15 May Event Planning Companies on Creating a Budget for Non-Profit Events
Event Budgets for Non Profits
Event budgets can really make or break your event – especially if you are doing a fundraiser for a non-profit and you have not planned carefully! Too many times we’ve seen clients make bad decisions on event budgets, or clients that have no idea of what costs come into play when planning an event. There is one thing that you can’t spend too much time on, and that’s preparing a realistic budget for your event – and being sure that you stay on track from start to finish.
Professional event planning companies, like Zynger Events, have worked on a variety of events over the years with budgets that range from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands. That being said, we have found that there is a familiar pattern in the types of items that need to be accounted for in your budget, and they are divided up into two major categories – like all other budgets – income and expenses.
For each of those categories, there is a further breakdown of items that you need to take into consideration – and preparation to ensure a successful event. Here are a couple of strategies that will help you prepare for your next event.
Just like many other things in life, when planning an event there are things that fall into the “necessary” category and others that fall into the “nicety” category – things like food and beverage, rentals, AV, venues, and signage fall into the “necessary category” whereas things like décor, lighting and other upgrades – aren’t truly necessary for a successful event. Sure, it’s nice to have beautiful linens and flowers throughout the event, but, people will remember and complain about not having enough food or hot coffee vs. comments on the centerpieces not being pretty enough. Another common mistake is when clients decide to purchase items instead of renting them – thinking that in the long run they are being cost effective – without taking into account, storage, upkeep, replacement costs, transportation, set up, not having items available in the same style, and so on – not to mention, if something goes wrong at the event – who’s going to fix it or be responsible?
“We are planning to bring in $100,000 for our first event, and we think we can do it by only spending about $20,000… By the way, we have about 6 months until the event”…
How many times have we heard that?
Professional event planning companies will tell you: set realistic goals and be sure that you are backing up your expectations with attainable goals. For example, if you really do plan on bringing in $100,000 on an event, how will you get there? How much of that is sponsorship, what percentage is ticket sales or table sales – how many tables do you need to sell at $5,000 in order to get to that goal – and who are the companies/people that fall into that category. Just like your event expenses, you need to plot out and plan for your income – where is that money coming from? As a general rule for us at Zynger Events, and for a lot of other event planning companies, we suggest recruiting sponsors to cover all of your event expenses, and then account for ticket sales and other fundraising initiatives (auctions, pledge drives, etc.) to come up with your fundraising totals. You don’t want to rely on ticket sales to be sure you can pay for your event – as you never know – especially for a first time event.
You also can’t have a “champagne and caviar” expectation with a budget for “beer and hot dogs”. Make sure that you are doing your research and really planning out what your needs are based on real numbers and real estimates – not just what you think or want it to be. As an event planner, we know the challenges of clients setting budgetary goals way too low and then having different expectations – the more accurate you can be from the start, the better!
Get it approved!
With fundraising events in particular, and in working with non-profits, there are often many challenges and many levels of approvals when it comes to spending money. This is another reason that you want to prepare a realistic budget in advance. Prepare the budget in advance so that you have something to follow and to allow for board and executive staff approvals which will help in the long run with getting vendor invoices paid in a timely manner. If the amount is already in the budget, pushing through a payment should be an easy process. An even better goal would be to push through an invoice that is for less than a budgeted amount – which shows that you put in the proper planning and research when you initially prepared your budget.
Budgets in general, especially when it comes to events with nonprofits, usually contain variations of the same expense categories. As a professional event planning company, with our extensive experience and history in working with nonprofits, we are happy to share with you a budget template to help get your started! See the link below and get working on your next event!
For more details on budget, feel free to contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.