Event Managementby Rus Slater
Financial and legal considerations
At any major event, there are likely to be certain financial and legal considerations that must be addressed.
Some events will be centrally funded and others may relay on ticket sales. If the former, you will want to consider the total cost. In the case of the latter, you need to balance affordability with perceived value. In either case, you must balance the objective of the event with financial prudence, risk assessment and market research.
Is your pricing appropriate to what you want to achieve? If the event is a ‘thank you’, you may decide not to charge or to charge only a nominal or administrative cost.
Have you considered the likelihood of this venture being only a partial success? Spending £1000 on a band and a casino will still cost a £1000, whether you sell 50 tickets or 500.
Have you priced tickets in relation to the cost you are incurring? A dinner dance where you are investing in quality food, venue and entertainment should suggest a different ticket price to a barn dance with a barbecue and caller.
Have you priced your event to attract your* people? Have you taken into account the price of competition in the form of other local events and clashing occasions (such as the World Cup qualifiers)?
*Your people means your target audience. Bear in mind that this could range from the MD, who would not miss £500, to the cleaner, for whom the cost of a £30 dinner jacket from ASDA is a major outlay.
If income will be generated at your event, you will need to plan how that income will be managed:
- If you are running a sponsored event, you will need to be clear about
- Who has to collect the money
- By what time income must be received.
- Will you need to provide floats for stallholders? If so, when, how much, and in what denominations.
- How is cash to be secured during and after the event?
- What form can payment take – cash, cheques (payable to?), Paypal, credit/debit card?
- If cash, how are you prepared to accept it? Just a tin of cash, or counted and bagged for banking?
- If you are running an auction, how will you ‘capture’ the details of the winning bidder?
When must lots be removed from the sale?
Gift Aid is also very valuable if you are running a charity event.
- In an Auction of Promises, are bids to be paid on completion of the auction or on delivery of the lot?
- If the event is likely to be repeated, you may need to separate income from different parts of the event for management accounting purposes.
You will need to consider a number of areas which will need paying for, including
- Bar and sale stock
- Venue hire
- Printing and advertising
- Equipment costs (audio visual, signage, bollards and so on)
You will also need to consider any ‘underwriting’ of cancellation fees.
You will need to consider cash flow and payment terms for suppliers, and whether the project team is empowered to spend/commit without the authorisation of higher management.
It is said that you can insure anything and this is pretty much true, if you are prepared to pay the premium. There are certain insurances that are virtually mandatory and there are some that are more worthwhile than others.
Insurances that are most common and recommended
- Public liability
- Staff/helper/volunteer liability
Insurances that are available for certain circumstances
- Loss of earnings
- Low probability competitions (for example, throw 6 sixes in one and win a car)
You need to remember that while this event may not be taking place on your property or in your working hours, you still have both to obey the law and to ensure that you have the protection of same.
If you are going to have helpers/guests who are below the legal age of consent, you should consider getting parental permission and disclaimers, and be considerate of legal limits on working hours of those who are in school or college.
Think about what disclaimers you ought to put on ticket sale refunds or how you will prepare for folk who sober up after the auction and realise how much they bid for something.
Be aware of making ‘promises’ in early publicity: you need to be sure that you are not overselling to the point where people than have a legal claim against you if you have to substitute a celebrity.
Remain aware of disability discrimination/equality regulations; this is particularly pertinent to activities that could exclude disabled people.