Money makes the world go round, and it can make or break your event. So let’s talk about how to prepare and manage your event budget.
In this article, we’ll go over…
- How to create an event budgeting strategy
- What expenses you can expect onsite
- Which technology expenses you should consider
- Where to focus your marketing budget
- How you can make some money from your event
- Tips for stretching your event budget
- Where to find free event budget templates
There’s a lot to touch on, so let’s go.
Create an event budgeting strategy
It’s important to have an overall strategy before you make any calculations. Look at the big picture and make sure you have an overview.
Here are some things to consider when you make an event budgeting strategy:
1. Start with your goal
What is the aim of the event? Is it to make a profit, raise funds, or spread awareness?
2. Look at the data
Look at revenues and expenses from your previous events. Alternatively, look at case studies from other events.
3. Write everything down
It’s important to count every penny when you put together and manage your event budget.
4. Communicate with your team
Make sure that your team understands the budget. Communicate clearly with any event stakeholders.
5. Look out for event industry trends
Keep an eye on what other events are spending their budget on. It will indicate any new trends you should be aware of.
6. Create an event budget outline
Before we get into the specifics, it’s a good idea to create an outline of what your expenses will look like. Use this template to help you create one.
Onsite event expenses
It’s likely that the onsite event expenses eat up most of your budget. But feel free to spend more on marketing if your overheads are low.
Below are some of the onsite expenses you should include in your calculations.
2. Speakers and entertainers
Booking speakers or entertainers can also be costly, depending on their demand.
Small events don’t require a lot of staff—maybe just you. But it can get expensive for bigger events like conferences and festivals.
Event vendors expenses
You might need some external vendors to help you out with the event. It’s a good idea to collect quotes and compare prices before jumping into the fray.
Food and drinks are always appreciated (especially if you’re putting on a food event). Whether or not it’s included in the price, you need a caterer to organise it.
It’s crucial to have someone onsite to take pictures and videos from the event. It will be invaluable for marketing and social media purposes after the event.
3. Signage and decoration
Branding an event will also eat into your budget, so you should shop around for good deals.
Tip: AddToEvent is an excellent place to find vendors for your event and compare their price quotes.
Event technology expenses
This article exists in the digital space…and so will much of your event. Therefore, you need to consider any expenses related to event technology as well.
Below you’ll see some of the technical aspects you should budget for.
1. Event management tools
2. Event app
If you’re organising a large-scale event like a conference or festival, you might need an app. Remember to allocate funds to its development and promotion.
3. System integration
You might end up juggling a lot of apps. Event management apps, social media management apps, and website plugins. You might have to hire someone to make sure everything is integrated and runs smoothly.
4. Live streaming
Live streaming can be great marketing for an event. But you might need cameras, microphones, a camera crew, and a social media manager.
Event marketing expenses
You definitely need to allocate some of your budget for marketing and promotion. Without that, it’ll be difficult to get attendees to your event.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can spend your marketing budget.
1. SEO and SEM
SEO is important to help your event website get found on Google. You might also want to supplement with some PPC ads on Google Adwords.
2. PR campaign
A public relations campaign can help your event get covered by media outlets. You can hire an agency or spend time doing your own media outreach.
3. Social media ads
You’re able to promote your event on all social media platforms. Set part of your budget aside for ads on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. You might also want a social media management tool.
Potential event revenue
It’s not all doom and gloom in the budgeting department. You also have some opportunities to make money from your event.
Here are some of the ways you can get more into the black.
Reach out to companies who are interested in your event audience. See if you can secure some sponsorships in exchange for marketing them.
You can sell merchandise of all kinds. T-shirts, cups, bags…the possibilities are endless.
If you’re organising a fundraising event, then focus on finding donors. Ask for both personal and corporate donations.
4. Food and drinks
Unless food and drinks are included in the ticket, you can make money from selling it onsite.
How to stretch your event budget
If you’re still struggling with your budget, then there are a few more tips to cover.
1. Leverage influencers
Know anyone on social media? Have some regular customers? Then ask them to help your marketing efforts by spreading the word about your event.
2. Use free online tools
Not all apps cost money. A staggering number of useful ones are free. In fact, we wrote a whole article on free event planning tools.
3. Use freelancers or volunteers
You can cut down on staffing costs by outsourcing certain tasks to volunteers and freelancers.
4. Keep a reserve
It’s always good to save some money for a rainy day. Keep 10% of your budget in an emergency fund in case things suddenly go south.
Tip: You can read this article to find out more about cutting down on event costs without sacrificing quality.
Event budget template
The quickest way to create an event budget is to use Google Sheets. It’s free to use, and you get a spreadsheet with formulas to make calculations.
Tip: Don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable creating a budget template yourself. There are plenty of free templates you can download online.
Start preparing your budget
As we’ve covered elsewhere on this blog, it’s important to start with the macro and then go micro. Make a big picture plan first and then evaluate each detail separately.
That approach will help you formulate an event budgeting strategy. Once you have that, it’s just a matter of researching prices and negotiating.
Good luck with your event budget, and don’t forget the emergency fund!