EventMojo Articles

Struggles of Limited Event Budgets: 10 Ways You Can Work Around Them

One of the challenges of organising business events is that there is often a great deal of expectations placed on the event with only a limited budget available to work with. Here are 10 ways from my own experience and other event managers that will help you keep your next event “on budget” while also meeting outcomes. 

#1: Pick a venue slightly further away

Venues often take up major chunks of event budgets, and if you can save here it will make a big difference. Being in the main CBD is preferable, but think about whether that higher price tag is really worth it. Will having it there provide you with that many more attendees than being a few kilometres out? What I’ve found is that if the venue is within walking distance of a train station or bus stop, people tend to be still okay with it. 

#2: Reduce catering expenses

If you are planning a meal, going buffet may be a cheaper option than a sit-down meal. Even if you have chosen the cheapest menu, as long as the food is good and enough of it, guests will be satisfied. Avoid labor-intensive foods such as sushi and carving stations. Large bar tabs and lavish winding down drinks at the end of events are also becoming less common. Instead, head to a bar close by and offer to shout the first round of drinks. For mid-morning and afternoon break refreshments, pass on the pastries and cakes and go for biscuits as a cheaper alternative. 

#3: Use your creative side

Sometimes it’s worthwhile going back to the drawing board and thinking about novel ways to achieve what you want. For example, instead of hiring a photographer, create a hashtag for the event and get guests to take their own photos and upload them to Instagram with this hashtag. Or if you have a panel, use Twitter instead of an expensive app to receive questions and even put up a free Twitter wall solution on a large screen. Not only will this save money, but it will make the event more engaging for your guests. 

#4: Create generic branding to use long term

One of the most essential but costly expenses of an event is signage and banners. Here’s a little trick that I’ve used. Create several generic signs with your logo and branding. And then when an event occurs, create smaller signs that can be attached by velcro in the middle of the larger ones that contain the specifics of the event. 

#5: Get rid of the freebies

It’s not the gifts and freebies that provide brand loyalty or have guests returning to future events, but the content and/or networking opportunities. Not having these gifts and freebies will not make or break your event! 

#6: Find sponsors

Remember, event sponsorship doesn’t always have to be a cash injection. Find a supplier who shares the same target market as you and get them to provide their product or services for free or at a reduced cost, in return for the exposure you can offer them at your event. For example, I’ve attended event manager conferences sponsored by beverage companies and networking events where my ride home was sponsored by Uber. 

#7: Avoid Printing

Many events I attend these days have already gone paperless. Not only is this cost effective but it’s also environmentally friendly. Instead of printing out event brochures, have them emailed to attendees and easily available to download on your website. If there is any sort of registration required, have an online form instead of paper forms. For presentation notes and hand-outs, let your guests know that these will be shared online. 

#8: Opt for social media advertising

Promoting events through traditional advertising mediums such as billboards, magazines, radio or TV can become very expensive. A more cost effective method, which I’ve found in my experience to produce better results, is Facebook and LinkedIn ads. The best thing about both social media platforms is the parameters that can be used to really define who ad is displayed to.

#9: Get help from university students

Many university students are often keen to do some real life work experience due to the highly competitive job market. They can help out with event coordination, graphic design, online marketing, and filming or photography. Your best bet to reach out to them is through the university career services. Do keep in mind though that most students will need your guidance and support. 

#10: Take advantage of free ticketing platforms

Why create something from scratch or pay huge sums for an event registration platform when you’ve got free tools like Eventbrite out there. With Eventbrite, event organisers are able to look up and check in their event attendees off a guest list, validate ticket barcodes by using their phone cameras, and view live event statistics.

Facebook comments

Get inspired

Not sure where to have your school formal? Worried about how you are going to keep your kid’s friends entertained at his birthday party? Or even how to have a grand wedding without breaking the bank?

Browse through our articles written by our talented columnists to get ideas for your next event.