The most important step in any event planning process is to plan an event budget. If you’re an employee involved with event management in any way, estimating costs, allocating funds, and mastering your budget outline is an absolute must. Let’s dive deeper into budget planning and explore some must-know tools that will make the process both easier and more efficient. We’ll also cover how you can use Wrike to budget for your event with our ready-made event budget template. If you’re not already a Wrike user, you can start a free two-week trial, no credit card required. Why is event budget planning important? Event budget planning is important because it prevents overspending. Good planning allows the team to measure their progress and identify areas to improve, so they can have the most successful event possible. Budget planning helps event organizers work within their allocated budget without constantly requesting expense approvals. With an event budget, the entire team can keep track of costs related to their event and limit them to a certain amount. Within event marketing, there are many types of planners who coordinate to plan events and meetings. Some of these are corporate meeting planners, event planners, and third-party planners. Event budget planning will benefit them all. There are many different levels of budgeting that include full event budgets or subsegments, such as chair rentals. From a general budget for all events to a specific program for each event, it’s critical to keep track of all the predicted purchases associated with each one, so the planners can stay on budget. The purpose of an event also affects the budget. If the event aims to raise money, then sponsorships can provide a great deal of revenue, which you can account for in your budget. If the goal is to improve brand awareness, then attendee feedback is also an important metric to measuring event success, which may result in additional spending — like conducting a survey. If you use event budget planning, you can ensure that the cost doesn’t exceed the goal, no matter what it is. Last but not least, budget is also a vital component of event ROI. The budget can be used to determine how much revenue the event should generate or how much money it should cost. Without information about how much you can spend, it will be challenging to approve event plans or connect all of the money, time, and effort spent to any real results. How to create an event budget Creating a budget can be overwhelming, especially if it involves handling a long list of expenses. But starting with the right template and establishing good event budget management practices can help you execute efficiently and create a higher likelihood of success. Build a strong budget in less time by working through the following steps: 1. Consider your “why” Why are you planning this event? What does this event mean to your client? Before you start planning an event budget, consider your audience so you can understand the resources required to create an event they’ll love. Since the budget will have a direct impact on spending, it needs to be clearly defined based on your goals and the type of event you're producing. 2. Look at related budgets Your past events can help you create a budget for your next event. Look at old budgets or recurring monthly budgets and identify areas of improvement. For example, if you overspent on food during an event, you might want to cut back for the next one. 3. Do your research Examine the average budget for your chosen event type and audience. A budget for a small charity event will likely be more reserved than a budget for a highly anticipated corporate conference or party. Along those same lines, an audience of charitable donors may not be as invested in quality table linen rentals as an audience of industry executives, which will be one budget area you can save on. 4. Define the big picture A good event plan should outline your goals and provide a basic idea of how you'll manage all of your finances. Mapping out all of your major expense categories can help you start estimating. 5. Fill in the blanks This is when you’ll receive quotes, estimates, and pricing for your event budget line items. Get real data directly from the sources in order to accurately lay it all out. 6. Get approval If someone needs to sign off on the budget, make sure you present the information in a way that will make sense to them. Once it’s approved, you can share it with the team. Key event planning expenses to consider Venue plus valet, decor, and supplementary lighting Speakers and sound equipment Live music or DJs Staff for both the event and catering Signage, branding, and onsite advertising Drinks, food, and snacks Attendee safety and experience features Marketing and promotion Event technology Transportation to and from the venue Rental furniture Event check-in software Wages and fees associated with vendors How to keep track of your event budget It's important to keep track of your expenses so that you can make adjustments when needed. Doing so can help you identify areas of your budget that are not as bad as they seem. A paid project and budget management tool may be worth the time it takes to manually track it all. During the event planning process, make a note of all of your event-related accounts to keep track of how much money you spend. Also note which accounts it’s all coming from. This will help you get a better understanding of your cash flow. Also, group all of your expenses into a few categories so that you can easily identify which ones are costing you the most. Aside