case and can be used to great effect during event planning. Have a search for the following on your app store:
- Event budget: Allows you to compare your real expenses against your existing budget, and then export and share the results with your team
- Evernote: Not event-specific, but it’s a fantastic note taking app which allows you to keep everything you need to hand, wherever you are. You can also curate detailed checklists, photos and audio recordings
- Account tracker: Incorporates expense management, bill reminders, and the ability to export almost anything to CSV files which can be opened and edited further in programs such as Excel