Guidance on budgeting for your society and events!

Guidance on budgeting for your society and events!

Budgeting is incredibly important for societies, from forecasting spending for the academic year to ensuring that events are viable financially and don’t pose any financial risk.  

Budgets are required in the following situations: 

  1.  Selling tickets for an event  

  1. An event which falls under TOMS or Educational 

  1. If you are selling a product such as society stash  

Event Budgets

Event budgets are an essential part of event planning, this is so you can plan your spending and determine the income you will need. It is important that you are providing members with value for money and ensuring society money is spent appropriately, in line with the aims and objectives of the group. This means it is important to research all your costs, before you write your budget and set ticket costs etc.  

You should consider the following when starting to write your budget: 

  • What will you need to purchase for the event?  

  • Make sure you get at least 3 quotes for each item to ensure you are paying the price which is the most value for money 

  • Check which items you will be able to get a VAT receipt for, as this will reduce your expenditure costs as you can reclaim this amount.  

  • Remember you will need to add a 10% contingency to account for any unplanned costs – make sure you factor this into any total costs 

  • If your event has a limit to the number of people who can attend, this will determine your sales limit. 

  •  You can then take your expenditure and divide it by the number of tickets you can sell to work out the cost of one ticket. 

  •  If there is no limit to the number of tickets you can sell, then determine how many tickets you realistically can sell and use this as the divider.  

  • Remember, income is subject to VAT unless it falls under one of the VAT Exemptions, the budget template will automatically calculate this for you, once you’ve entered in the income into the ‘Gross’ column.  

  • You may want to discount tickets for members, this will need to come from your society account so make sure that you can offer this discount to all members if they want to attend. This is also referred to as a society subsidy and will need to be included in your budget. 

  • Your budget should breakeven (I.e. income=expenditure) or the expected income should be larger than the expected expenditure. Under no circumstance will a budget be approved if expenditure is larger than income.  

  • Never announce your event ticket price before completing your budget, as this will largely depend on the costs from expenditure.  

You can download the budget template here and for an example budget, see here. Event budgets must be uploaded to your society Onenote, stash budgets can be emailed to Activities@exeterguild.com.

VAT Exempt Budgets

If you are running an educational or TOMS event, you'll need to complete a VAT exempt budget template. You'll need to complete the template at two different times throughout your event. 

When submitting your event, you'll need to submit your VAT exempt budget, by only filling in the planned income and expenditure.Use quotes to help you complete this! 

Once your event has finished, you'll need to complete the column labelled 'final' for both expenditure and income. This is to show the exact amounts you received and spent. This needs to be submitted to Activities via email. 

To download the VAT Exempt budget template click here.

Annual Budgeting

Annual budgets are a really useful tool for planning your society year and determining what you can offer to your members. Whilst you may not know exactly what you will be doing each term and how much things will cost, it is a good idea to plan as much as possible so you know roughly how much money you will be spending and when, and therefore how much income you will require.  

Things to consider: 

  • Your main source of income at the beginning of the year will be membership, you won’t know how many members you will have until the end of Freshers’ Week, however you can make an estimate based on previous years. 

  • If you have secured sponsorship, you can factor this into your income. Make sure you take into consideration whether there is any restriction on how this sponsorship must be spent I.e. on specific activities or a specific event 

  • Have a look at what events worked well for your society/group in previous years, and you can use the budgets from these events as a basis 

  • Have a think what new events you want to introduce, and come up with a basic outline of what costs you would incur and what income you would need 

  • Will you need to put any costs towards marketing and recruitment of members? 

  • Is there any equipment or supplies your society requires in order to run? 


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