Things to consider when determining how much you will need to spend or make on the event

Your budget should contain the following items:

Estimate the income and expenses

Create a budget worksheet that contains a detailed list of income and expense categories

Income categories include:


Ticket sales

Registration fees

In-kind donations

Fundraising activities (raffles, auctions)

Expense categories include:

Meeting room or venue rental fees

Food & beverage costs


Transportation (air, ground)

Speaker fees and other content costs


Printing and signage

Staff and labor costs

Audio visual and other equipment rental costs

Shipping and freight

Include all known expenses in the budget worksheet

Add anything you think maybe a possible expense

Determine expense categories that could benefit from a competitive bid or negotiated pricing

Determine fixed/variable costs and the break-even point

Fixed costs (FC) – expenses you pay regardless of the attendance

Facility rental

AV costs


Variable costs (VC) – expenses that vary according to number of attendees

Food & beverage costs


Printing of the event program

Break-even point: How many tickets will you need to sell to cover:

All your expenses

Make whatever profit you need to make

Try this formula: FC/(registration fee or ticket price –VC) = Number of attendees

Determine if there is a financial component to the event

Determine if your event will make a profit, break-even, or operate at a loss. If you are planning a corporate event where the corporation is paying for everything, you may operate at a loss.

Determine how you will pay for the event

For-profit organizations

Organization usually pays for everything

Nonprofit organizations

Attendees may pay registration fee or ticket price

Sponsorships from businesses

Many sponsors maybe more interested in your audience than in your event

Most sponsors choose to partner with an event that has shared values

Donations from individuals

Do you currently have a donor base and sponsor base that will contribute as much as needed to raise the asking amount?


How will you pay for the event?

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