With the ever-increasing popularity of online events, many event organizers and planners are struggling to keep up with what’s expected of virtual events. One important factor in planning a virtual event is figuring out and sticking to a budget. No matter what your virtual event is centered on, having a budget for an event is essential to formulating and following through with strategic plans. Without budgets, you’re at risk of overspending, incurring debt, or being unable to pay for everything you intended.
However, for those who host an array of events, from in-person to hybrid and virtual, it can be complicated to keep up with different expenses and incomes while managing the campaign.
No two budgets are the same—that’s why event organizers must create a detailed budget specific to their virtual event and their event promotion.
Why Plan Out a Virtual Event Budget?
Budgets have one purpose: to help create and maintain financial stability. While you might not think having a virtual event budget is necessary, it’s crucial. Even virtual events have issues pop up that need to be dealt with—sometimes financially—and it’s important to have finances set aside in case these issues arise. Not just that, but budgeting can help you plan accordingly and ensure that you have enough resources to reach your virtual event goals.
For event organizers in general, a virtual event budget proposal can also help them determine a target profit and ensure they break even. Additionally, it helps them plan events within their client’s specific budget plan and may contribute to the overall virtual event strategy.
How To Make the Most Out of Your Virtual Event Budget
When it comes to having a budget for a virtual event, you must prioritize making the most out of what you have in your budget. In some cases, budgeting can be stressful—especially when it deals with handling someone else’s money—but there are certain steps you can take to alleviate that stress.
Draft a Well-Thought-Out Budget Plan and Stick to It
The first step you should take in optimizing your virtual event budget is to write up a plan with well-thought-out categories. Be thorough when drafting, and be sure to consider the following:
Consider Your Event Goals and KPIs
When composing your budget plan, you’ll first need to consider your event goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). The KPIs will measure your event’s performance and be able to give you insight into how effectively your event is achieving specific objectives. As for your goals, you need to plan your goals accordingly and decide what you want your event to achieve. For example, is your event aimed at a specific cause? Figure it out and plan it into your budget.
Decide What’s Necessary and What Isn’t
What is the primary reason behind your event? Figure that out, decide what will prove essential to achieving your event’s overall goals, and prioritize those necessities. Unnecessary features and attributes are money wasters. For example, if recording your event for later distribution isn’t a priority, it’s a feature that can be easily left out.
The money you save can be allocated to other areas, such as unexpected costs.
Estimate Your Virtual Event Expenses
Like in-person events, your virtual event will come with certain expenses. Common expenses included in a virtual event budget include:
- Content production: Your event needs content. To acquire event content, you’ll need creative professionals to create that content for you. It may be something as simple as a pre-recorded speech or something more complex like live presentations. Even live presentations have various costs associated with them—sometimes, these presentations will be edited and rebroadcast for other attendees to view, such as those living in a different time zone. You may have in-house staff to handle these tasks, but if you don’t, you’ll need to estimate the costs and figure them into your budget.
- Entertainment fees: Many events include some form of entertainment—be it motivational speakers, live music performances, or stand-up comedy skits. Whatever you choose for your entertainment, consider how much it’ll cost you. You don’t have to go all out with your entertainment choices, but consider having some entertainment value at your event to keep your audience engaged.
- Gift bags: Participants at in-person events often find themselves with a gift bag or some memorabilia from the event they attended. As such, it’s not uncommon for virtual event organizers to also send out gift bags and merch to their guests. It may be costly to supply all of your guests with a gift bag—so it may be more beneficial to do a giveaway instead.
- Marketing: Marketing is essential to spread the word about your event and bring in an engaged target audience to attend your event. Your marketing strategy should include a website, paid social media advertisements, email campaigns, and more. With that said, it’s important to assess and estimate any marketing costs associated with your online events.
- Participant management: When it comes to managing participation, you’ll need certain software to handle registration, follow-ups, and other participation management tasks. Most event platforms already have these tools available, but some do not. You may need to use a third-party solution depending on your platform choice.
- Platform: To host a virtual event, you must have a platform to host it on. Platforms are often the most costly expense when it comes to hosting virtual events, but they’re necessary because this is where the event will take place. As with any real-life venue, you’ll have venue costs, and with any virtual event, you’ll have platform costs.
Expenses vary from event to event, depending on the planned budget and the host’s objectives.
Leave Some Wiggle Room for Unexpected Additional Costs
Even if you’ve planned out the most thorough and detailed event possible, there’s still a chance that something unexpected could happen. From server downtime to last-minute cancellations of entertainers or speakers, you should prepare for the worst and leave room in your budget for unexpected costs.
Choose the Right Virtual Event Platform
It’s imperative that you choose the right virtual event platform and figure this into your budget. There are many platforms that you can use to host your events, but not all are created equal. Some are designed specifically for events, while others aren’t. The features offered between platforms can also vary, so it’s important to determine what you want from a platform and compare two or three.
Automate Event Production Processes When Possible
Instead of paying staff members to take care of production processes or outsourcing your event production work, consider using automated software when possible. You can invest in automated software and usually pay an upfront fee, which helps you cut the costs of paying workers an hourly fee to handle event production tasks.
Use a Mobile Event App
A mobile event app is one of the best investments you can make when planning your virtual event. A mobile event app will take the place of your staff or outsourced workers and allow you to plan the event easily from your mobile device. You can send out newsletters and reminders, handle registration, and manage other event tasks all from your phone.
If you’re still too busy to plan your event using a mobile app, you can hire a single person to handle the mobile app event planning on your behalf. Instead of having a team of individuals planning your event, you can hire one person to take care of everything right from the mobile app, saving you both time and resources.
Source Low-Cost Options for Giveaway Items
Giveaways can quickly become costly, especially if you intend to give away items and gift bags to the majority of your participants. There are two options to tackle these expenses. First, you could do giveaways with a limited amount of winners—perhaps two or three. Or you could find low-cost options for giveaway items. If you can find a wholesale supplier or sponsor to patronize your giveaway, that’s even better.
Identify Savings Opportunities To Spend Less Money
Lastly, there are several ways that you can save money when planning a virtual event. However, not all of them are clear or easy to find. Some may require a little extra work to identify—but if it’s worth it to you to save money, looking for money-saving opportunities should be a top priority.
You can look for cheaper platform alternatives, enlist the help of sponsors to help pay for some of the expenses, and invest in software that will help you plan instead of paying others to do the same thing. In addition, you can look for monetization opportunities from your platform and choose a platform that allows you to pay only for the features you use.
When you save money, you’ll have more revenue to spend on other areas of your event.
Helping You Manage Every Aspect of Your Virtual Event
Planning virtual events can be difficult—even more so when you have to deal with budgeting, planning around that budget, and ensuring the actual costs don’t surpass it. However, with the entire event planning software that Events.com provides, you no longer have to stress about the what-ifs. In fact, everything will be taken care of for you—from building community, adding value, and selling tickets to your virtual or hybrid experiences. Event.com’s tools can help you from the beginning to the end in planning your virtual event. Visit Events.com’s Virtual Events website for more information.