To put together a detailed budget for an event is not an easy task. If a detail is missed the whole project can be compromised. It is imperative to have rigorous control of an event’s budget to avoid surprises in the last stages of planning.

Below are essential steps that can ensure the success of your event:

  • Establish the total cost of the event. The first step when setting a budget for an event should be to work out what the total budget for the realisation of the event should be. The budget will determine:
  • The venue
  • The number of attendees
  • The menu
  • The marketing strategy to be used

This way, you will ensure that you do not go over budget. During the first planning phase, the biggest challenge is to match the objectives of the event with the marketing budget available to promote it. To facilitate that, formalise the different stages of the marketing plan with your leadership team and work out the ROI.

When calculating the budget, you must also account for ad-hoc expenses, e.g. a supplier does not show up on the day and a replacement needs to be hired at the last minute. In general, this type of service comes with a higher cost. A good way to avoid last minute no shows is to do your research – research on social media (for example) – read the reviews of the suppliers involved in your event.

Lastly, if no extra cost is required, the amount saved can be used to organise the next event.

Don’t just base your purchasing decision on the cost of goods/services but consider the best value for money proposition – tailor your purchases to the type of event you are organising.

  • Create a checklist. The next phase of the planning process after establishing the budget is to produce a checklist detailing all the planning steps. Tailor the budget to the type of event you are planning, e.g. an internal event of 30 attendees won’t necessarily need professional catering. On the other hand, if the attendance is higher professional catering will be required.

Remember that certain services can never be cut out of the budget: security and cleanliness, for example, are essential to ensure any type of action. Besides that, the number of attendees will dictate:

  • The food
  • Venue
  • Number of contractors
  • Promotional gifts offered by the company
  • Have a spreadsheet

With the schedule complete, the next course of action is the financial planning of the event.

Generate a spreadsheet to track the costs of the event in a practical and objective way. Fortunately, the web provides a variety of templates.

In my opinion, it is always more efficient to produce a template tailored to your event. Below, are the common items that should be in each column:

  • Unit value
  • Quantity required
  • Estimated total
  • Total spent

The worksheet also helps estimate the time required for each stage of the event. This way, you can communicate in a coordinated way with your team.

Do not forget to stay on top of all payments and due dates so that everything is accounted for and the accountancy is done accurately. The proofs of payment are also important to avoid issues arising in the future.

  • Research reliable suppliers

Obtain at least 3 quotes before accepting the suppliers’ agreements and negotiate bulk buying. This way, you can adjust the direction of the budget in accordance with the priorities of the event and always look to invest in activities with the higher ROI.

Always remember to include extra costs in the budget that can be incurred if, for example, extra hours or extra services are required outside what has been contracted.

Now that you are in possession of the most important tips to plan a budget for events, do not forget to put this knowledge into practice!