If your conference’s programme is a vehicle, then your budget is the fuel required to make it run. Planning your budget effectively is crucial to any successful and profitable event while underestimating it could spell disaster. Here are five tips on handling your finances successfully:
1. Assess Your Conference Budget Accurately
Before planning the budget, define all aspects of your event that require funding. Take into consideration the size of the venue, the number of attendees, the amount of food required, and all the various details. Additionally, know who and what you’re working with – your suppliers, manpower, and even guests. All of these factors have an impact on your budget, so make sure to assess each thoroughly.
2. Get the Right Amount of Sponsors
Conferences, especially large ones, are expensive. Chances are a significant portion of your budget will come from sponsors. More sponsors mean more money but too many of them can overshadow your conference’s message with their product placements and participation. Work with them to fill out holes in your budget but don’t sell out and let them dictate your message and goals.
3. List Down Everything
Take note of your initial budget and list every additional expense, no matter how small. Always have a working breakdown of all the transactions and keep track of all the people with access to the budget. Additionally, set scheduled walkthroughs of the budget list with your suppliers and co-organizers before, during, and after the conference so you don’t miss extra expenses. Lastly, when dealing with sizeable budgets, you may want to hire people to help you manage and keep track of your finances effectively.
4. Always Keep the Budget in Mind
When deciding on anything related to your conference, remember to always think about its effects on the budget. If there’s an additional speaker, for example, that would require not just a speaking fee but extra food and transportation expenses as well. Always remember to stay within the budget for any decision, as “negligible” expenses tend to pile up and surprise you in the end. Avoid any unnecessary expenditures as much as possible.
5. Create a Contingency Fund
No budget is complete without a contingency fund. It is your failsafe in case something goes wrong, which most likely will according to Murphy’s Law. Due to the unpredictable nature of events, it is always wise to set part of the budget aside, around 10-20 percent, for mistakes and mishaps.
Your budget is the lifeblood of your event, so make sure you to take care of it and don’t let your balance books hemorrhage. The key to effectively manage your budget as a conference organizer is to constantly be on top of every detail and transaction.
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