Creating a budget can seem tedious, but it is absolutely critical for event planners. It helps organisers keep track of money coming in and out throughout the event lifecycle, and is imperative for decision making – no matter what the event goals are.

Create an Event Budget Step by Step

There are different factors to consider when planning a virtual event than there are with in-person ones. For example, you don’t have to think about venue hire, but you do need to consider the cost of hosting online. That’s why having a detailed budget specific to your webinar is so important.

Let’s get started!

Spreadsheets are your friends

A spreadsheet is the most comprehensive platform for your budget, as it allows for calculations and itemisation. We suggest using Google Sheets, as you can share it with relevant parties, update it in real-time for everyone, and have multiple pages within one document.

Now you can go about creating your table. Include columns for Item Name, Description, Projected Cost, Actual Cost, the Difference, and Notes.

Item name: Be as clear as possible, especially if you aren’t the only person looking at the document. Link each item to its corresponding webpage for easy reference.

Description: Add a summary of all the important details that other parties will need to know.

Projected Cost: Do some research and include an accurate estimate for each item. Consider tax, shipping fees, and any other related costs.

Actual Cost: Leave this blank until you actually spend money. Link each cost to its digital receipt.

Difference: Calculate the difference between the projected and actual costs. This will help you estimate your next virtual event budget.

Notes: Include any other pertinent information, such as actionables for your colleagues or contact information.

Now let’s look at the different items you should include in your budget.


Anything with an associated expense needs to be an item in your budget. Think about the speakers, marketing, online tools and hosting, and custom event apps – everything that costs money to make this event happen.

While your budget gives you an accurate estimate of the costs, you should prepare for unforeseen expenses, such as VAT, delivery fees, or cancellations. Setting aside 5-20% of your total budget for unexpected costs is a good safety net, and a backup fund also allows your team to make decisions on their own if there’s an emergency.


How are you making money from this event? Whether it be from ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales or others, you should include all revenue in your budget. Having these numbers will help you calculate your total profit and ROI (Return on Investment).

If the aim of your online event is to earn a profit, you can calculate the ROI with this formula:

[(Total Revenue from the Event – Total Cost of the Event) ÷ Total Cost of the Event ] X 100 = ROI

Budgeting for digital events presents its own set of issues, such as overspending, miscalculations, and unanticipated costs. However, a well-planned event budget – combined with the correct technology platform – can help you reach your objectives. To make planning even easier, get a free budget template here!


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