Budgeting and financing your event
So, you’ve got a date picked out. Now you need to work out how you’re going to fund the event. All CSTS events are funded by the local crews. There is no seed funding or financial assistance available from the CSTS Global Team or Global Steering Committee.
The things you and your crew have to cover include: venue hire, equipment hire, film rental, advertising, printing, ticketing etc. All these costs should be factored into a budget, so that you are clear on just how much money you’ll need to run your event. And you’ll need to make sure that you have enough financing available to get you started. It is less stressful if you have enough funds to cover the venue hire and film rental to start with.
There are lots of ways that you can finance your event. You may have a generous individual who is willing to front the money. You can spend a few months before the event fundraising by selling chocolates and other similar items. You can also sell advertising space and get sponsors.
There have been some great ideas used by event organisers over the years to fund their events, so have a look at some of these and see if you can use them. Feel free to add more ideas so that we can help each other get inspired.
One thing that's really important is to start early. The earlier you start, the better chance you have of raising the money you need to fund your event (particularly if you don't have willing volunteers who can front some money for you).
The idea of building seed money can take a lot of pressure off organising your CSTS event, but something we would recommend is ensuring that you have someone extremely trustworthy holding the funds. The funds need to be kept separate to an individuals personal funds (we keep ours in a separate savings account) and good records need to be kept. It's also a good idea to work towards formalising your group (starting with identifying who would be a treasurer etc). Learn from other established fan groups in your area, or community groups. Find out what they do.
We also recommend that any attempts to build seed money is done separately to your main CSTS event. This is mainly because the people who attend our events are doing so on the understanding that their donations are going towards charities, not going to the people running the event. It's a fine line to walk, and it's best to try to avoid having any reason for attendees to question where the money they give at your CSTS event money is going.
There are lots of ways to generate seed money without dipping into the profits of your CSTS event. Times are tough, but that doesn't mean we give up - we just need to be more creative and think outside the box. Here's some ideas to get you started:
* Find cheap/free venues for social events, and request a donation of $1-5 from attendees (make sure they know it's going towards building a pot of seed money to put on your event).
* Sell hand-made/fan-made items on etsy, eBay, at community markets, at conventions, through geek friendly stores, at social events.
* Contact fan friendly vendors to get merchandise discounts so that you can re-sell the items at the recommended retail price, with the difference going towards your seed money. Fan friendly retailers include QMx, Dark Horse, Done the Impossible and the other Merchandise Partners that CSTS has negotiated with this year.
* Add a donations button to your group's website, so that individuals can donate to your group throughout the year.
* Hold a BBQ, bake sale, etc
* Sell advertising space in your event programs/on your group's website.
Global Steering Committee Chair (2010-2015)
Global Team: Comms Lead (2009)
Local Organiser/Crew: Melbourne (2007, 2009-2016), Vancouver (2006)
New Melbourne Browncoats Inc President - newmelbournebrowncoats.com