How to Price/Budget an event:
- Figure out a range of people that are likely to attend (example : 100-300)
- Figure out how much your event will cost you to put on (example: $150 dj, $150 space rental, $50 Lights, $50 decorations=$400)
- Divide cost by low number from #1 (example: 400/100)
- So you break even at $4, therefore you are probably safe with a $5 admission.
Sounds simple - but I once saw an event cost $750 when we were expecting 100 attendees. So at $5/person we stood to lose money. We managed to break even when we figured in drink sales but it was not a responsible way to spend committee money. Remember - events are usually fundraisers and you do have a conference to put on. You will need all of the money you can raise for use prior to the conference.
- Make a budget early on. Know how much you are expecting to spend, how many people are coming, and do the math. Don’t assume finances will take care of themselves.
- Figure out how many of the expenses will need to be paid out before the conference. Defer asmany of the expenses as you can because 80-90% of the money will come in during the weekend of the conference.
- Keep active in the sub-committees. This is the best way to ensure that they understand the budget limitations and that you understand what their plans/needs are. I found it useful to show up with facts and keep my opinions to a minimum. When I showed up and just listened I found I was able to offer the financial information they needed to make an informed decision and consequently I was able to be of maximum service to the committee.
- Don’t be afraid to say “No” or to cut a budget. Sometimes this is not a popular position but sometimes it is necessary to cut (for exmaple) a coffee budget to make sure there are enough funds for ASL translators.
- Never forget our primary purpose. There will likely be situations in which you will have to decide where the money goes. Not every committtee can have the amount they might ideally want. This year I heard someone say, “People won’t drink if they don’t get a T-shirt.” It may sound silly, but it was a good point. Every committee has a different financial situation to deal with, but if you make decisions based on our first tradition you can’t go wrong.
- Don’t discount t-shirts... ...unless you are severly in the hole at the end of the conference and need to sell them at any cost. Doing this makes it harder for next year’s committee to sell shirts early on (if people know they will be discounted at the end of a conference they will wait). You can always donate left over shirts to the next host committee or to a recovery home.
- Pass on the supplies you collect. Pass them on either to the next Host City, your local or state conference or a local meeting.