from spending on fixed expenses, make sure to set aside a portion of your income for other unexpected event expenses that may come up. Keep in mind that lowering your fixed event expenses, such as venue rental or insurance, can make a big impact on your budget. Why use Wrike's event planning template to help with event budgeting? Event planners typically use a variety of tools to manage their projects. Some of these include budgeting, task planning, and communication apps. With Wrike’s event planning template, event managers get all three in one. Wrike’s budgeting feature gives event planners the opportunity to easily organize and monitor their budgets throughout the entire timeline of their event. Here are a few features and budget-related tasks you can manage with Wrike’ event planning budget template: 1. Event calendar Sync all your company events to one shared calendar. With this master calendar, you can select filters to view event tasks for a specific team or department, such as Marketing, for example. 2. Request forms Forget chasing down stakeholders for event details and instead consolidate all requests in one place. With Wrike request forms, you can capture all the necessary details to start working on your event and assign out action items to the appropriate teammate immediately. What’s more is that our request form can be shared with external stakeholders and used as an event brief. 3. Gantt Chart view Monitor your overall event timeline with our interactive Gantt chart view. Here, you can add milestones and due dates to keep your event on track. Should dates and deadlines change, you can easily drag and drop tasks and the dynamic timeline automatically adjusts all related work items and shares the updates with stakeholders. 4. Event asset requests and vendors dashboard Tired of losing file versions or misplacing vendor contact details? Bring your creative asset requests and vendors together to access the event info you need in one click. 5. Event management dashboard In addition to asset requests and vendors, our event planning template also gives you access to a dashboard where you can track task statuses — including Not Started, Overdue, High Priority, and Unassigned — to ensure you hit your event deadlines. Think of it like a bird’s eye view look at all the tasks and their current state. 6. Custom Item Types Not all projects are created equal, and events have their own unique terminology, so it makes sense to label the work accordingly. With Wrike Custom Item Types, you can manage your unique requirements with event terms you’re familiar with, such as Vendors, Assets, Brochures, and Booth Graphics. Use the Wrike event management template for your next project Event planning and budgeting is a complex process that requires a high level of planning and organization expertise. This template simplifies the work of event managers by providing a complete event management system that works seamlessly across various platforms. Not only that, Wrike's event planning template also streamlines budget-related tasks that hold teams accountable for managing expenses at every stage of the event. Master your next event budget planning session by starting a Wrike free trial today.
In March of 2020, businesses and event professionals postponed or canceled their painstakingly planned live events in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Virtual events soon became the norm, and organizers figured out new ways to engage audiences online. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, a new type of event has emerged: the hybrid event. Hybrid events combine online and offline experiences, giving people a choice to attend in person or watch from the comfort and safety of their own homes. From a business perspective, the benefits of hosting hybrid events are many: Access to a larger audience: The virtual side of your event can extend across borders and time zones, increasing your reach Increased ROI: A bigger reach can lead to greater sponsorship opportunities, and the flexibility of hybrid events reduces financial risk Easier data collection: Remote and onsite attendees can leave feedback via mobile event apps or in-person surveys Reduced environmental impact: There’s no need for attendees to travel, and you can cut back on catering and disposables Peace of mind: Team members and attendees alike can join in without putting themselves or others at risk According to a whitepaper by BizBash and Mediasite Events, four out of five event professionals believe hybrid events are here to stay. So, how do you plan a hybrid event, and what are the best practices for hosting a successful one? Hybrid event planning tips All events, whether in-person, virtual, or a mix of both, require careful planning. Consider these six tips to organize a successful hybrid event. Set out a vision for the event Every event needs a clear purpose. Who is your hybrid event for? Why should they want to come? What will they learn? These are all important things to consider. Setting out your vision at the very beginning will provide more clarity as you plan the event — and give your potential audience an understanding of what to expect. Create a detailed event plan A plan is essential for any event, but especially for the delicate balancing act that is a hybrid event management. Ask yourself the following questions: How many sessions will be hosted per day? How long will the sessions run? Will there be different activities for both the virtual audience and in-person audience? Who are your speakers? What are your team’s roles and responsibilities for the