• Jenelyn Bacani

Budgeting for an event in 2018: What to keep in mind


When it comes to events, money talks. This article is a must read, for every stakeholder in an event (planners and participants alike).

As a stakeholder in an event, it is your responsibility to communicate well with vendors, suppliers, clients, and your team to avoid miscommunication that can lead to gaps in budgeting, and ultimately potential losses.

Budgeting is not child’s play. It is perhaps, the most averted task in the event planning process.

So, here are some tips to guide you and keep you in control of the financial aspects of your event:

#1 Set goals for your event, and prioritize

Set goals and stick with it.

"What is more important: Aesthetics, entertainment, catering or attendee experience?" Well, they all are. What matters more is your requirements, and the right balance.

Identify your requirements based on your audience demographics and event theme. This will help you prioritize right, when allocating funds.

Balance is the key and it won’t hurt to conduct thorough research of what's necessary for your type of event, and what's not, before getting overwhelmed with unnecessary debacle.

Once you’re crystal clear with your goal, it would be easier to allocate funds to each component of the event and prioritize one over the other if needed.

#2 Forecast ROI

This is the most crucial part of pre-planning because it will give you an overview of what’s coming, better prepared than not ;)

Once you have outlined the components of the event and allocated an estimated cost to each of them, you can already predict how well-planned your budget it.

Remember though, that these are only predictions- expenses and revenue can change over time and regardless of your budget. It is how you play with your resources and skills that can make a difference.

Here are the major components of your event, that you must allocate funds for. If you've got no idea how to budget for an event, this is a good place to start from.

  • Venue booking: hotel event rooms, public halls, community clubs, etc.

  • Resources: speakers, mediators, and ground staff

  • Catering: light refreshments, or full fledged meals

  • Equipment: A/V equipment, stage setup, display banners, projector screens, etc.

  • Marketing: PPC ads, social media, flyers, brochures, etc.

  • Emergency funds: because things can always go south

#3 Smart budgeting: Leverage resources to optimize costs

Maximize your team

The smartest way to control and optimize your event's budget is to not use the budget all that much.

Review the elements and see where you can leverage existing resources. Perhaps hiring a film crew is not necessary if you have a dedicated team that can handle the media coverage and production.

Smart budgeting is not just about trimming costs, it's about reducing expenditures by leveraging existing resources.

Maximize your negotiation skills (as an organizer)

Your negotiation skills play a major role in budgeting.

Building a good relationship with service providers and suppliers can reduce a great deal of the cost. You will be amazed of the flexible rates they can give you once you establish a good business relationship with them.

Build your network and grow your connections among the right people ;)

#4 Pay attention to details and don't overlook "small things"

Budgeting for an event is the best time to be obsessive over minutiae.

No matter how organized or experienced you are in the business, errors inevitably happen and cause overspending if not reviewed thoroughly.

Remember, the last thing you want is to churn through your budget and cripple the event, just because you missed out a small detail, and ended up paying more.

The most common mistake event planners make is being complacent with "small things".

Umbrellas and raincoats are well prepped for an outdoor event but not so much on the sound system that might need the same shelter as the attendees.

In most cases, the things that you thought would need the least attention, end up demanding it the most.

#5 Create a contingency plan and bring along a spare tire

It’s not that we’re expecting a catastrophe or a mishap to take place. Being prepared doesn't make you a pessimist.

A wise event planner must always be one step ahead of his or her game and being prepared for mishaps is an important aspect of it.

A contingency plan is the best decision you will ever make once the unfortunate event hits you- the hard disk drive gets corrupted and the audience wait patiently for something to come onto the blank projector screen. But smart you; you have your presentation backed up on another spare drive. Unless it was really your lucky day, it’s very unlikely that the second hard disk will also be corrupted.

Keep backups of presentations and other materials on hand. They will come in handy.

#6 Forget that you have an emergency fund

The danger of having extra funds for rainy days is that it gives you silly excuses to spend on certain areas of your event that do not really need spending.

Just because you value the quality of linens or because the venue is spectacular and the budget is tight, doesn't mean you can slash a portion of your safety net for it.

Big no. There’s a reason why it’s called an emergency fund. No matter how prepared you are, there will always be unexpected expenditures along the way. So forget for a while that you have a stash of money in the vault.

#7 Get an insurance policy for your event

An insurance policy must be an integral part of your event, although it may be the least of your worries. "What are the odds of an accident happening on a well-organized affair", right?

It is always best to be on the safe side, specially during live outdoor events where the likelihood of something going wrong is quite high- accidents, riots, what not.

Having a General Liability or Liquor Liability Coverage will keep you from the danger of repair damages, medical expenses and legal fees. Review the coverage of the policy and make sure that all your concerns are addressed accordingly.

About Stride Plus Events

Stride Plus is an events organizing and management company based in the UAE, focused on business, networking and community events.

Learn more about our services here.

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