How to: Put Together an Event Budget
Putting on a corporate event is the perfect opportunity to grow your business, drum up interest and improve overall company perception. But you want to make sure that in the end you get out more than what you put in. Here we set out our tips and tricks for putting together a budget that is bound to get leadership approval and is a recipe for event success.
Ask yourself, what are the goals of your event?
The whole purpose of an event budget is to ensure you achieve what you set out to, not just to keep tabs on spending, so allocate funds to the most important aspects of the function, the parts that you know will lead to success, whether this is for an intimate VIP lunch in the private dining room of a restaurant, or a large-scale conference.
Look back at previous budgets
Whether this is a budget that you yourself have previously drawn up, or if it is an event that occurs annually that you are now in charge of, consult with your peers and use templates that have worked in the past to save time.
Map out the details
Don’t leave anything out when drawing up your event budget. Every tiny cost incurred should be included within it’s specific section of the budget plan, and be detailed about it. This could include catering, room set up, lighting, decor, goody bags, the list goes on. For example, if you are ordering branded t-shirts to include in a swag bag for guests, note down sizes ordered, cost per shirt, delivery date etc. This will not only help with any decision making needed down the line, but will also be helpful for anyone referring back to your budget in the future.
Make sure all stakeholders are on the same page
Be open and clear with all team members in charge of financial oversight of the event, as well as all potential external vendors. You don’t want to get caught out by budget cuts or hidden costs. Be transparent and detailed with your budget to avoid any oversights.
The basic breakdown
Once you’ve got clear objectives, it’s time to breakdown the different elements of your event budget. How you do so depends on your own practices, but here’s a basic breakdown
- Venue and catering
This will tend to be the biggest expense, so make sure you keep your options open, check out function spaces your company has worked with before, and when you do settle on a venue, ensure it aligns with the goals set out in our first tip. Be clear with the venue about what you expect from them, and whether you will require services provided from them such as catering staff and AV.
This is one of the biggest attractions for invitees, so if you want an impressive panel of speakers, you’re going to have to loosen the purse strings.
You want to create a lasting image in the minds of your guests so be sure to set aside a part of your budget to signage and visual elements that will bring your event brand to life.
Whether this is via a paid search, paid social media or by hiring a PR company, allocating part of your budget to promotion of your event could be a worthwhile investment to entice potential attendees.
Return on investment
At the end of the day, a corporate event should be an investment, where money well spent is money earned. Take into account your event ROI when putting together your budget in order to allocate your funds to get the most out of your event.
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