How to Create a Successful Annual Event Budget in 3 Steps

Victoria Rudi
June 26, 2023

Table of Contents

Is your annual event budget getting the better of you? With these 3 steps, we show you how to maximize your budget and make sure that you’ll get buy-in from key stakeholders in your organization.

It’s getting to that part of the year again. For every business, it’s time to start putting concrete plans in place for the year ahead and to have any chance of doing this you need to start thinking about your budget. Your annual event budget is the total budget that you have for the upcoming year. It is your lifeline that makes sure that your plans for the year ahead turn into concrete actions.

According to the 2019 Event Marketing: Benchmarks and Trends report it’s estimated that businesses are spending almost a quarter of their marketing budget on live events. This is a considerable chunk of any budget and for this to be approved you’re going to need to demonstrate it’s value to the CEO, and more importantly to the CFO. With this article, we will show you the critical steps to understand your annual event budget so that you can get the most out of it.

Do your homework

It can be a daunting task tracking all of your past performance from the last year but it is essential to do so. Historical data provides a benchmark for your budget and will set the new boundaries for the year ahead. It’s important to ask yourself a lot of questions. Where was your expenditure going? Did you overspend or underspend in certain areas? Did you hit the metrics you wanted to achieve?

Identifying all of these points will make it a lot easier to see where your annual event budget has been going and, more importantly, where it should be going. Moreover, it means you’re much less likely to repeat previous mistakes because you’ve already dedicated the time and effort to pinpoint what they are. Here, it can’t be understated how important it is to have the right tools and processes in place to ensure that you’re able to monitor and analyze all of your finances and metrics.

What are you going to achieve and how are you going to do it?

Now you’ve identified you’re successes and failures, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead. Although planning your event budget for a whole year can feel like a daunting task, it is important to identify what you want to achieve and how you are going to reach these objectives.

Whether you’re looking to launch a new product or increase brand awareness, you need to envisage how your budget is going to get you there. First, look at the bigger picture and work your way back into smaller, more achievable steps. By doing so, you segment your budget so that you can effectively allocate your funds into the most valuable elements of your budget. In other words, you’re effectively building a roadmap of how you’re going to reach your goals.

Before we move on, it’s also important to mention that your annual event budget is only a forecast of what you expect to spend for the year ahead. Events change and expenses can come from anywhere, and that’s why it is essential that your budget is flexible. A good rule of thumb is that the more time and effort you put into your budget, the more likely you are to be prepared for any eventuality, avoiding any major hiccups further down the line.

Getting buy-in from the executives

You’ve reached the final hurdle. Now, it is time to pitch your budget to the executives. Your budget and vision go hand in hand because without the former you’re never going to have the latter. When pitching your budget to the executives it is vital that you present them with tangible results. They need to see metrics that can be easily measured instead of the more intricate details which outline how you’re going to reach these objectives.

In most organizations, to seek budgetary approval you will need to run this past the CEO and CFO. What they want to see is attribution that your budget will bring to the table and what they don’t want to see are any unexpected surprises. That’s why it is vital that you have all bases covered when you present your budget by providing a clear and objective-oriented plan.

Set yourself up for success

Everything that you spend within your budget should be an investment. It should be going towards providing real ROI to your organization. Your annual event budget provides a great starting point of your vision for the year ahead, not just for you but also for key stakeholders who know a lot less about event planning than yourself.

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Victoria Rudi
Senior Content Specialist
With a Master’s degree in Event Management and a keen follower of SaaS technologies, Victoria is an event content master, producing insightful and valuable for Eventtia’s blog and beyond

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