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A series of articles about all facets of event planning with helpful hints, planning ideas, sample schedules and budgeting tips from the B&E Team.

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Good Planning Starts With A Budget


Preparing a budget is critical to effective meeting or event management. The budget provides you with the control and accountability for all meeting revenues and expenses. Your meeting objectives will influence both the revenues and the expenses of the program. Whatever the goal, it is important to document everything you commit to spending so you know at any time where you stand financially. A well-developed financial plan is a tool to guide the planner in making decisions and identifying priorities throughout the event.

There are two concerns in creating a budget: revenue and expenses. Revenue is determined if you are going to expect income. How will it be generated? Registration fees, exhibitor fees, sponsorships, individual event fees, concession fees, are all ways money is brought in. How much income will you expect to receive in each category?

After determining your NEEDS PROFILE and your SCHEDULE OF EVENTS, you can develop a list of expenses involved or anticipated with each item. Don't forget the costs of administration, phone, mailings, faxes, staff, and supplies--in other words, your overhead. Experience helps in this process, but if you are a novice, you can do some research with vendors to determine reasonable estimates at this stage.

Good planning results in meeting your objectives. During the budget portion of planning, determine what your financial goals are as well. Determine what the group expects to gain. Should the meeting make money, lose money, or break even? If the group wants to make a profit, the amount or percentage should be determined in this initial stage.