We’ve had the pleasure of supporting a client recently with the organisation of some workshops she is running later this Spring. A big factor in organising an event is of course budget! Budget management is essential when it comes to organising an event, no matter how big the budget is. Whether your budget is tight or not, it’s important to keep track of your spend and plan how to use your money wisely. We’ve put together our five top tips to help you manage your event budget successfully:
Set your event budget agreed as soon as possible and be realistic about the type of event you can deliver, with the money and resources you have. Think about the objectives of your event and the things that are critical to its success or simply a ‘nice to have’. If you are planning a ticketed event such as a workshop or conference, think about your ticket price and attendees potential expectations, so that you can make sure they leave your event feeling looked after!
Have a clear understanding of the type of event you are planning. What do you need to do to make sure the event is a success? Creating a spreadsheet listing all these areas will ensure you set aside money for all your essentials. Don’t forget to cover ‘unexpected surprises’ in your budget too as, regardless of how well you have planned, these little and unexpected surprises always pop up. It’s better to have some money set aside than have to dig into another pot.
Identifying your necessary spends is essential to budget management. Once you have identified what you need for your event, allocate your budget across all the key elements such as venue, equipment, key speakers and catering. Set aside some money for added extras such as décor but make sure your key areas are covered first. Add timelines to each budget area too, making sure you are booking in suppliers sooner rather than later to avoid any extra costs.
Now you know what you’re after and the cost you are hoping for, it’s time to start searching for the real thing. Spend time researching the key elements you identified earlier, increasing your chances of getting the best cost. Use your contacts wisely too, perhaps there’s someone who is willing to help or offer a discount to help you keep to your budget. If there are elements that can be used at multiple events such as pop-up banners or items for delegates such as notebooks or pens, consider buying in bulk or designing items that aren’t just specific to an individual event to keep costs down.
Keep your budget spreadsheet up to date – monitor and review the actual spends against the expected spends to ensure you stay on track. This will give you a ‘real-time’ understanding of your budget and what is remaining. It can also give you a chance to reallocate money – if you saved more on one area perhaps you can afford to increase the amount set aside for another. Use this time to deal with areas of overspend to see if you can rein in spending elsewhere.
The size of the budget doesn’t determine the success of the event – the careful planning behind the budget does. Keeping these tips in mind will help ensure you stay focused and keep your event within budget, increasing the chance of a success.
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