Planning a Cost-Effective Special Event


Event Setups

At Katz & Associates, we are always cognizant of project budgets; after all, the majority of our clients are public agencies that often have limited resources and funds allotted for each project. With the economy turning around, projects that were once on hold are now reaching milestones, and agencies want to celebrate these accomplishments. Planning a special event, such as a groundbreaking or ribbon-cutting, can be a great way to celebrate success with stakeholders, but it also means keeping an eye on the project budget.

Here are our top tips for planning a cost-effective special event:

  • Use online notifications. Email invitations, customized Web pages, social media posts, online calendar announcements and blog articles can all help avoid or minimize printing and postage costs.
  • Find sponsorships. Building partnerships with vendors can be mutually beneficial. The agency can keep costs down by using in-kind donations, while vendors can gain publicity.
  • Support local businesses. Local businesses sometimes feel the brunt of construction projects, so upon project completion, try to give back by using them for services like catering, floral arrangements or event rentals. In addition, using local vendors can keep delivery and setup costs down because travel expenses are minimized.
  • Keep venue costs down. Venue rentals can be pricey and exhaust event budgets. Public parks and community centers are often free to government agencies and can be spacious event sites. Libraries are also a good option as many constructed in the last 10 to 15 years have beautiful meeting rooms and patios available for these types of functions. Park picnic tables can double as seating for a small community event, and community centers often have plenty of tables and chairs for larger events. Free, public event spaces will also be well-received by the public because it shows careful spending of taxpayer money.
  • Provide the appropriate equipment. If the event is only an hour long, it probably does not make sense to rent three portable restrooms. If you are expecting 100 attendees, it probably does not make sense to rent 200 chairs. All equipment rentals, catering and printing quantities should be on par with the number of expected attendees and the length of the event. Unnecessary additions will impact the budget.
  • Utilize team talents for staffing. Pull in your staff to support the event in order to cut back on outside vendor costs. Assign tasks based on abilities; for example, someone creative may be helpful as a photographer, and someone with great organizational skills could help at a welcome table.
  • Don’t forget the ambiance. Small details can go a long way toward setting the tone. Music, even if it’s recorded, can help make people feel welcomed before they even walk in and encourage more mingling. Simple refreshments, even if they are from Costco, can be delicious, and grocery store tabletop bouquets can be beautiful. Don’t be afraid of a little DIY magic to add to the atmosphere, because it’s likely that those are the details that will be remembered.