Events can be expensive and securing the necessary funds to successfully deliver your event will be essential. It is essential to have an accurate budget in place to determine what your income and expenditure will be and ensure you have adequate contingencies built in, or set specific targets to achieve within certain timeframes to assess whether to proceed or not.
Developing an accurate Budget will often determine whether your Event will be feasible. Event Budget templates can be downloaded from the Free Templates page, for you to use for your next event, and includes some of the costs you can expect to incur.
It is recommended that your budget includes a BUDGET column which is agreed to upfront and shows what your end net profit should look like, a REVISED FORECAST column, which is used to amend your budgeted figures depending on how your event is performing, an ACTUAL column to track revenue and expenses as they are incurred, and a VARIANCE column, so that you keep easy track of any surpluses or shortfalls.
Just like renovating a house, regardless how strong the planning process is, there will always be something unexpected pop up, we recommend adding an allocation to CONTINGENCY. The level of contingency you set is up to you, but 10% is a good starting point – just to cover you for the unexpected. It is also wise to set your revenue budgets conservatively, because it is always better to have more revenue than expected, rather than trying to trim your expenses if you don’t meet targets.
You should also seek feedback and advice on your event concept early on with potential supporters including potential Sponsors, Vendors, Patrons and Grant Administrators.
The Budget should be a working document that is referred to and updated almost daily to ensure that incomings and outgoings are on track.
Sales and Merchandising
When done correctly, creating sales and merchandise opportunities can provide crucial funds to the running of the Event. Where possible arrange a return policy with suppliers as you don’t want to be stuck with excess stock at the end of the Event, and beware that if you’re putting date specific information on merchandise that any remaining stock may have to be discarded at the end of the event or discounted at the event. Remember that some products (Food and Alcohol etc.) require approvals and licenses to sell (see Section 6 Licenses and Permits).
Ticketing and Registration
Depending on the type of event you are planning to run, a cover charge is acceptable and is a good way to kick start your revenue. All revenue generated contributes towards the running of the Event. As well as the benefits of raising funds, ticketing and registrations give you a good indication of the anticipated attendance numbers based on pre-sold tickets or pre registrations, but it can also prove valuable for collating event research and developing a database of attendees for future event marketing purposes.
This will often form a large percentage of your event income however it’s important that you take a planned and targeted approach to sponsorship as many businesses in the community are regularly approached for sponsorship, and your ability to maintain sponsors in subsequent years will often depend on how well matched your sponsor is to your event.
Where possible try to engage in some training with regards to generating sponsorship, there are lots of online courses available, and you will also find that your local Council, Chambers of Commerce and community will hold workshops on generating sponsorship revenue.
It’s important that you start your sponsorship drive early to show that you’re organised enough to deliver the sponsorship successfully. It’s important that you’re able to paint a clear picture of what the event is about and what it will involve (this is where your Event Management Plan comes in handy), and remember to maintain correspondence with sponsors both up to, during and following the event.
In – Kind Contributions
While cash sponsorship is attractive, don’t under estimate the value of in-kind contributions. Many businesses may not have the ability to offer a cash contribution to support your event, however they may be able to offer products or services that will provide significant savings to your event budget. Service providers can help offset costs of items you would normally have to hire in exchange for marketing promotion and exposure at your event.
Government Grants can be a good way to raise funds for your event, particularly in the initial stages of the event development. However you should keep in mind that Grants are generally only a ‘one off’ or over a small number of years so you should try to put these funds towards making your event more financially viable in the future, and avoid an ongoing reliance on Grants. It’s important that you liaise with the government bodies and keep abreast of current Grants through relevant publications and websites. Some relevant Government Grants include:
Coffs Harbour City Council Event Seed Funding and Event Destination Funding
Coffs Harbour City Council offers a funding program to event organisers in two key areas;
- Event Seed Funding: for start-up or new events running within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area (LGA), aimed at providing support to events in their most critical early stages.
- Event Destination Marketing Funding: for events targeting overnight visitation from outside the Coffs Harbour LGA. This funding is designed to assist in developing a marketing campaign to drive visitation to the Coffs Coast, and the event, from outside the LGA.
Both funds are also looking for events that support outcomes of economic stimulation, regional branding, and community benefit.
The Coffs Harbour City Council Event Funding program is currently closed
Arts & Cultural Grants
Coffs Harbour City Council funding program supporting arts and cultural initiatives including events. The program is run annually with applications called for in September.
For further information visit Coffs Harbour City Councils website
Destination NSW Event Funding
Coffs Harbour City Council collaborates with the NSW Government‘s tourism and events agency, Destination NSW, which is responsible for the development of festivals and events in Sydney and Regional NSW. The key program aimed at developing festivals and events in regional NSW is the Regional Flagship Events Program.
The Regional Flagship Events Program identifies and supports events in Regional NSW that have the potential to act as ‘cornerstone’, or Flagship, tourism events for their area by attracting overnight visitation and delivering long term benefits to their region.
The three funds that sit under the umbrella of this program are:
- The Incubator Event Fund
- The Flagship Event Fund
- And The Event Development Fund.
Events on the Coffs Coast have been regularly supported through this program as both recipients of the one off and triennial funding.
For further information visit Destination NSW
Festival Australia Grants
The Department of Communications and the Arts offers a Federal government funding program providing approximately $1.2 million each financial year to support the presentation of arts and cultural activities that will enable community members living in regional or remote Australia to participate in or attend an arts driven experience at a festival, or significant one-off community celebration. There are two rounds of funding which generally close in October and March each year
For further information visit Department of Communications and the Arts website