How to create an event budget

The Complete Guide to Creating an Event Budget

Creating an event budget is a crucial step for planning any event. Learn everything there is to know about budgeting for an event in our complete guide!
November 20, 2022

It’s understood that no matter the industry or occasion, budgeting requires careful consideration. Along with setting goals and objectives, creating an event budget is a crucial step for planning any event. Learn everything there is to know about budgeting for an event in our complete guide!

What is an Event Budget?

Simply stated, an event budget is a detailed forecast or estimate of what would be occurring financially at an event or occasion you have in mind. Many people believe that taking the time to budget only occurs during the pre-planning stages, but it plays an important role throughout the event and even afterwards. Some key aspects to apply when establishing a budget is identifying expected expenditures of the event, estimating the cost and listing out potential sources of income. 

Because the majority of the event budget may consist of estimation of cost and revenue,  including some best practice tactics can be helpful to serve as a guide to refer to in the future. There are several approaches to use when creating a budget but every report should have the following elements in mind: income, expenditures, estimated expenses, actual expenses, calculating the difference between the estimated and actual expenses and in-depth details about the metrics about. 

The Importance of Budgeting in Event Management

Having a fully functional event planning budget will help you in the long run because you’ll be able to closely monitor your expenses and profitability. By creating an event budget and abiding by it, the planning process for you should run much smoother because you’ll be able to to calculate your ROI, reduce irrelevant expenses and provide data points for prospective event sponsors and/or stakeholders. 

Aspects of Event Budgeting Every Planner Should Consider

There is so much to consider as a host when planning an event! To make sure you’re on top of all of your tasks, try creating an event budget breakdown. This may be essential in your event planning journey, because it should help you stay on track from overspending, prepare for any conveniences and consider all details. Below we will touch on some of the top aspects to consider while in the process of event budgeting. 

1. Compensating Your Staff

As they are a part of the production and success of your event, it is a must that your staff and anyone who assists you are fairly paid for their work and effort. Once included in your report, the event director can come up with proper payment for whomever is involved.

2. Travel, Stay and Accommodations

Depending on the type of event you plan to host, consider whether or not your guest needs to stay overnight, travel from different locations, or special accommodations. 

3. Utilizing Public Relations or Marketing Tactics

Serving as an important factor for promotion, incorporating PR and marketing into the event budget would be the smart way to reach potential attendees. Because investors and stakeholders may expect a profit from attendance, be selective with which marketing platforms you use and consider utilizing anything that is free and can be used personally.

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4. Facility Expenses

This type of expense is the funds needed to acquire the venue and account from lighting, heating, furniture and security. After conducting research and discussion with the venue manager, you would estimate this expense based on your better judgment. 

5. Food

Depending on the amount of people who attend, you may need to create a large estimate for the expense of food. How many people will attend? What type of food are you interested in serving? How many entrees would you like to have on the menu? These are questions to think about when planning out your budget for your report. 

6. Considering Logistics

When planning out your event budget, check to see if any insurance, permits or contracts are required. These expenses are most relevant depending on the type of venue that is chosen.

What is an event budget?

Steps to Making the Perfect Event Budget

1. Establishing Your Event’s Needs

Making sure you create a comprehensive budget, you have the chance to set the foundation for the event by outlining all the aspects that play a role such as: any guest speakers you would want to invite, the type of event that will be hosted, the objective that will be covered during the event, the number of expected attendees, and potential sponsors to collaborate with.

2. Make a High Priority List

After making observations and collecting data from step one, you can now start listing the must-have factors you would like to include in your budget plan such as: marketing collateral, catering plans, decorations, the venue location, event promotions and furniture rentals and any technology equipment. It may also be helpful to create an estimated cost for each of your must-have factors to give you a better idea of how much you may need to spend.

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3. Estimate Your Expenses

Now that you have created your high priority list, it is time to expand and finalize the overall expenditure. Some actions this step would require would be: receiving quotes from potential vendors, updating actual expenses and monitoring your contingency fund.

4. Ensuring Your Event is On Budget During Execution 

It’s an extremely rewarding feeling once you have gotten to this point. Not only did you get passed the planning process but you also made it to the point where your event has gone live! Some key points to keep in mind during this step is to take note of any additional/surprise expenses that came up during the event because this is where having a contingency fund comes in handy.

5. Create a Post-Event Budget Evaluation

Once you have successfully hosted your event and record notes of personal feedback, making a post evaluation for your event’s budget should flow easily for you! Your main priorities for this step is to overlook your budget to ensure every income and expense is accounted for and evaluate to make sure your financial objectives are resolved.

6. Utilize Expenditure Calculations

To conclude your step process on creating an event budget, you then calculate the total of your expenses. Whether you choose to use an event management solution platform or calculate manually, be sure to check that all total incomes and expenses are correct and match the initial budget plan. As a host, you may have to share your budget plan with any stakeholders or sponsors who contributed to the event or use this report for future events.

How to Begin a Budget 

A great starting point when creating your budget is establishing what type of financial success you would like to achieve and the method you will use to measure it. You then would want to keep track of the factors that will cost you as your event is occurring. Lastly, it’s important to remember to frequently review your budget to ensure that you are staying within your means. 

Questions to Ask When Building Your Event Budget

Will there be a balance between event income and expenses?

