How Are We Going to Pay for This Meeting? – Part 4

April 28th, 2011 by Scott Graham

Unless your organization has decided to fund 100% of the entire meeting, your event will have money coming in. In the previous post, we examined your meeting’s expenses. The revenue side of your budget will be itemized, estimated and tracked in the same manner as those expenses.  You are going to forecast revenue from every area that could possibly produce it. When estimating expenses, you budgeted on the high end; conversely when forecasting your revenue, you will want to estimate low. Use your previous meeting’s history and your objectives to create a reasonable revenue budget.

You worked diligently coming up with an expansive list of possible expenses. Your committee is excited about the possibilities of your meeting. But you peeked and looked at the total of all those expenses and now you are asking…

Can we afford it? How are we going to pay for all this?

Revenue Categories

  • Registration Fees
    • Early Bird Attendee Registration
    • Regular Attendee Registration
    • On-site Attendee Registration
    • Daily Attendee Registration

  • Tradeshow
    • Early Bird Exhibitor Registration
    • Regular Exhibitor Registration
    • Onsite Exhibitor Registration
    • Booth Rental

Depending on your event, registrations may have to be broken down by type, i.e. Member, non-member, guest, student, family, couple, individual, etc.

  • Sponsorships – There is often a related expense associated with the sponsorship.
  • Donations
  • Grants
  • Merchandise sales – Be certain to track the “cost of goods” expense that is related.
  • Advertising
  • Ticketing
  • Additional Conference Event
  • Offsite Events
  • Golf Outing
  • Miscellaneous

Forecasting revenue can be a tricky task, as income amounts are impacted by many outside forces. Demographics, the economy, your industry’s ups and downs, and geography all play a part in your group’s meeting attendance. Armed with your meeting’s history and a sound understanding of any outside factors, you can make reasonable revenue estimates. But, understand as you begin to track actual revenue, you may need to make adjustments.

In a future post we will look at some calculations to understand the bottom line, create registration fees, or find the number of attendees needed to break even.

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