Tips for Keeping Your Event on Budget

top view of woman with calculator calculating an event budgetWhether you’re new to the world of event planning or you’ve been planning gatherings for years, budgeting is one of the most important things you need to have a solid grasp of.

It can also be one of the most challenging aspects of planning an event, especially if you have a limited budget to work with.

At New York Meetings, we’ve been helping organizations of all kinds plan events in New York State for years. Our members have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to coordinating and budgeting for conferences, athletic events, corporate gatherings and more. With that in mind, we’ve put together a handful of helpful tips to keep you on target when it comes to the budget for your next event!

How to Stick to Your Budget When Coordinating an Event

Start the Budget Process Well Ahead of Time

This may seem like a no-brainer since you’ll obviously need to have a good idea of your budget when you start the event planning process. But it’s worth mentioning, especially since many event planners don’t realize just how much it will benefit them to start the budgeting process well in advance of the event.

Your budget will determine many things about your event, from the venues you should be considering to the catering options you can afford and the number of guests you can accommodate. Having a solid estimate of your budget up front will greatly simplify the planning process and will help to prevent financial shortcomings that force you to make last minute changes.

Keep Careful Track of Funding

Knowing what you have to work with in terms of a budget and keeping careful track of any changes and adjustments that are made is incredibly important when it comes to sticking to an event budget.

A good rule of thumb is to adhere to a budget that you know will be fully funded. In other words, if you’re waiting on grants to be finalized or you have a feeling certain sponsorships may fall through, do what you can to avoid relying on them.

Spreadsheets are very helpful if you’re working to keep track of financial contributions from various sources. And while it may involve some extra correspondence, it’s well worth it to confirm sponsorships and funding early in the planning process so you have a solid idea of what your true budget is as you initiate the planning process.

Leave Room For Unexpected Expenses

No matter what type of event you’re planning, you should be expecting the unexpected when it comes to expenses. Whether you’re coordinating a small corporate gathering or an industry conference that will draw thousands of attendees, chances are costs will crop up that you hadn’t budgeted for.

With this in mind, leave yourself a buffer when it comes to your budget use. You’ll want to have a contingency built in to cover unforeseen expenses. Depending on the size and type of event you’re planning, this buffer will vary but plan to leave between 10 and 20% of your total budget open for covering the unexpected. You’ll be glad you did!

And if no contingencies come up? Well, that just means you saved on your overall event budget! You can also use your leftover funding to splurge on upgrades to make your event stand out even more.

Shop Your Options

Part of making the most of your budget is shopping your options when it comes to venues, vendors, caterers, and more. This is especially important if you have a limited budget that you need to stretch a long way.

While it will likely involve extra leg work, do your due diligence and review your options before landing on the parties you’ll partner with to make your event a success. Be sure to talk hard numbers before you commit. You don’t want to be surprised with costs that weren’t accounted for when you get the final invoice.

Reassess Your Needs Regularly

What you think you need when you start planning your event may look very different than what you actually need once you find yourself knee-deep in the event coordination process.

In order to stay on budget, be sure to reassess your needs regularly. You may need to adjust your budget allocations to cover all the costs, or it may be necessary to look for additional sources of funding if the scope of your event has grown substantially.

Plan How You’ll Pay

You may want to look at your event budget as one big pile of money, but in many cases that’s not exactly how it works when it comes to paying for the event. As you’re moving through the event planning process, be sure you have a plan for how you’re going to be paying for each aspect of the event.

Whether you’re writing a check from your organization, charging it to a company card, or coordinating payment between third parties, be sure you know how you’ll be covering the expenses. If you’re planning to pay various vendors in different ways, keep a spreadsheet so you can keep track of the expenses and be sure everything is billed correctly at the event’s conclusion.

Keep Your New York State Event on Budget!

Whether your budget is big or small, adhering to it is key for a truly successful event.

If you’re planning an event in New York State or elsewhere, these tips will help you stick to your budget and avoid unexpected expenses!

Looking for additional event planning wisdom? The following resources are a great place to start:

How to Choose the Perfect Venue for Your Next Meeting, Conference or Event: The venue will set the tone for your event. Find out what factors to consider as you’re searching for the ideal venue for your next corporate gathering.

5 Tips for Planning a Highly Effective Meeting: Meetings have gotten a bad rap lately. Find out how to plan a highly effective ones that attendees will be impressed with.

Tips for Marketing Your Next Event Online: In this day and age, getting the word out about your event successfully often involves marketing it online. Find out where to start when it comes to reaching potential attendees via the Internet.