Special Events Budgeting

You need to be absolutely meticulous in budgeting and accounting for a special event. You need to ensure that no money goes missing and that you’re not heading towards a loss.

When you're working on your special event budget, you will need to be able to track every dollar and record every decision and retrieve the data promptly when you need it.

The budget for your special event must be

  • Comprehensive,
  • Flexible,
  • Up-to-date, and
  • Fully documented.

Below we have outlined some of the key considerations relating to special event budgeting.


  • Even if doing your budget on computer or through a software program like Excel, keep records on paper of any significant authorisations.
  • Make sure your filing system can keep track of receipts against cheques. An auditor should be able to backtrack over the entire series of transactions.
  • If you're taxed, make sure that you can identify any possible deductibles arising from your event, and keep an eye on which financial year your expenditures and income fall into.

Handling money

  • Money that's been collected needs to be guarded and recorded while it's in your possession before it goes to the bank. Make sure your office procedures protect cash, accounts, and credit card details appropriately.


  • Depending on the scale of the event, you may need to open a special bank account dedicated to the income and expenditure relating to this one source to help you keep track of incomings and outgoings.

Expenditure and income

Don't leave blanks; your best guess is better than a refusal to estimate. Include ALL income and expenditure items in the table. Review your list to ensure you don't leave any out and are left with some unpleasant surprises. Set up sub-budgets for each heading and take their totals into the summary budget.


  • Circulate the budget to all key event volunteers and staff so they can (a) understand the big picture and (b) feed in any items you've overlooked.
  • Run an eye over the budget every week, and at every point where a cost or a gain is finalised, to see whether you are on track or in trouble.

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