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Fund Your Event.

Andy Robertson

You have a great idea for an event and have chanced an enthusiastic venue owner or built a close relationship with an artist or two. Although most events are organised and run by big corporations there are still a large number of independently run and funded events. Even with no funds of your own it may be possible to get your event funded with a little creativity.  

A lot of event funding is usually only possible if you are good at building relationships with others and can sell an idea. How can you minimise your investment and risk when planning an event? 

Venues and Landlords. 
If you know friendly venue managers and owners you can pitch your event idea to them. Bear in mind most venues make their money from F&B sales and will likely want to take a cut of ticket and vendor sales so you could negotiate to get the venue for free.  

Artists and Performers.
Perhaps you already have a relationship with artists and performers so you can pitch the concept and idea to them. Get them to agree in principle and ask them if you can use their commitment as leverage in your other fund-raising negotiations. 

Brewery companies will almost always have a sponsorship buget for events. For them it’s a branding opportunity especially if they are in the process of running a campaign for a specific product. Depending on the intended size of your event a brewery can make up the largest chunk of your funding. 

If you believe you have a captive audience you can always try crowdfunding, it may work if you have a good story to tell and can show successful previous experience in running events. Crowdfunding could work for smaller amounts but you are unlikely to raise any significant funds, certainly you will have to offer something in return like share of revenue or discounted VIP tickets for example.       

Financial Investors and Angels. 
For some who have good connections it may be possible to get a friendly or sympathetic investor to bankroll your event but you will have to present a fairly watertight pitch to them that clearly demonstrates potential financial returns.

Try not to depend too much on pre-event ticket sales revenue and balance this with financial commitment form sponsors and investors. Many independently run events and music festivals rely on early ticket sales revenue to fund their event, this is a high-risk strategy and leaves the organiser vulnerable should anything happen. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen numerous independent companies struggle with cancelled events as they relied almost exclusively on pre-event tickets sales revenue and are now presented with the prospect of having to make refunds.  

In your planning process put together a professional pitch pack that should include your events experience, the artists confirmed, venue location and dates. Also include details of the commitment you have from sponsors and vendors along with financial forecasts, costs and returns. Most importantly you will need a team that can present this in a professional and enthusiastic way.   

To help in planning your event you can use an event software solution like FestivalPro. This software provides full functionality to record every aspect of your event and assist in the planning process you will need to go through. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and are performance artists themselves. When raising funds for your event it will certainly help your pitch by having your plans documented on a software platform like FestivalPro.    

Andy Robertson
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