Event planning can seem daunting at first, with all the many factors to consider for the event’s success. Whether it’s a small party, a wedding or a huge corporate event, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! All it takes is a clear understanding of the planning process, and making sure you’re really prepared.
First you must identify the purpose of your event. Don’t move until the event budget is locked down! A comprehensive budget helps track the event’s costs, and ensure you don’t overspend. You won’t need a fancy budgeting software, a spreadsheet will do. Get a quick look of a simple budget template here.
We’ve compiled a list to building a basic event budget, with easy tips on decreasing costs without compromising the quality of your event:
Categorize Your Event Budget
Most events, no matter how big or small, will have basic expenditures such as rental of venue, catering, equipment, activities expenses and logistics. If relevant, add the cost of entertainment/speakers and decor expenses. Always start with a ballpark figure, before the actual cost breakdown in each category. Overestimating your costs is always safer, and you’ll feel much better when you make an effort to account for all items. Don’t forget to note who’s in charge of expenditure in each category!
Miscellaneous Expenses and Contingency Fund
For items that don’t fall in any of your fixed categories, put them in miscellaneous expenses. Don’t forget to set aside at least 10 to 20% of the event budget, as your Plan B. It is key to assume the worst, and to be ready for plans or items that you’d never consider. For example, the unpredictable weather may require you to standby with a canopy for your outdoor event. This way, the contingency fund you set up will help from going over budget.
Summarize Projected and Actual Expenses
Once you start receiving quotations, you will begin to have an idea of your event’s total expenses. List everything down, and make sure you account for everything. This way, if you’re dealing with clients, they will be informed of what to expect and how much they are projected to spend. When the event is over, regroup to go through your budget again. Compare the projected budget and the actual budget. Determine the success of sticking to the budget, and calculate how much you managed to save. This will come in handy when you plan your next project.
Bank on Sponsorship
If you’re planning for a larger scale event, selling tickets or getting people to register may not be enough. Help your budget to cut cost with a sound sponsorship proposal. Potential sponsors must be convinced that investing in your event will help them too. Tailor your advertising solutions to each potential sponsor, and provide the numbers to attract them. Set sponsorship levels, so that companies can decide on a level that fits their needs and budget as well. Don’t forget the Sponsorship Rule: Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up. You have to chase them, not the other way around.
Alternatively, look out for public funds. Depending on the type and purpose of the event you’re planning, check with the community relevant to your event cause to sponsor with the public funds available.
It’s All About the Right Supplier
This is arguably one of the most challenging factors in event planning. When you find a supplier you can trust, you can negotiate the price and ask for discounts. Too many different suppliers mean you’ll have to pay for a lot of hands, additional charges will apply. Don’t be afraid to ask your supplier for the right price! Leverage on your Plan B, and don’t be afraid to let your supplier know you’re considering other options. Chances are, you’ll get the price you asked for.
Don’t Pay If It’s Free
There are many tools available online, to help you with promoting your event. Look out for free online tools to assist in designing flyers, or brochures. Don’t underestimate the power of social media! Traditional advertising isn’t enough. It’s also tempting to add many elements to bring your event to life, but it’s unnecessary to hire exotic reptiles for your “Save the Wildlife” event. Get pro-active, and talk to your local nature centre or shelter. It doesn’t matter what kind of event you’re planning, additional external support will definitely ease the burden. Look out for experts, and organizations that can help with activities of your event.
As the event manager, total control of the budget and ensuring it doesn’t overflow demonstrates your event management skills. Building a structured budget, and sticking to it, is the first step to ensuring an event’s success!
What are your ideas and tips on event budgeting? Share with us in the space below!
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