Organising a Tech Conference – 4. Preparing the budget

Post 4 of 15

This post is all about making sure that organising a conference won’t run a loss. It can be a tricky exercise to ensure all possible are covered in a preliminary budget so here is a list for you to use as a starting point. Here is a spreadsheet with all of the basic formulae and income/expenses if you don’t like to read.



There are quite a few ways to generate income when organising a conference. Here are the three main sources of income:

  • Ticket sales
  • Sponsors
  • Exhibitors

Other sources of income could be

  • Advertising space (programme, website, mobile app, etc.)
  • Streaming of presentations/workshops
  • Access to video archive or presentations/workshops



This post is a little bit trickier, as it really depends on your needs. Here is the list of items we had in our preliminary budget.

  • Design
    • Logo design
    • Stock photos
  •  Catering
    • Tea & coffee
    • Snacks
    • etc.
  • Free tickets
  • Restaurants & social events
    • Dinners
    • Drinks
  • T-Shirts
  • Stationary
    • Chart paper
    • Marker pens
    • Post-it notes
    • Felt-tips
    • Card paper
    • Etc.
  • Lanyards
  • Technology
    • Connection leads (e.g. HDMI, DVI)
    • SD cards
    • Wifi improvements
    • Rentals (e.g. screens, etc.)
  • Cleaning
  • Staff overtime
  • Stage
    • Special lighting
    • Stage furniture
  • Photographer
  • Software
    • Subscriptions
    • Mobile apps
    • Licenses
    • Etc.
  • Printing
    • Programme
    • Banners
    • Posters
    • Inserts for lanyards
    • etc.
  • Transportation
  • Keynote speaker
    • Speaker fee
    • Flights
    • Accommodation
    • Transfer
    • Per-Diem
  • Conference bags
  • Freebies

There are other possible expenses

  • Website design and hosting
  • Rental of venue
  • Insurance
  • Security
  • Etc.


Calculating the ticket price

It is important to work out which items are ‘fixed’ and which are ‘variable’. For example, it is likely that the fee for your main keynote speaker is going to be ‘fixed’ (i.e. it will cost the same if you have 2 attendees or 350), while income from ticket sales will be ‘variable’.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when preparing a budget:

  • Add a ‘contingency’ of 10% or more to each expense
  • Don’t forget that you may need to pay VAT when purchasing items, but will need to deduct it from your income
  • It won’t be perfect

Here is a spreadsheet that you can use as a starting point

Sample Budget


In the next post, I will discuss all of the information we decided to include in our website.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Feasibility study when organising a technology conference
Organising a Tech Conference – 3. Feasibility study

Post 3 of 15 Once the boss has agreed to the idea of organising a conference at your workplace, it is...