Creating an Event Budget to Ensure Success

shutterstock_211973863Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Fundraisers and event planners know the important role budgets play when working with business and organization leaders. The event budget serves as a guide when hiring vendors, can serve as an effective negotiating tool and will help keep track of expenses. While this process can be layered, and usually requires several revisions, it cannot be minimized. Today I am sharing some insights into the expense budget planning process. I will discuss how the expense budget impacts fundraising goals in future posts.

Over the years, one technique I have found to be helpful is to group expenses into categories. This is a quick way to compare items from multiple vendors and make adjustments as needed.

THE VENUE
Selecting the perfect venue gives leaders an opportunity to impress donors and stakeholders. When reviewing options, comparing the cost of each venue is key. Here are some items to examine:

  1. Venue (Room rental fee)
  2. Venue (Room taxes)
  3. Venue (Additional set-up time)
  4. Reception (menu)
  5. Reception (beverages)
  6. Reception (premium bar service)
  7. Reception (limited bar service)
  8. Dinner (menu)
  9. Dinner (wine and beverages)
  10. Speciality Dessert
  11. Catering Service Charge (ranges from 18 to 21%)
  12. Food & Beverage Tax (waived for non-profits)
  13. Tasting Fee
  14. Additional insurance usually in effect the day of the event and for a few days after

SAVE-THE-DATE NOTICE, THE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN & INVITATION
Once the venue is confirmed, the next step is organizing the campaign for support. I realize we live in a time where e-mail and social media are heavily used, I have come to realize many corporations, foundations and donors require – and appreciate – written requests for support. Social media and e-mail outreach can be used as a follow-up to a written request.  Here are some items to include:

  1. Save-the-date card (designer fee)
  2. Save-the-date card (printer fee)
  3. Fundraising package (designer fee)
  4. Fundraising package (printer fee)
  5. Invitation package (designer fee)
  6. Invitation package (printer fee)
  7. Postage
  8. Messengers and/or overnight delivery
  9. Programs and journals to be distributed at the event (designer fee)
  10. Programs and journals to be distributed at the event (printer fee)

COORDINATING THE PARTS
As we know, large fundraisers involve many moving parts. For events with a 7-figure fundraising goal, and an attendee goal of 750 -800 guests or more, the organization’s mailing list will need to be in the thousands. Coordinating these items before they are mailed requires hours of preparation. If in-house resources are not available, hiring an outside vendor is critical. Here are some line items to include in the budget:

  1. Mailing list preparation (includes bad address removal and updates)
  2. Fundraising package preparation
  3. Invitation package preparation

CREATING THE VISION FOR THE EVENT
This is where leadership and the dinner team work with the event decorator to plan the look of the room, signature colors and the impression they want to make on donors and supporters. Here are some items to include in the decor budget:

  1. Linen
  2. Chairs
  3. Chair cushions
  4. Centerpieces
  5. Stage decor
  6. Step and repeat banner
  7. Speciality lighting package
  8. Speciality lighting (delivery, installation and breakdown)
  9. Fee for the delivery and pick up of all rental items
  10. Ropes and stanchions
  11. Pipes and Drapery
  12. Plants to use in key areas

THE PROGRAM
Once guests have been seated, its time for the show to begin. Think of how embarrassed the President or Board chair will be to learn his/her remarks can’t be heard? If a video is planned, the playback must be exceptional. Here are some items to include in your budget to ensure a professional presentation:

  1. Podium
  2. Wireless microphones
  3. Teleprompters
  4. Video screens
  5. Video recorders
  6. Audio-visual technicians
  7. Video playback units
  8. Program producer
  9. Floor manager
  10. Floor assistants
  11. Entertainment/Musicians
  12. Entertainment/Instruments
  13. Professional photographer
  14. Stage construction

A FEW ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT ITEMS
From special gifts of appreciation to honorees and guests, to saying thank you to dinner chairs and key staff members, planning for these items early in the process will ensure no one is overlooked. Here are some items to add to this category:

  1. Gifts and giveaways for guests
  2. Special awards for honorees
  3. Honorarium for emcee and keynote speakers
  4. Transportation for emcee and keynote speakers and other VIPs
  5. Transportation incurred for key staff participating in monthly planning meetings
  6. Hotel accommodations for emcee, keynote speakers and other VIPs
  7. Thank you gifts for dinner chairs, volunteers and key staff members who worked on the event
  8. Refreshments provided at monthly planning meetings
  9. Miscellaneous office supplies
  10. Delivery costs to send items to the venue on the day of the event

MANAGING ALL OF THE DETAILS
As my colleagues will attest, planning a fundraiser of this size requires great skill and coordination. Many organizations will look to a professional event planner to ensure the careful management and execution of details. Here are fees you should incorporate into your budget:

  1. Event planner fee
  2. Event planner overhead/administrative costs
  3. Event planner out-of-pocket expenses

Thank you for spending a few moments out of your day with me. I hope today’s post has been helpful to you. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at Monique@Eventstrategies4success.com.

With kind regards,

Monique

 

 

 

 

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