The amount of money you expect to earn from your event can have a major effect on your overall budget. Generated from sponsorships, retail or ticket sales, there are a variety of sources where your income can stem from. By making note of these estimates, you are able to demonstrate the possible ROI and true cost from the event. 

Would a hybrid event need two budgets?

Although “hybrid event” essentially means the combination of two different audiences, as a host you should take into consideration the needs and interests of both types of audiences. By doing so, you can ensure the money you are investing in your event won’t go to waste towards irrelevant elements. If you need any additional help on satisfying your attendees’ needs, be sure to check out these seven tips on establishing success for a virtual or hybrid event. 

How much will an event planner cost me?

The cost of an event planner should depend on the experience they obtain, if they work alongside the venue director and/or the type of event they will be planning. Whether the event planner is in-house or referred by an outside source, this too can determine the cost of hiring an event planner. Some factors to take into account when hiring an event planner is the type of event industry they work in, any vendor relationships they obtain, their years of experience, their references and their availability schedule.

How to stay within budget for your event

13 Tips for Event Budget Success

Whether you are creating a budget from scratch or given a budget to follow by a financial advisor, there’s a way to utilize a budget for various types of events; the key is to know how much money to save and how much to spend. Follow these tips along with other important factors to achieve budgeting success.

1. Repurposing and Reutilizing Content

After executing a successful event, you are left with content, notes and feedback that can be used for a future event and can ultimately save you money. The challenging part about this budgeting tip is knowing how to properly distribute the content and information while still generating revenue. 

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2. Outcome-Based Budgeting

To help stakeholders understand the significance of your budget, try using the approach to correlate the value of the event goals that are trying to be met. For example, if you were to demonstrate the type of equipment and technology that is needed for an event, stakeholders can then see the importance and benefits of your plans

3. Remain Financially Responsible 

In order to host the perfect event, it may seem easier to spend now, and consider the consequences later but that could potentially harm the entire budget and profitability you are expecting to earn. A pro tip with being financially responsible is making sure your accounts payable and accounts receivable are solid and using data to determine where to most productively allocate your revenue.

4. Introduce the Sponsors to a New Prospective 

When planning and discussing your budget, be sure to mention how projected expenses will benefit not only yourself as a host but also the sponsors and the virtual audience. Including sponsors in your budget planning is great for balancing out your costs and possibly earning extra money from your event.

5. Understand the Purchase Power of Your Attendees 

Getting a better understanding of your target audience can help you decide on an ideal ticket price for your event. Some information and factors to take into account when planning the invitation list is: learning their level of income, where they are located geographically, their choice of profession and prior events they’ve attended. 

6. Analyzing the Expense Trend 

By performing a deep analysis of the past event data, you’ll be able to get a better idea of the overall event’s performance, which areas require more financial assistance and how aligned the budget was with the event. While conducting the analysis, be sure to take notes on any improvements that need to be made and do further research on your competitors, your target audience’s interests and any new budget trends that have been created. 

7. Take Advantage of Pre-Planning 

The sooner you can start planning for your event, the better! By pre-outlining an ideal budget, you could get a better idea of sponsors, vendors and stakeholders you could use and how much it would cost to have them involved.

8. Be Mindful of the Cost of High

Priority Factors- When planning for your next event, be ready to make important financial decisions from the must-haves list. Some significant factors to prioritize on your budget list is the venue of the event, the food being served and the technology being used. 

9. Be Descriptive! 

With using as many accurate details and being as comprehensive as possible, be sure to attentive to all details of financial sources even if they are small. Small details can make the biggest difference when creating an event budget.

10. Invest in a Contingency Fund

As we all wish things could go perfectly planned without any hurdles, you must always prepare for the unexpected! An essential part of your backup plan is putting aside at least 20% finances towards a contingency fund. 

11. Be Realistic with Costs 

When writing a budget plan, try not to minimize the price of some of your must-have factors, although it may seem ideal at the moment. Especially if you plan to present this report to sponsors or stakeholders, you want to remain credible and honest to establish a trustworthy bond. 

12. Weigh As Many Options for Venues 

Choosing a venue can be one of the most important decisions when creating an event budget so remember to be strategic when making your selection. If you’re able to, try asking the venue representative if additional expenses will be added on such as catering, photo booths or venue insurance. 

13. Keep Internal Investors in the Loop 

Once you have finalized and did a final look over your budget, share a copy of the report with any important members contributing to execution of the event. This should establish cohesiveness and encourage feedback amongst the group. Here are some strategies you could apply as a host to attract potential investors for your next event. 

Choosing the Best Event Budget Templates and Tools

Event templates and tools are designed to make the budgeting process run much more smoothly and quickly. By utilizing an event management platform, your team and yourself will be able to work diligently and productively amongst each other without any interference. This is also a great way to keep track of the progress that is being made and tasks that still need to be completed. Below we will list out five of the most efficient tools to look into. 

  1. Click-Up
  2. Wrike
  3. Trello
  4. Asana

How to Activate Your Event Budget

Once you’ve gotten the hang of creating a budget report, it should become less stressful and more natural/easy to complete. Creating an event budget ensures all the money that is invested and projected to be needed will be well worth spending. If possible, try to get a head start on planning the budget if you don’t have all the details you need right away. 

When making decisions for your must have aspects, remember it is acceptable to spend more money for better quality results and/or options. With prioritizing your budget list, you are able to get a better idea of which aspects hold more value to the event. 

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