Event Planning Guide

»11. Event Budgets

As you sit down to prepare your budget, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the objectives of your event are clearly defined.

  • Remember, when your expenses exceed your budget in one area, you will need to raise more financial support or most likely need to cut expenses in another area. 

  • If you are hosting a revenue-generating (fundraising) event, you will want to identify your break-even point (the point at which the revenue generated at the event is sufficient to cover the expenses of hosting the event).  See Section 13 - Fundraisers, Sponsorships, & Donations for policies and restrictions on certain types of fundraisers.

Most budgets will require you to project and track some or all of the following:

  • Fixed expenses: These will include things like speaker fees, room rentals and marketing, that will not change despite the attendance at the event.

  • Variable expenses: These will include items like food, beverages and transportation, which will vary according to how many guests attend your event.

  • Indirect expenses: Often overlooked, these include paid student staff hours and supplies that may be needed during the course of the event.

  • Hidden expenses: No matter how experienced you are at preparing an event budget, hidden expenses nearly always occur so you should leave some room in your budget for them. These types of expenses often include things like rush or overnight fees for items you may have ordered at the last minute, taxes, and overtime for employees.

  • Revenue: The income for your event may come from registration fees or ticket sales, monetary or in-kind donations, etc.

Within each of these categories there will be multiple line items for expenses such as entertainment,food and beverages, facility costs, personnel, insurance, equipment rentals, signage and decorations.

For a sample event budget to use when planning your event, reference the Event Budget Worksheet.

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