The Money Tree: How to Increase Event Revenue

“I love to talk about creative ways to help my clients make more money through their event.”

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Growing up, one of my dad’s favourite expressions was: “Money doesn’t grow on trees you know!”

I told myself that when I became a parent, I would NEVER rant at my kids about money growing on trees.

So, instead, I rant at them about how they must think I have a printing press in the basement churning out $20 bills. I also like to toss out the infamous rhetorical question – “Does it look like I won the lottery!?”

The truth is, I love to talk about creative ways to help my clients make more money through their event. And none of my tips involve planting a money tree in the backyard or producing counterfeit bills or investing in the 6/49.

Making money is fun and after you establish a clear idea on how much your event is going to cost, you can turn your attention to estimating event revenues.

Most Common Event Revenue Streams

A few of the most common revenue streams for events are:

  1. Attendee registration/ticket sales
  2. Trade show fees 
  3. Sponsorship

But, there are also many other ways to bring in money to offset expenses at your event.

Just like variable expenses that fluctuate on a per person basis, some event revenues do too. Event revenue from registration fees or ticket sales, for example, will vary widely based on the number of people who attend the event. This is why it is a good idea to set revenue targets based on various scenarios for potential attendee turnout –  a low turnout scenario, an average turnout scenario and an optimistic or high turnout scenario. 

Setting Your Fees/Prices

Are you offering an early bird price and a regular price? Is there a general rate and a student or seniors rate? Do you have a two-for-one offer or buy 10 tickets and get two free?

Your pricing strategy for the event will obviously need to be factored into drafting the revenue side of your event budget. This is when your event history can help a lot. You can use your event historical data to gauge your most realistic attendance numbers.  You can also guesstimate the percentage of each type of attendee and crunch the numbers accordingly. It’s fun to play around with different scenarios to see how this impacts your event bottom line.

For a first-time event when there is no past history of participation, estimating event ticket/registration revenue is more challenging. You are going to have to research attendance numbers at similar events to try to determine a realistic estimate for your budget.

Sponsorship & Trade Show Revenue

Another major source of revenue for events can come from brands who sponsor and exhibit at your event. It is a good idea to have a sponsorship prospectus that outlines what you have to offer, however don’t be afraid to work outside the box. Most often, sponsors are more interested in finding new and creative ways to promote their product and/or service and engage with event attendees than opting into your stock packages. We share more about common sponsorship mistakes like this one on our blog: 5 Common Sponsorship Mistakes. 

When budgeting for sponsorship revenue, use your event history or guesstimate a realistic amount of money that you can bring in through sponsorship. This revenue will likely not fluctuate up and down based on attendance (unless of course your sponsors bail on you when your attendance number is not what you promised it to be – yikes!).

NOTE: Sponsorship is a whole topic in itself and I am not fully delving into it here. Plus, I am only skimming the surface on ways to create additional funding for your event. There is lots more where this came from in Volume III of my eBook and don’t forget to read my blog on 5 Common Sponsorship Mistakes and Activation Ideas for Sponsors Will Actually Want to Sponsor for some great tips on how to engage brands in sponsoring your event. 

Conclusion

In summary, when all else fails and you are desperate for additional event revenue, you could always try planting a money tree! It never ended up growing in my backyard at home when I was a kid, but you never know …. technology has changed since then.