Where Should We Hold An Event?

This is the first of five short articles providing general information about fiscal budgeting for an event. The location of the event is one of the primary aspects that can drive the budget of the event.  In many ways, where the event is held can impact many other attributes to the budget. Here in Delaware, organizations have access to hundreds of possible locations up and down the state, as well as in the surrounding cities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and DC.  The costs of venues in each of these locations vary significantly. As you are planning an event, here is a non-exhaustive list of five things to think about or ask when considering a venue. 

1.     Is the venue available during the time frame we are looking to hold the event? The earlier you plan, the more likely it is that the venue will be available. 

2.     How many people does the venue hold? Depending on the event and the projected number of attendees, you may have spacing limitations. Venues may also have multiple rooms available that hold different numbers of people, which may also be contingent on whether or not (or how) food is being served.

3.     Does the venue provide catering or is there a list of preferred vendors that we are required to use? The answer to this question depends on the venue. In answering this question, the venue should provide a sales sheet of the costs for their catering, which should be used in further analyzing the budget for the event.

4.     Has the venue held an event such as _____ before? Sometimes it is helpful to be able to build on the venue’s experiences with holding a similar event in the past. They may have suggestions or ideas that could further refine your own event.

5.     What are the rental costs and terms of payment? Again, this is important as a function of the pre-planned budget. Some of these costs are negotiable, others are not. Once the venue is chosen, the bottom line projected cost needs to be factored into the ticket and sponsorship price so that the venue’s expenses are covered.

The conversations with these venues will undoubtedly lead to other questions, but these are a few general questions that should always be asked (and updated each year as venues are evaluated and re-evaluated). After the visit or phone call with these venues, the volunteer on your committee responsible for this task should be able to provide a short update the planning committee for further planning and evaluation as part of the decision making process.