event? You’ll also need to plot out a marketing strategy for each audience to build anticipation for the event, highlight the key speakers, and showcase exclusive sessions. Choose your hybrid event platform wisely When choosing a venue for an in-person event, you consider the location of the space, the facilities, and the capacity. The same care must be taken when selecting your virtual venue. You need a hybrid event platform that offers live streaming, session recording, engagement features like chat and polls, tech support, and high-quality video and audio. See if you can request a demo from your chosen virtual event platform before finalizing your decision. Remember, many of your virtual attendees will require more breaks throughout the day or may only be able to log in for an hour or two. Make a plan to provide content on-demand so they can access it at a more convenient time to enhance their event experience. Tailor your content to your audience Your hybrid conference should not feel like two separate events but one event that can be experienced in two ways. Prepare your presenters to be recorded and speak in front of a camera, and don’t include any activities that one section of your audience cannot participate in. Ensure your content is relevant to both sets of event attendees, or offer them an alternative if this is not possible, like a virtual networking session that runs alongside an onsite one. In joint sessions, engage your audience with live polls and Q&As and keep things snappy — no one, online or offline, wants to sit through a three-hour speech. Communicate with your attendees Communicating with your audience is essential — it’s how you get the word out about your event. In the lead-up to your hybrid event, create an event webpage where attendees can register and access all the key details, from the location to the agenda. In the weeks beforehand, send out email reminders and tailored speaker announcements to build anticipation. Keep up a high level of communication during the event too. Your virtual attendees will need clear instructions on how to register for the event, access the sessions, and use the platform’s engagement features. Lay everything out in pre-written FAQs and consider appointing a “virtual host” to guide attendees throughout the day. This host can remind the audience of the schedule, answer any questions they might have about the platform or event, and introduce virtual-only activities. Expect the unexpected As with any occasion that brings hundreds of people together, hybrid events can be rife with pitfalls. Technical issues, platform glitches, confusion amongst attendees over where to go and what to do — all these things can derail sessions and cause delays. If you run into difficulties on the day, don’t panic. Reschedule what you need to, communicate any changes to your attendees, and get on with the show. How to plan a hybrid event with Wrike While in-person events are returning, there will continue to be a role for the hybrid event as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Wrike’s event planning tools make organizing virtual and onsite activities a breeze — use our Event Planning Template to break the project into tasks, assign work to team members, and monitor progress with custom statuses and dashboards. Interactive Gantt charts help you plan with precision, while the calendar view shows important milestones and deadlines at a glance, so you never miss a detail. Want to start planning hybrid events? Get a free, two-week Wrike trial today and see how easy hybrid event planning can be.
As 2021 draws to a close, many employees are still working remotely across the world. With this in mind, businesses are looking at how they can involve everyone within their organizations in a fun and memorable virtual Christmas party. In this guide, we’ll provide practical insight into the planning and hosting of virtual Christmas parties. Keep reading to discover the tips, tricks, and tools you need to create a successful digital event your team will actually enjoy. How to get everyone involved in a virtual Christmas party Engaging an audience of remote workers seems challenging at first. They’re already used to virtual events but not necessarily the fun kind. In order to make your virtual Christmas party exciting, you’ll need to follow some best practices for planning virtual events. The three hallmarks of improving engagement at any virtual event are the inclusion of a physical component, an interactive process, and being able to see other attendees. A physical component of a virtual event can include something sent to an attendee’s address ahead of time that they can use on the day. For a virtual Christmas party, this may be a funny themed hat or a present. Most companies choose to do virtual gift cards as their Christmas party presents for employees. Instead, make the day more exciting by sending a physical gift to every attendee. Creating a gift box or basket that people can actually open will make your virtual Christmas party that much more memorable. An interactive process requires audience participation before, during, and after the event. For example, you can spark engagement from the moment you first invite guests by using a virtual registration process that gets them excited about the event. For large groups or events, registration should be done at least two weeks in advance. And just like at an in-person event, your virtual Christmas party team leads should interact with the confirmed attendees ahead of time through fun event reminders and announcements. Pro tip: Having a