How to Create a Budget for Your Virtual Event?

Hazel Siu Feb 9, 2022

Creating a budget for your virtual event may seem easy but the intricate details usually catch people off guard. However, without thoroughly understanding every single expense you make and planning in such detail, it is only a matter of time before you blow past your original budget. Moderation is the way to go when it comes to planning your budget, don’t spend too much on a single item only to then not have enough to spend on more important items like marketing.

Here is an easy 4-step guide on what you should do when creating a budget for your virtual event:

Step 1: Determine your goals and set your KPIs

goals

Different goals require different strategies. An event focused on generating leads will have a completely different approach to an event that is focused on generating revenue from ticket sales. By determining what you want to achieve, you will have a more solid grasp of which parts of your budget are more important so that you can keep on track with your budget and avoid overspending.

Some questions you need to ask yourself are:

  • What is the purpose of hosting this virtual event?
  • What will attendees gain from attending this virtual event?
  • How are you going to profit from hosting this virtual event?

Once you have a clear view of what the goal of your virtual event is, it’s time to determine how you should measure your success. It is imperative that you choose KPIs that are relevant to your goal for this specific event.

Some popular KPIs include:

  • Total revenue
  • Number of registrations
  • Number of leads generated
  • Number of social media impressions

Step 2: Lay out all your expenses

Now that you’ve settled on what you want to do and how to measure how successful you are at doing it, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and start laying out your expenses. One of the simplest yet most effective ways of showing such a large amount of data is by using a spreadsheet. Not only does it allow you to show all the items concisely, but it also allows you to sort everything while providing detailed explanations regarding why you decided to include it in your budget.

Here are a few of the most important things you need to budget for:

  • Virtual event platform provider: Different platforms have different pricing and features; some may not be able to cope with a large number of attendees and some platform providers like EventX provide virtual lobbies and chats and polls functions for better interactivity among attendees.
  • Staffing costs: Hiring the right people can make or break an event, having an experienced team will provide you with lots of ideas and advise you on the best approaches when issues arise.
  • Promotions and marketing: No matter how good a virtual event is, it needs attendees to be successful. Because of this, a large part of the budget for your virtual event should be allocated to this.

Here are a few often forgotten expenses as well which are vital to a virtual event:

  • Video editing costs
  • Gifts for speakers
  • Office production spaces for hybrid events

Here is a basic guide on what you should include in your columns when creating your spreadsheet:

  • Category: Create categories to group your items into, such as event software and advertising.
  • Item name: Be clear and concise to avoid confusion.
  • Description: Write down a brief description with only the most important details for stakeholders and staff to know.
  • Expected cost: Get quotes from at least 3 vendors and write down how much you expect this item to cost.
  • Actual cost: Only fill this in when you’ve started spending and remember to link it to its respective invoice.
  • Notes: This column is used in general to either include further details you couldn’t include in other parts, add in possible questions, or inform your team and other stakeholders on what to look out for.

Step 3: Account for all unforeseen costs

cost

Now you have a well-rounded budget with all your costs accounted for. However, you must also be prepared for unforeseen costs. Create a rainy-day fund and a buffer so that even in the case of potential issues such as technical issues or revenue issues the event will still be able to continue forward smoothly.

A rainy-day fund is a fund that will cover last-minute unforeseen costs which might have a significant impact on your event, whether it be an exhibitor suddenly pulling out or entertainment not being able to show up at the event.

A buffer allows for a set percentage increase in funds in each budget category. This protects you against sudden increases in price either due to supply shortages or hidden fees. It protects you from having your budget completely thrown out due to a sudden surge in certain categories, allowing you to continue forward with the event smoothly.

Step 4: Get everyone on board

The most important thing when creating a budget is that everyone is on the same page and that all the team members share the same budget. You also have to ensure that all the stakeholders are involved and are satisfied with your budget. You have to provide very clear explanations on why you allocated the amount of money for an item and what benefits and ROI you’ll gain. Communication is also key at this stage, make sure everyone is on board and shares the same common goals.

Final tips

Get everything finished as quickly as possible

The budget is the backbone of a virtual event, without it, you won’t be able to move forward with other planning activities. By getting it done as quickly as possible, you have more time to deal with possible unforeseen circumstances.

Be as detailed as possible

You may be familiar with the items but others won’t. By being as detailed as possible you save time by avoiding having stakeholders or team members going back and forth asking you about the details.

Spend big on the things that matter

You may be inclined to save funds instead of spending them because of a tight budget. However, spending big on the things that matter such as the user experience or entertainment goes a long way in improving the attendee’s perception of your company.

Conclusion:

Budgeting is never fun but once you have it done and over with, you can enjoy the spoils by having a successful event where even if something went wrong, you rest assured that the contingency funds will be able to cover everything. Using the right platform to host your virtual event is also key to its success so contact us now at EventX to learn more about how we can enhance your next virtual event experience!

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