Creating special event budgets

Published 10:51 am Monday, March 7, 2011

In the last article we discussed suggestions for special events. In this article we will talk about the budget for a special event.

The budget for the special event should be the top priority.

You want to make sure to be as detailed as possible with the budget. Ultimately the budget will determine whether or not you can host the event.

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Line items to consider when putting your budget together for the revenue and expenses are listed below. Please note that these are only suggestions and there is no “cookie cutter” budget for every special event.

Revenue line items could include the following:

• Event ticket sales

• Sponsorships

• Individual contributions

• Raffle ticket sales (if permitted in your state)

• Cash bar

• Program book ad sales

Expense line items could include the following:

• Facility rental

• Security or parking for facility

• Rentals – tents, chairs, tables, dishes, etc.

• Food purchases

• Beverage purchases

• Entertainment – live music or DJ

• Auction costs

• Decorations

When considering budgets make sure to start off with the up-front direct costs (the cost and manpower to produce the event). Make sure you are generous with money and manpower needs. Also remember to get three estimates on each line item to ensure you are getting the going rate.

Now that you have the budget completed you can figure out if your organization has enough money to host the event.

The rule of thumb is look at how much money the nonprofit has. Example; if the nonprofit has $10,000 and it costs $1,000/month to keep the doors open, then the nonprofit has $6,000 to spend on an event in the coming four months.

You always want to make sure your nonprofit has at least three months reserve in the bank at all times.

The next several articles will focus on special events and how to successfully host one for your organization.