Too often as planners, we find ourselves getting excited about the food, décor, and entertainment at our events that we forget about the most important part of the planning – our budget! The budget, if done correctly, should guide our decision-making, spending, and bookings at every step along the way, and no planner should get started on the logistics of planning an event without an approved budget in place.
But WHY is the budget so important?
Helps you hit your fundraising goals. If you are planning a fundraising event that needs to raise money, but your spending is out of control, you will likely not achieve your goal. If the purpose of your event is to raise funds for a specific cause, you will need the budget to guide your decisions so you can still reach that goal. Having a budget in place before you start making arrangements will ensure your decisions align with that ‘net profit’ goal.
Keeps volunteer spending on track. If you are working with a group of volunteers, having a solid budget is critical because it acts as a guideline for your committees. If you have multiple groups of people working on different aspects of the event, provide each of them a budget for their specific tasks, and be sure they remain on budget!
Justifies the ‘NO’. If you ever need to tell a volunteer or a committee that they simply cannot have something they want at an event, using the budget to justify your reasoning is the only way to go. Most people will understand if spending in a certain area won’t work because of budget constraints or because it will result in a loss.
Helps you to remain strategic. Understanding how your spending affects the outcome of the event is important to ensure your events remain strategic. Are you planning an event to raise money for your organization? Is the purpose of the event to raise awareness or ‘activate’ users? Your budget will guide you to ensure you are hitting these goals.
Keeps you on the same page. Finally, it will help to avoid misunderstandings when it comes to spending. Some events may have over fifty people working on them. The budget will ensure each person is on the same page and working towards the same goal.
Still thinking of planning an event without a budget…