Using a fundraising event budget can help organizations plan and prepare for upcoming events by anticipating income and expenses. Whether you are hosting a walkathon, charity golf tournament, gala and charity auction, or another fundraising campaign, financial tracking and planning are key ingredients to a successful fundraising event.
Projecting Fundraising Income
Setting estimated values for incoming revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships, online donations, and product sales can help you estimate projected income and establish financial goals for your fundraising event. Once your goals are set, you can continually monitor your progress and identify shortcomings. This is a critical step, as you cannot measure the success of your fundraising efforts without establishing these goals in advance of your campaign. This job will be easier if you have hosted this event or a similar event. Look to your previous events and determine how you can raise more and a realistic (but optimistic) idea of how much more you can raise.
If you have earned less than projected in sponsorship dollars, perhaps you can rethink your sponsorship levels. What about the benefits – are sponsors seeing the value in your offering? Monitoring incoming donations is easily done on your fundraising website. Your organization sets a fundraising goal and automatically tracks this progress as donations come in with a fundraising thermometer and other macros. If your organization seems to be falling short of reaching your goal, you can do last-minute appeals via email and Social Media to your constituents, informing them of the gap and need for funds, and helping to rally last-minute donations.
Here are questions to consider in projecting your fundraising income:
- Are you charging an admission fee for your fundraising event? If so, estimate the number of event attendees and the amount you intend to raise from ticket sales.
- Do you intend to secure sponsorships from local businesses?
- Do you plan to host a charity auction or fundraising raffle as part of your event?
- Will you sell fundraising merchandise (i.e., fundraising t-shirts, hats, golf balls)?
- Do you have access to volunteers who can help minimize staffing fees?
- Can you receive in-kind donations or services to help you save money?
Estimating and Recording Expenses
Estimating expenses can help during the event planning stages to ensure you stay within your budget and don’t spend too much time or money on any specific initiative. But with expenses, surprises always come up! Be sure to update your expenses as your event progresses. This fundraising event budget is pre-populated with examples of items you may want to include, such as venue rental, marketing expenses, food and beverages, entertainers, prizes, and a nonprofit event management platform.
Below are some questions you’ll want to ask when putting together your fundraising budget expenses:
- Are you hosting your fundraiser at a venue that costs money?
- Will you rent tents, tables, chairs, microphones, or other equipment?
- Will you pay staff, vendors, caterers, and entertainers?
- How much will you spend on decorations?
- Do you intend to spend money on event promotion (ads, posters, etc.)?
- Do you plan to purchase fundraising event software to help manage the event and accept online donations?
- Does your event require permits or event insurance?
- Will you have other general expenses such as postage, printing fees, or others?
Download a Free Fundraising Event Budget Template
The sample fundraising event budget template here includes a profit/loss summary to help you visually compare income and expenses so your organization can be aware of your breaking point and profitability margin. Whatever size of fundraising event you are hosting, this fundraising event budget will help predict and estimate costs and income. After all, the point of hosting a fundraiser is to raise money for your cause.