The part of preparing an event that involves creating a budget isn't the most enjoyable, but if you don't have a clear grasp of every dollar you spend, you're setting yourself up to overspend. Spending all of your money on pricey beverages or the evening's main attraction may seem like a good idea, but if you don't have any money left over to advertise your event, you won't be able to get guests in to enjoy the drinks or the show.
You don't need to be a math expert to stay within your event planning budget, but keeping track of your pennies is essential to increasing your event's return on investment and minimizing your total cost. Here is your complete manual for planning and controlling an event budget.
Step 1: Define your Event Budget Strategy
It's crucial to take a step back and consider your spending priorities before getting started on your real budget planning for event management. We've compiled a list of some of the most effective ways to use data to direct your budgeting process.
1. Reference Your Historical Data
Unless it's your event's first year, you already know how much money you spent on what last time. Start by finding the line items that you overspent or underspent on and see if they remain the same or change over time.
You'll have a better idea of what needs more budget if you've identified the exact areas where you tend to overspend. This will make it simpler to correct sooner in the process rather than repeating previous errors. If necessary, you might also ask your employer and clients for their approval of your preliminary budget. In this manner, you will have a current document that you may change as you proceed.
2. Consider Any Current Trends
You and your staff are not the only ones who are dealing with financial restrictions. Nine out of ten event planners indicated their budget is insufficient in a previous study, and 55% claimed their budget will remain the same in the upcoming year. What happens to the money then? The top expenses for the event planners questioned were:
● Promotion & Marketing: 43%
● Talent and speakers: 32%
● Materials printed: 29%
● Venues: 18%
3. Set Goals
You can establish precise objectives once you've determined where you need to cut back on your spending. Setting goals will help you stay focused, whether you want to raise the amount of funding you receive from sponsors or stretch your budget further without depleting your reserve fund.
Set goals early on, such as how many tickets you want to sell and how much money you want to make through sponsorships. By doing this, you can keep your income in line with your needs.
4. Get the Green Light from Stakeholders
The sooner your stakeholders give you the go-ahead to begin planning, the better. You can estimate a cost with the aid of a rough budget, which you can then adjust as you go.
Step 2: Write Out Specific Expenses in Your Budget
It's time to list all the line items to track in your budgeting template now that you know your areas of concentration. These will contain information on things like rental costs, lighting gear, and more.
5. Plan Out All Your Expenses So You Can Make Decisions.
You can organize your event's focal areas to help you prioritize your expenditure and put money into the things that matter most. After defining your broad categories, you can begin to drill down and fill in the prices.
On a budget, try to be as detailed as you can. Avoid the temptation to combine items like "meal and wine" since you can get them from different suppliers. Use formulas to view profit or loss in real-time if you're comfortable with them.
6. Include Your Experiential Costs
Not sure which expenses to include in your event experience list? The most typical ones to take into account while creating your budget are the ones listed below. To keep track of the details, you should list out all the different line items for each main expense.
● A/V gear
● programming (speakers or performers)
● Event branding and signage
● Attendee encounters
Some of your line items might change depending on whether your event is held in person or digitally. While you will save money on expenses like the location, decorations, and signs for totally virtual events, you might need to set aside more money for live streaming equipment or sending giveaways to participants.
7. Include Any Tech Costs
Your ability to make the most of your event budget depends greatly on your choice of technology. You must pick a ticketing partner who can assist you in offering an enjoyable registration procedure and an engaging mobile event app.
The technology you employ is especially crucial for a virtual, live-streamed event. Make sure you have a reliable internet connection, the appropriate video equipment, and perhaps even a sound engineer.
8. Promotional Expenses
There are numerous strategies to reduce the expense of your campaign. However, you must first ascertain the efficacy of your current promotion plan. Data has a significant impact on that.
Pay close attention to your marketing budget and the number of ticket sales generated by each campaign. Then allocate your funds to the areas that will provide the maximum return on investment, and discontinue any non-profit activities. If your team is small, get the most of your marketing budget by purchasing the appropriate technology and marketing tools for your occasion.
Step 3: Event Budget Best Practices
The following tips can assist you in keeping things under control and getting more use out of your budget, even if you are someone who adores keeping track of every receipt.
9. Think About Event ROI
In the end, your budget is crucial in figuring out your return on investment. Your event's overall cost may be influenced by your budget. Use it as a starting point moving forward so that you may achieve your objectives and increase your profit margin.
10. Have an Emergency Fund
The hours and days before an event are always unpredictable. Including some wiggle room in your budget offers you the breathing room you need to deal with unforeseen expenses, such as increasing your A/V order or higher-than-anticipated speaker fees. This lessens tension and makes sure that everything runs more smoothly.
11. Avoid Mistakes
Ignoring the budget as you plan is a typical event budget error. You may avoid letting things pile up in a heap by keeping up with new events in real-time by devoting a little bit of time each day (at least 10 minutes) to your budget. Making sure your budget is updated with the most recent information can be made easier with the use of event technology, such as an app you and your team can use to enter expenses.
12. Be Creative
Your budget is still refusing to budge. It's time to use your imagination to develop innovative ways to sell your event while providing attendees with a wonderful experience. Although you can't completely do away with marketing expenses, you may choose where to offset them.
Step 4: Create Your Event Budget Template
An empty spreadsheet can be intimidating if you're preparing a budget for your event from scratch. And more often than not, attempting to fit the financial aspects of your event into an out-of-date budget template you downloaded from the internet only complicates, rather than simplifies, your life.
Fortunately, you can make your own event budget template that will help you now and in the future with a little bit of upfront work.
When your budget is done and created, when you feel the time is right, you can start selling your tickets to your event and start promoting your event. Until then, follow this guide to help create your next event budget today.