virtual event registration process helps differentiate your virtual Christmas party from other digital office gatherings. It shows that this is more than just a calendar invite for a training session or regular meeting. E-cards such as the festive holiday cocktail party ones from Paperless Post are great for this. Finally, host your virtual Christmas party on a video call platform and not just on a one-way livestream or audio-only app. Require cameras to be on throughout the event. Create opportunities for guests to use every feature of the event platform. For example, you can play part games and designate teams by having Team A use the raised hand emoji and Team B use the heart emoji on Zoom. You can also use breakout rooms to create smaller groups for team building activities and Christmas-themed challenges. Top tips for planning a virtual Christmas party Planning a virtual Christmas party can feel and look a lot like planning a virtual work meeting. Here are some ways to make these two events different yet well organized: Designate a charismatic host who can keep track of the event timeline and keep everyone engaged. Use a team collaboration software like Wrike to project manage your virtual Christmas party. Ask your team what they’d like to see happen at the virtual Christmas party so they can feel involved in the planning process too. Include team building activities and icebreaker games to kick off the social part of the evening. Double-check that your host WiFi is strong and guests can hear and see you clearly. Your party should be scheduled for a Friday night instead of a Saturday afternoon if you want to maximize attendance. If you decide to go all out, make sure to provide alcohol-free transportation or driver services. If you organize a virtual Christmas party during work hours, make certain that your team is prepared to handle the additional workload. Go all out with your background decorations to make the event feel truly special. This can be a physical background filled with a Christmas tree and gifts or a customized virtual background everyone can use that has a festive design. Virtual Christmas party ideas and games your team won't hate Host a sommelier-led wine or hot cocoa tasting complete with nuts, candies, and cheese. Participate in a remote escape room experience. The winning team gets a Secret Santa gift. Have a Christmas cookie decorating competition with management as the judges. This requires some prep ahead of time but will be a visual feast for all attendees. Dress to a theme and host a contest for the best ugly sweaters, Santas, and other Christmas character outfits. Bring in classic board games such as bingo, charades, and virtual Apples to Apples. Look for versions with a holiday or Christmas twist. Invite guest performers to do stand-up comedy, play live music, or even do magic while dressed as Santa. If children are in attendance, screen a Christmas movie like “A Muppet Christmas Carol”. If it’s adults only, watch something like “Die Hard”. Host a creative workshop such as cocktail making, scarf knitting, or ornament crafting. Invite a local school, church, or community group to sing Christmas carols during the event. Start a Christmas-themed trivia game for prizes. How do you make a virtual Christmas party inclusive? Although there are various holiday celebrations and festivities that happen throughout the year, they seldom get the same attention that they deserve. An inclusive approach encourages employees to recognize that they come from a variety of faiths, traditions, and cultures. To make your virtual Christmas party more inclusive, leaders should make their employees feel valued by turning it into a virtual office holiday party instead. Or, if hosting a true Christmas celebration is important to the majority of your team, make sure you’re upfront about it. Sometimes an employer will announce a regular holiday event that ends up feeling, looking, and sounding a lot like a Christmas party. But according to the experts at the Society for Human Resource Management, it’s much better to be upfront about which holiday or holidays will be represented at your party than mislabeling it for the sake of inclusion. If you do host a virtual Christmas party, make sure to also acknowledge and give the appropriate time off for other winter holiday celebrations for employees who celebrate those instead. How to plan a virtual Christmas party with Wrike Wrike is an online task management system that manages to-do lists and multi-department projects, including events like virtual Christmas parties. Its advanced features allow it to efficiently organize groups of people. To start, it's important that the virtual Christmas party planning team has a centralized folder for each major portion of the event running at the same time. This way, they can easily identify which parts of the plan are complete and which ones are still in progress. Next, each team has its own subfolders, which can be organized into areas of responsibility and major initiatives. This system also keeps all of the important details organized, allowing each team to set its own deadlines and work seamlessly with the other event crew. For virtual Christmas parties, this means keeping track of everything from mailing invitations and gifts to arranging live performers. After, Wrike users can add a registration folder to their virtual Christmas party project. The registration folder contains all the necessary information related to attendee registration. From there, tasks can be broken down into specific sub-tasks with more detail. For example, if your