Setting and Managing the Budget for the Event 

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The size of your event is largely determined by your budget. It deserves your full attention.

defining the event budget

You have determined your objectives and your target group(s). Now let’s look at the budget. How do you set it? And how much of the budget will you spend on each element? And what if you run the risk of exceeding it?

What is my total budget?

This is literally the first thing you need to know before you can start budgeting for your event. Do you base your event on a set budget and plan around it, or do you plan your event first and then see how much it will cost?

Tools for creating your budget

To plan your budget, you can simply create an Excel spreadsheet and enter your costs and expenses one by one.

There are also a lot of reliable but paid budgeting and management applications such as Planning pod, Smartsheet or Grenadine. The price of the application depends on its performance, capabilities, and professionalism.

What should you clearly include in your budget planning?

The following items should preferably be included in your budget. You can of course add others, but the following are the minimum requirements. During the course of the project, you will also be able to juggle the different costs so that the account will be accurate on the day.

Item: Enter all the individual items you want to budget in this column. View your entire event from start to finish and note anything that may cost money.

Certainly don’t limit yourself to the most expensive aspects, such as the venue, catering, and AV, but also consider the smaller costs such as marketing, transportation, booking a DJ and/or performers, hostess service, goodie bag, tips, etc. So list EVERYTHING. And as detailed as possible.

Take note of each item separately and try not to group anything together, not even if it seems logical at first (like food and drinks). Otherwise, it will be more difficult to juggle these budgets.

Description: describe each item in a short and succinct manner, but be as clear and specific as possible. Is this important? Yes, because everyone will know exactly what you are talking about and even an outsider will be able to assess whether something is essential to the success of your event. Like your boss or client.

Volumes needed: Quantities are crucial when setting a budget. Even the smallest change can have a major impact on your budget, and this can go both ways. So give it enough attention.

Estimated cost: Rates vary. For example, one event site may cost significantly more than its neighbor. In this case, it is often sufficient to enter an order of magnitude, so that you can get an idea of your budget.

Actual cost: enter the actual cost here. This point is especially important for a post-evaluation and is valuable information for the next event.

At work

Once you have all the cost items on your schedule, it’s time to make these cost estimates as realistic as possible. This will give you a clear idea of your final budget. For example, it is a good idea to set a maximum cost per participant in advance.

As you go along, regularly divide the total estimated cost (at that moment) by the number of guests and you will know directly where you stand.

Looking for prices

Keep in mind that most suppliers will only give you general or approximate prices if you don’t ask for a specific quote (and you can’t do that yet, because remember that you don’t know exactly when or where your event will take place, nor do you know the precise size). But this way you will have a clear idea of what you can get, and at what price.

It is clearly worthwhile to use an additional spreadsheet with your different suppliers and their conditions. This way you will always know who to contact. And you will also be able to compare prices, of course.

Also, plan for a disaster fund

Even if you plan ahead, you can never be sure that something will go wrong. So it’s a good idea to take this into account: a special fund is not an unnecessary luxury.

What can go wrong? Think of the worst-case scenario – the worst thing that could happen – and make your list. What about cancellation fees? Unlikely, but not impossible… How much should I book? About 15% of the total budget is sufficient in most cases. Usually.

Is the budget slipping?

Is your budget already in danger of slipping during the design phase? Then it is likely that you have been too optimistic, especially if it is your first time. But don’t panic just yet. It’s time to start thinking about sponsorship.


Finding sponsors for an event always pays off, although it may take a lot of effort on your part. Awareness is essential for many companies, and many will pay for you to help them improve theirs. So be sure to build a compelling sponsorship case.

If you work for a chemical giant organizing an international trade show with high-profile speakers, you’ll naturally be looking for different types of sponsors than you would if your local Boy Scout patrol was organizing a play. These, too, will find supporters in local businesses and bank branches. However, budgets will vary widely.

Making a splash with goodie bags

Goodie bags always have that effect: everyone wants one. And that’s a good thing for you, and for your sponsors. The best part is that it won’t cost you anything.

Your sponsors give you free gadgets with their names and logo. And often, they pay a fee to be present in your goodie bag. It all depends on the size of your event and its importance.

You can of course put things in the goodie bag yourself, as a thank you to the people who attended the event. But it will cost you something. But this approach is good for your reputation and very nice.

Paying admission?

You can also consider charging admission. Think about it carefully. If you are organizing a prestigious charity gala or an international award ceremony, you have carte blanche. For lesser-known and unique events, it’s risky.

Charging admission can work to your advantage or disadvantage. If it is to your advantage, your budget will be grateful. If it’s not, you may end up with a room that is far too big.

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