One of the most important things to consider when measuring the success of an event is whether or not you were able to deliver the goods on budget.
This is why it is so important to set a carefully planned and structured budget to help with monitoring costs, understanding what you can afford and measuring performance.
Having a sound budget in place from the outset will help you to balance your creative ideas, with what you can feasibly afford and keep you on track to deliver a positive return on investment.
Here are some budgeting tips to help you save money when planning your next event:
Know Your Budget
Before you begin planning an event, work out your budget. This needs to be in place well before you begin looking at venues and caterers, to save you potential waste of time through looking at suppliers you cannot afford.
Make sure you break down each and every category and item you need to pay for and allocate budget for each. For example, you may need to budget for the following costs:
- Guest speakers
- Other event collateral
Knowing this before you start planning will help you to stay within your limits.
Don’t Overlook Small Costs
It may be tempting to focus on the larger costs and forget about the smaller costs, but be mindful that these costs can quickly add up, particularly where you are hosting an event for a large number of guests.
To help you stay on budget, be sure to allocate money to be spent on items such as:
- Printing for handouts, presentations
- Costs for signage and banners
- Marketing and promotional costs
- On-site registration services
Work Within Budget
We’ve all heard the saying ‘champagne taste on a beer budget’ and it’s one that can easily be applied to event planning. It can be tempting to ‘go big or go home’, but if you haven’t the budget for this, then you need to get creative.
Hosting the best event isn’t always about having the biggest budget and the most expensive venue or catering. Sometimes it’s about creating something memorable by going against the grain and doing something different.
So if you don’t have the budget for something flashy, think about ways you can deliver value by creating a unique and memorable experience for your guests.
You may be able to save money by being flexible with your suppliers. For example, you may be able to negotiate different dates with your venue or caterer that allow for discounts. Though a word of warning here, if this is a quiet date for your venue, consider why and whether this might negatively impact your guests willingness to attend on that date.
Furthermore, there may be other ways in which you can work with suppliers to negotiate discounts. For example, if appropriate, you could offer your supplier the chance to put a marketing flyer in your goody bags where appropriate. Always think of ways in which you can help one another out to negotiate a deal.
Avoid Sit-Down Meals
Catering can constitute a large proportion of an event budget and rightly so, it is often a key element of your attendees experience.
One way to save money, where appropriate, is to consider a buffet-style meal instead of a sit-down. This can offer savings both in terms of reduced staff requirements and the food itself.
Although a buffet may feel less luxurious than a sit-down meal, it does have the positive effect of increasing the opportunity for guests to network at events as they mingle around the food, they spend more time engaged in conversation with a greater number of guests.
Look for Sponsors
If you are attracting a niche group of people to an event, the chances are there will be a business out there that would benefit from marketing to them. This is where event sponsorship comes in. You can bridge the gap between the interested business and your attendees and charge said company for access to your audience.
When approaching potential sponsors, take the time to make sure you fully understand the benefits to them of sponsoring your event and approach them to see what they might be willing to offer in return.