We've Decided On An Event. Now What?

Once the new event opportunity has been assessed and decided on (see planning questions to think about), the next series of questions to ask involve how to budget for the event. Fiscal budgeting becomes an important thing to consider and evaluate throughout the planning process. There are many facets to budgeting, including the costs of venue, promotion, and amenities. I plan on elaborating on these things in different ways, but in the meantime, here is a non-exhaustive list of five things to think about when initially considering the financial budget for an event.

1.     Where do you want the event to be held? Location, location, location! Choosing the location depends on the size of the event, how many people are expected to attend, and who is expected to attend. At a minimum, your organization should get at least three quotes on viable venues each year.

2.     When do you want the event to be held? If you have planned far enough in advance (and assuming your date is not pre-set in stone), you should be able to determine any cost savings by having it in month (or day) X as opposed to month (or day) Y. Take, for example, weddings. Generally, Friday night weddings are less expensive than Saturday night weddings, even in June.

3.     What kind of food do you want at the event? Food (and alcohol) are often a large cost when factoring in the entire event. Potential venues should be able to give you a snapshot of its food and beverage pricing, including whether that pricing changes from day to day (e.g., during the week or Friday/Saturday/Sunday) or month to month (e.g., peak season vs. off-season).

4.     How can I promote this event? There are multiple ways to do this, and some are better than others depending on the event. Promotional costs need to be built into the budget and may depend on what other promotional strategies an organization is doing.

5.     What else should we have at the event to make it memorable for the attendees? Prizes, a keynote speaker, gift bags, etc. all cost money.

There are more things to think about, but these should help get the budgetary planning for any basic new event started.

Do you have any other things that are important in the preliminary budgetary planning for an event? Please feel free to comment or post.