How to Get the Biggest Event Budget You Possibly Can

Written by
Published on
February 17, 2020

As an event planner, you want the largest event budget you can get your hands on in order to throw the best event. And in some cases, you may have to go back to your client or employer to ask for more money.

Asking for money is never easy, especially when your benefactor has a budget of their own to consider. Whoever is paying the bill may not understand what an event really costs. Or they may expect you to pull off a miracle that just isn’t possible. They might even feel threatened when you explain that a bigger budget is required.

In this article, we would like to offer some tips to get a bigger event budget. If you follow this advice, there's a good chance you will walk away with a bigger check.

1.  Define Exactly How Much You Need

Your first step is to understand exactly how much money you need to throw the event that you think is right. Asking for an undefined budget is a sure way to hear "no," especially if your client or employer thinks they have already given you a suitable budget. They’ll assume you’re overspending or (even worse) pocketing the money yourself.

Carefully calculate how much extra cash you need to design your ideal event. Don't forget to include ancillary expenses that might also increase. For example, if you increase your floral budget to buy more flowers, you may also need to increase your transportation budget to bring those flowers to the venue. Include all these expenses in a separate budget document so you can show your employer or client exactly how you will spend the new money.

2.  Sell the Benefits of a Larger Budget

Biggest event budget

Your client or employer wants to know what they get for the budget, but they probably don’t care so much about the specific details. You have to explain the benefits of that expense.

For instance, let’s say you want $5,000 to provide live music instead of recorded music. Your client or employer doesn’t understand the kind of music you can get for $5,000, so it just seems like a massive expense that can be avoided with some rented speakers and a month’s worth of Spotify.

In this case, you should also explain why you think live music would make a better event, how it will impact your guests, and why it’s worth the expense. If you don’t offer the details, your client or employer will focus on the cost.

Don't forget to address the long-term benefits, as well. If your client plans to host more events in the future, a grander event today would make future guests more likely to register. Explain that a larger event Is a bigger investment into their own brand.

3.  Show Examples of Previous Events with Similar Budgets

If you think your client or employer will resist giving you a large budget, it helps to leverage a psychological principle called anchoring. Anchoring is “the common human tendency to rely too heavily, or 'anchor,'" on one trait or piece of information when making decisions.” Essentially, we anchor ourselves to a specific piece of information and consider all other information in that context.

So if you want a big budget for an event, show your client or employer images or videos from events with a similar budget. It will be harder for your benefactor to insist on a smaller budget once they’ve anchored themselves to a bigger budget event.

For example, let’s say you want $25,000 to throw an event, but you think your employer or client will only offer $18,000. Start your pitch by showing them an event with a $25,000 budget. This will anchor them to your ideal event, making an $18,000 event look weak in comparison.

4.  Bring Visuals, Media, and Props to Show What They’ll Get

Biggest event budget

What does $3,000 worth of signage look like? What does $6,500 worth of food look like? What’s the difference between a $10,000 and a $14,000 venue? If you don’t know event planning, it’s hard to see how those costs turn into amenities. This is especially important if you're trying to infuse your event with cultural flair that your employer or client doesn't know well.

When you argue for your budget, bring props and visuals to help your client or employer see what they’ll get for their money. Put the table settings in their hands so they can feel them. Play some music or show a video of the band. Serve them some of the food you intend to serve. They are more likely to give you the money you want if you make the experience real for them.

5.  Explain Where You’re Trying to Save Money

Whenever you ask a client or employer for a larger budget, it also helps to explain where you are trying to save money. This shows them that you respect their financial position and are willing to work with them to get the budget the event deserves.

For example, let's say you want to hire a few expensive speakers. These speakers come with a high price tag, but you believe they are well suited to your audience. Before you ask your benefactor for more money, it's important to find ways to cut costs. You might abandon the sit-down meal in exchange for appetizers. Or you might switch from an open bar to a cash bar. Point out these changes to your employer or client when you ask for a big budget.

6.  Be Prepared to Address Their Objections

Your client or employer will always object to your budget, whether you are asking for the first time or asking for an increase. That's their job. Obviously, they want to spend as little money as possible, but still get an amazing event.

Your job is to be prepared to address their objections. You have to anticipate what they will push back on so you can respond accordingly.

For example, your client or customer might ask, "Why do we need 10 people to staff the welcome table? It's okay if there's a short queue." In this case, you would need to be prepared to explain how the attendees' first experience will influence their feelings about the entire event, so it's important to keep things smooth at the entrance.

What will your employer or client object to? That depends on the size and type of event you're throwing and what your benefactor cares about. Examine your budget to identify possible objections. Be prepared to defend large or unique expenses.

Don't Get Greedy

We're giving you some tips to get the largest budget possible from your employer or client, but it's also important to respect their money. If your benefactor thinks you are spending money irresponsibly, they may not be comfortable letting you plan their event. This is especially true if the event is supposed to create revenue, as every dollar you spend is a dollar that has to be made back. So when you push for a bigger budget, recognize when it just won’t happen and make do with what you have.

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