task is to host a cookie baking contest, your sub-task list may include the item “draft contest rules by December 15”. In addition to adding dates to tasks and sub-tasks, members of the event management team can add custom tags to each item. This will make tasks easier to find, sort, and assign to the appropriate team members. Each team can customize their tag options in Wrike to fit their own guidelines for breaking down tasks into action items. For example, teams can designate certain tasks as “Administrative” to automatically sort logistics-based tasks into one skimmable list. Once you've created a list of tasks, you can start scheduling them in Wrike. Doing so in the timeline view will help organize them nicely and ensure that your announcements, invitations, RSVPs, and party shopping all get done on time. There are lots of ways to view tasks once you have them created and assigned. Drag-and-drop tasks can be organized in a timeline view. You can also group them into predefined hierarchies. And if one task is dependent on another (such as waiting for RSVPs to come in before putting together the gift baskets), Wrike allows users to connect tasks and send automated notifications and reminders to the appropriate people when it’s time to move on to the next steps. Having task dependencies makes it easier to identify which tasks are dependent on which part of your virtual Christmas party plan. Also, it saves you time when you need to update the status of a specific task since Wrike will trigger these reminders for you. And after your virtual Christmas party is over, you can simply just drag and drop the entire folder into a "Past Events" folder for next year. Create a templated version of your planning process to streamline future event planning and organizing. Or simply keep a record of the fun everyone had and how you brought it to life. No matter how you use the information, it’s handy to have on file within your project management system for future reference. Ready to get your virtual Christmas party organized and on track to be a big hit? Get started today with Wrike’s two-week free trial to take advantage of our detailed task management capabilities.
If this sounds like the last event you managed, then I suggest you start stealing. We all know the greats do it: Good writers borrow, great writers steal. Good artists copy, great artists steal. It’s about time that event managers started stealing, too. So whom are you to steal from? Project managers, of course. Inside The Project Manager’s Toolbox Large events such as product launches, industry conferences, and promotional affairs are just projects in disguise. Since project management methodologies are closely aligned with event planning, the gadgets you need to make your event successful are already available. Most project managers have a powerful digital toolbox known as project management software. The best applications provide a central place where you can plan and assign tasks, track and communicate with vendors, and oversee everything you need to keep an event running smoothly. Let’s review some of the most important features of PM software, and how they relate to event planning: Gantt Charts Humans are visual creatures. When planning and scheduling an event, it’s helpful to have a visual that transforms a conceptual workload into actionable items. This is where Gantt charts come in. A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart used to illustrate start and finish dates for critical tasks. They are particularly helpful for visualizing a project’s timeline and quickly assessing whether or not your event is on schedule. Event management requires tracking many separate teams and vendors, whose tasks are often interconnected or dependent. Gantt charts allow you to assign dependencies to tasks which need to be performed in a particular order. All major tasks and milestones necessary for project execution can be chronologically depicted with this tool. You can also monitor the progress of each high level task at a glance, which is valuable in situations where a change in the timing of one task affects all the other tasks that depend on it. File Sharing When events have multiple teams and vendors, it’s critical to have an easy way to share documents and information. Project management software with file sharing tools provides an accessible central storage area for all important information and common documents. This eliminates redundant revisions and the need to exchange documents via email. Not only is this great for team collaboration, but for tracking and managing vendor proposals, contracts, negotiations, and invoices. Collaboration Tools Project management software is the swiss army knife of collaboration. Thanks to robust features and integrations, most platforms can be tailored to the needs of your team or event. Need to keep in touch with colleagues, ask quick project questions, or send documents (perhaps a revised guestlist, for instance)? Instant messaging has you covered. Need to get everyone out of their overloaded inbox and on the same page? Project management software allows individuals to comment on tasks, tag keywords or people in questions, and get notifications of updates and progress changes automatically. Need to work with different vendors or teams for each event? A good project management platform will offer additional collaborator licenses for free. This means contractors can discuss progress, upload files, and mark tasks complete— which makes tracking vendors simple. Kanban Boards Another helpful visualization tool is a Kanban board. Once