One of the most critical steps in planning an event is creating a budget. Whether your organization is paying for the event, or you’re looking to cover the costs by charging a registration fee, a detailed budget is a must for ensuring good stewardship. Plan and hold an event without a budget and I can pretty much guarantee you will end up spending way more money than you could have imagined. Not good!
While budgeting for an event might seem overwhelming at first, following these 4 budget planning steps should help to keep your stress level to a minimum:
- Make a list of everything you need to hold the event – Budgeting an event is similar to packing for your vacation…inevitably you always forget something and end up paying more to replace it than if you would have packed it to begin with. The same is true with an event…it’s the things you forget that end up blowing your budget! Create a list outlining all the possible cost centers for your event and then add bullet points to each main category. (click here for a sample list of categories) Now that you have your list, it’s time to move on to #2…
- Determine costs for all the items on your list - After doing your research, determine how much money you need to spend on each aspect of the event. Also, be sure put some money in an “emergency/contigency” category to help cover anything you might have forgotten. This will make it a little easier to stay under or at budget.
- Determine your program/registration fee - Whether you are planning a break-even church retreat, or a profit-generating event, determining how much to charge for the event is very similar. Simply take the total amount of expenses from step #2 and divide by the number of people you realistically expect to attend the event. (Example, $10,000 in expenses divided by 100 expected attendees equals a $100/person program fee.) In my example, the $100/person program fee would allow the event to break-even (cover it’s costs)…if expenses remained at $10,000 or less and at least 100 people paid to attend.
- Under promise, over deliver - You’re probably more accustomed to seeing this phrase applied to customer service, but I believe it also applies to event budgeting…just in a little different way. Instead of under promising and over delivering, focus on under estimating your attendees and over estimating your expenses. If you do this and can still show a break-even budget, chances are pretty good your event will end up in the black and not the red!
Hopefully this was helpful to you? Let us know by leaving a comment below!