Budgeting

Budgeting and financial planning is an essential process in event management.

Budgeting for an event is an important indicator in assessing the viability of an event. Once a budget is underway it can be easy to monitor and is helpful with evaluating decisions around expenditure to avoid overspending, as well as identifying what income or funding is required.

An event budget can be utilised as a checklist to ensure important event components have been considered and/or organised. It is essential to figure out every moving part of your event that could incur a cost (expenditure) and how much money you require to pay for it (income).

Tips:
  • Create a list of all expected expenditure items and potential income sources. This list will vary depending on event size and type and may help to understand the viability of the event.
  • Allocate an estimated cost per expenditure item – obtain quotes wherever possible or research anticipated costs. Expenditure items may include: venue hire, personnel/staff, marketing and advertising, logistics (traffic management, ticketing systems, security, licencing and consents, etc), catering, health and safety, entertainment, licencing and permits etc.
  • Allocate an estimated potential income for each expected source – consider which of these are secured (income is confirmed and/or received) and unsecured (income that is anticipated but not yet confirmed). Income sources may include: sponsorship, funds/grants, ticket sales, registration/entry fees, exhibitors/vendors site sales, merchandise sales, advertising sales.
  • When receiving quotes, check if costs are GST inclusive or exclusive, as if not included, 15% will need to be added to the cost.
  • Calculating estimated income from ticket sales can be tricky particularly when you have different-priced tickets. Work out different scenarios for tickets sold, for example, if 100 tickets available, create three columns in your budget spreadsheet: Optimistic (100 tickets sold), Likely (55 tickets sold), and Pessimistic (25 tickets sold). With these three scenarios, if the budget is formulated correctly, you will be able to see the revenue for each scenario.
  • Obtain quotes where possible, from a few different businesses, so the budget is accurate and the cost-efficient option is found. Funders often require quotes when allocating grants and may fund different aspects of the budget.
  • Include two columns (Estimate and Actual) in your budget for the expenditure and income financials. As you spend money, enter in the Actual column – this will help keep you on track. If you overspend on some items, you can look to make savings on items not yet purchased.
  • Include a contingency fund (at least 5% of your budget) for any unforeseen expenses.
  • Be clear about which party (event organiser or performer/s) is responsible for performer travel costs eg. speakers, bands, and artists and include those costs in the budget if applicable. 
  • Include a ticket allocation for promotional activities such as competition giveaways or sponsor tickets.
  • Set goals/targets and track your progress – a budget is a moving target, however it is important to set realistic goals, review and update them throughout the event planning journey.
  • Consider multiple sources of income outside ticket sales and sponsorship such as:
    • Merchandise sales – offer attendees/participants a souvenir or provide additional benefits to sponsors through event-branded merchandise. Be aware of branding changes, for example, if you have bought 3 years worth of merchandise, ensure that your logos (or your sponsors) don’t change during that time. 
    • Exhibitors/vendor site sales – having hospitality or retail sites adds value to the event and provides a revenue source by way of a fee paid by stall holders. 
    • Funding and grants – prepare and apply for event funding and grants as they can help financially and assist with promotion of the event.  Learn more about Funding and Grants (Page under development).
    • Donations – receiving money from individuals is not a usual source of funding, although recently crowd-funding is becoming popular. Various websites have been set up where you can register your event and raise money to help get your event off the ground. Check out our Funding page to find out more (Page under development).
Useful Links:

Event budgeting tips and guides

Event budgeting and forecasting tools

Event budget templates

Accounting advice & software

Have you considered?
  • When does an event need to be GST registered?
  • Have you considered GST in costs?
  • Are employee contracts required for the different personnel involved within the event?