While we want to host events that serve the community, lead people to Christ, and strengthen disciples, those events can be expensive to pull off. Event materials, décor, catering, supplies, equipment rentals, and more can add up quickly.

Your church may have included an overall budget for events within each department or a lump sum for the year. However, it might be time to consider budgeting for each event individually.

Creating a budget for each event provides an opportunity to determine which events you’ll host in the upcoming year and will spark conversation on the scope for each event.

Here are several categories to consider as you develop an event budget:

1. Venue

This includes the cost to rent a facility for your event. Even if you host the event at your church, you’ll incur costs to heat/cool the building, clean up afterward (janitorial), pay for electricity and water usage, etc.

2. Catering

If you plan on serving food at the event, you’ll need to hire a catering company or make sure anyone preparing food has a food handler’s permit (as required by your local authorities).

3. Equipment Rental

Depending on the size and scope of the event, you may need to rent additional tables, chairs, staging, speakers, lights, tents, two-way radios, or other items.

4. Décor

You may need to purchase materials to decorate the main stage and other areas of the church to set the atmosphere for the event. This could include stage building materials, candles, flowers, balloons, linens, and more.

5. Signage

If you have a large venue with event activities happening in various rooms, you’ll need to post signs to help attendees find where they’re going to next.

6. Security

Anytime you gather a large crowd; it’s wise to have some security on-hand to prevent or respond to any issues.

You might have a security team of volunteers who can serve on an event day. However, you may also need to supplement that team with off-duty police officers and even consider having an ambulance on-site.

7. Advertising

Especially if you’re inviting the community to attend this event (and not only church attendees), you’ll need to advertise the event beyond Sunday services. You might need to pay for Facebook ads, radio or TV ads, billboards, or flyers to distribute in various locations around town.

8. Merchandise

If you plan to sell event T-shirts, books that go along with the theme of the event, or other items, you’ll need to budget for the initial purchase of this merchandise. Obviously, the goal is to make back that money by selling your inventory, but you’ll still need to pay for them up front.

9. Print Materials

These could include the event tickets, workbooks, handouts, brochures, event staff badges, and more.

10. Guest Speakers and Entertainment

This might be covered in an offering you take at the event, but some guest speakers or other talent (i.e., musicians and others) may require a set fee to cover their travel and other expenses. If you want to bring in a speaker or group with this requirement, you’ll need to include that amount in your event budget.

Events don’t have to be incredibly expensive. If you invest the time early on to develop a budget for each event, you’re much more likely to stay within that budget and run impactful events that aren’t a drain on church finances.