Budgeting Strategies for a Corporate Event

When you’re responsible for planning a corporate event, brainstorming and generating ideas is often one of the easiest parts. One of the more difficult but also crucial parts of the planning process, however, has to do with the money. It’s nearly impossible to underestimate the importance of event budgeting.

Nothing is going to happen without someone spending money to make it happen. And unless you’re funding it yourself with a bottomless checkbook, you need to put in the work to budget carefully beforehand. It’s not always easy, but it’s a necessity. Here are a few helpful things to keep in mind as you put together your event budget checklist.

Communication Comes First

As soon as you are directly placed in charge of planning your corporate event, the very first task on your list is to request a budget. You should ask for a budget from the very beginning, because the budget sets parameters for better planning. Even with a rough estimate for a budget, you can get an idea of what is going to be possible — or not possible — for the event.

It’s your responsibility as the event planner to elicit as many specifications and priorities from the event sponsor as possible. Keep communication open and try to get clear guidance on all of the basics, specifically budgetary concerns and the number of participants. As planning continues, you should regularly send in updated budgets with all of your proposed expenses for an event to make sure the event ends up meeting everyone’s needs and expectations.

It’s All in the Planning

You need to categorize all of your forecasted expenses for an event and ensure that spending in each category seems to be in line with your priorities for the event. This means considering all of the normal costs involved in putting an event together to be sure you’ve got everything covered.

The first basic cost is the venue fee. Try not to take too many shortcuts to cut costs. Many event planners late in the planning process may find themselves spending more to enhance a lackluster venue when they could have avoided this scenario with a bigger investment in venue selection itself.

Food and drinks are big ticket items in event planning as well, and worth spending time on. You should also leave space in your budget for buying decorations, creating badges, other event enhancements like music, fireworks, staffing and more. Paying for rentals can also quickly add up in cost, whether it’s simply the speaker system and A/V equipment or a mechanical bull. If you have little or no experience in event planning and budgeting at this scale, you need to seek out a professional at this point. A veteran of event planning will be able to give you realistic estimates based on their experience, which will help you avoid budget problems and unexpected shortfalls later on.

Leave Space to Go Beyond

While the importance of event budgeting is obvious for managing finances and getting the money together, it also gives you an opportunity to sit down and plan your priorities for the event. You should ask yourself what your own goals and expectations are for the event. How different do you want it to be? Are you happy with an ordinary but successful conference or what else do you want out of it?

The concrete, essential features of the event are necessary to make it happen, but they don’t make the event a success. You have to pay for the venue, the food, the badges and the bathrooms, but those aren’t necessarily the features that will give the participants a valuable and memorable experience. A good rule of thumb is to aim to use 70 percent of your total budget on the necessities of the event, but to leave 30 percent aside for extras and enhancements to help give your event the edge it deserves.

Read more from Sullivan Group to learn tips that will take your event to the next level!