an event’s major milestones are determined, Kanban boards are helpful for breaking them into bite-sized chunks. Teams can see their group objective, then delegate responsibilities by adding subtasks and individual action items with deadlines. Kanban boards provide transparency by letting everybody see what everybody else is working on. Event managers can quickly see where resources are allocated, monitor team or vendor progress, and identify bottlenecks. This tool also reinforces efficient project behavior. For example, when everyone’s work is visualized, it deters individuals from overcommitting and limits the amount of deliverables in progress. Event Planning is a Project Events can be a powerful strategic marketing tool for any size company. Making your events successful requires a holistic view of collaboration from planning to execution. Project management software helps you plan a timeline, manage deadlines, facilitate collaboration, and track vendors. Managers use these tools in tandem with their methodology of choice to carefully articulate project goals, expectations, milestones, and key deliverables. Good event planners use a project manager’s methodology, great event managers steal their tools. About the author: Jenna Puckett is an associate technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. She covers topics related to project management, marketing automation, employee performance, and other emerging tech trends. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Corporate team building activities are some of the most fun and effective ways for your employees to bond and set a foundation for strong professional relationships. Learn more about the best ways to integrate both indoor and outdoor corporate team building activities and ideas into your business.
As a college student, time is of the essence. Especially when being a well-rounded student consists of maintaining excellent grades, participating in multiple clubs, extra-curricular activities, and events, and gaining experience through various jobs and internships. It's safe to say, students have a lot on their plate. And if you're anything like I was in college, procrastination is all too real, all-nighters are second nature, and the piggy bank is running on empty. Wrike is offering college students an opportunity to save time by collaborating in a single free tool. Wrike's free student collaboration software allows you and your classmates to manage multiple projects and events all in one place. Instead of shuffling through emails and text messages for project updates, switch to Wrike to assign tasks, upload and version files, and @mention a classmate to update them immediately on any changes to the project. Are some team members not pulling their weight? Wrike helps you keep everyone accountable by allowing you to assign and schedule when tasks are due. Anytime you want a status update, just open up the task and check the progress. The mobile app is great for checking updates in between class and editing tasks on the go. Here are some common use cases where you can use Wrike's student collaboration tool to help save time, money, and effort: Clubs Managing a club (or several) is a huge undertaking, especially when it's not your only responsibility. Managing memberships, events, meetings, and fees all take time and effort. Wrike provides a platform to house all that data and manage it on the go. Write down meeting minutes with Wrike's live editor and attach designs for fliers and banners directly to the task. Upload spreadsheets with membership info and version the files when new members leave or join. Assign newsletters with due dates to team members and create event folders with subtasks of to-do's. Instead of sending a text, @mention members in a task so they're notified directly in the tool. Events There are countless events in college that require extensive planning and preparation. Having everything in one place helps streamline the planning process and clearly define what everyone's role is in preparing for the event. Set the event date as a milestone so other planners can see that it's a hard deadline and can't be moved. Once you set the milestone, schedule all the event tasks accordingly so your team has plenty of time to complete their tasks. Wrike's Gantt Chart allows you to see a timeline of what tasks are completed or in progress leading up to the big day. You can also create dependencies so some tasks won't be started unless other tasks are completed first. When you host similar events in the future, copy and paste the template of subtasks so you know you're not forgetting any details. Group Projects Working in a group is great for promoting collaboration and splitting up work, but sometimes it can be a hassle to communicate and track accountability. The Workflow feature in Wrike allows you to update task status quickly so everyone in the group can check on the progress. Assigning tasks to different team members helps hold individuals accountable for their tasks and eliminates confusion on how work is divided. When you @mention someone on a task, they will immediately receive an email notifying them of the comment. All @mentions and comments are tracked in Wrike so there is no lost communication or poor visibility. Of course, you can also have private tasks and folders, so you can manage your personal assignments as well. What are some student projects that Wrike can help with? Share your examples with us in the comments. And if you haven't started using Wrike for your student projects yet, start your free Wrike Student account today!