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No headaches here: Event budgeting doesn’t have to be hard

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As event professional, budgets are everything.

They inform everything we do. Our daily professional lives depend greatly on negotiating contracts, writing RFPs and building Event Specifications Guides (ESG) that map out all the requirements for an event. Budgets are always top of mind, and getting them to stretch can sometimes feel like a real challenge.

But budgeting (and sticking to a budget) doesn’t have to be a huge pain point. Don’t be overwhelmed. Budgeting seems like an arduous task—and that’s because it is. It’s also a necessity in our business. Take each process one-step at a time, and build off what you already know.

So where to start? Budgeting is all about breaking down different variables. Start with what you know: In healthcare meetings—my line of work—there are lots of regulations that might not apply for other event professionals. Look at what you know you need to accommodate and determine what sort of spending decisions need to be made based on that core goal.

Also, use your budget as a means to define measurable objectives. If there are certain targets you want (or need) to hit, having a detailed budget can keep your eye on the prize. Planning expenditures based on something that’s important to you or the organisation you represent can keep you on track. Your objectives help set the tone for your event, and your budget should reflect those goals.

And don’t reinvent the wheel! While each event budget is unique, they all come from the same basic concepts. Use budgets from prior years, and, if you’re able to, reach out to friends and mentors in the business who can share helpful tips or templates.

Lastly, make sure you’re being realistic. It can be easy to think pie-in-the-sky when it comes to budgeting, but if you’re slightly conservative with your expected revenues and expenditures, you won’t run yourself into a bad situation.

For more in-depth tips, I suggest you check out this article from EventMB, one of Event Industry Council’s Preferred Providers. 

So fear not, friends! With a little bit of time and energy, even you can master an event budget.

 Aleka Garcia, CMP-HC 


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