Plan an Event
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Plan an Event / Budget and Funding

Planning event finances properly during the early development stages of your event can make it a lot easier to run effectively later on. It is important to work through this stage carefully, planning for all income and expenditure and evaluating what activities are affordable.

Drafting a Budget

It is essential to have a clear idea of how much money will be needed to run the event. Here are some tips.

Be as realistic as possible with your costings.

  • Include ALL areas of the event programme.
  • Get realistic quotes and preferably more than one for each item.
  • Estimate income (if any) before the event.
  • Costing each activity or aspect of the event separately may help you in obtaining a sponsorship or a grant.
  • Your expenditure can't exceed your income.
  • When you have worked out your proposed expenditure, it should be equal to (or less than) your income.
  • Check if there are costs for permits and extraneous services, e.g. costs for holding your event in a Council reserve or park; the cost of advertising a resource consent application, road closure; First Aid and/or security staff etc.
  • Make allowances in the budget for any extra costs, e.g. contingencies. The nearest you can get to this is to anticipate that some situation will occur that will cost you money. Also allow for damage or extra cleaning costs incurred as a result of your event.

Overseeing and Approving the Budget

Depending on the size and scale of your event, it may be prudent to establish a committee of people to help organise and run the event planning and operations. It is the role of the committee to secure funds for the event and to ensure that the event comes within budget.

The committee is accountable to other organisations, e.g. funding bodies, and has contractual or legal responsibility to ensure funds are appropriately spent. The financial aspects should be controlled by someone with accounting and/or finance knowledge or background.

The tasks include:

  • Estimating costs and drawing up a draft budget
  • Presenting financial reports to the committee
  • Establishing a receipting and expenditure system
  • Establishing prices for:
    • admission tickets
    • workshop fees
    • charges
    • stalls
  • Controlling the sale and operation of ticketing
  • Establishing a system for revenue collection on the day
  • Sourcing the required resources
  • Arranging an audit if required.

Operating the Budget

Stick to your budget. If there isn't sufficient funding for everything planned, where will cost cuts be made? Make sure money donated or pledged is received, receipted and spent on the designated area the money was secured for. All monies spent have to be accounted for.

A certain amount of cash in hand will be required for minor or on-the-spot expenses. Finalise all event accounts promptly. Use your money wisely. Some things must be paid for - e.g. performers' fees. Others can be found for no cost/ sponsored or at a reduced rate.

All financial arrangements with artists, performers and hire companies should be confirmed in writing well in advance of the event. This will avoid confusion and disagreement later. Remember some performers and suppliers will require a deposit at the time of contracting so advance funding may be required.

Important!  If you're event is ticketed, when selling tickets to an event, this money must be kept in trust until such time as the event has taken place.

No ticketing income can be spent on event related expenses or elsewhere prior to the event taking place as the money received is legally still the property of the ticket purchaser.

Ticketing can be a vital aspect of your event and an important avenue for marketing. A recognised ticketing service provider provides essential marketing support, internet sales channels and will ensure the monies collected are held in trust.


One of the first and most important questions asked when planning an event is "Where is the money coming from?" Apart from earned income, such as ticket sales or workshop fees, there are various income sources to help finance the event.

Timing and preparation are major considerations when applying for funding. Generally for larger events, planning should start at least 10-12 months in advance as applications will also have to be submitted months ahead of your event and it can take several months from that date before the results are notified.

Wherever you apply, the principles are the same:

  • Get the application in before the deadline.
  • Check the criteria and address in your application.
  • If you get a grant approved, it can take some weeks for the payment to be received.
  • Check the payment terms of the fund.
  • Make sure you include a detailed budget.

Whangarei District Council Administered Funding

Local Councils have varying policies and levels of support for events and cultural acLocal Councils have varying policies and levels of support for events and cultural activities. 

Whangarei District Council have produced a Community Funding Guide to provide guidelines to community groups and organisations on how support and assistance can be obtained from Council, and also what form the assistance might take.

The Venues and Events department of Council administer the Whangārei Event Development Fund which has been set up to foster and develop new, diverse and innovative events for the District, which have potential to be self-sustaining without Council funding in future years.

Eligible events are those that are new and significant, such as those that can demonstrate district or region wide appeal.

Please read the Event Development Fund Guide to ensure your event aligns before applying. Community-based events, or established events, can be supported under the Community Fund and / or Creative Communities Scheme.

For more information about Community Funding, please click the link below to view on the Whangarei District Council's website

Community Funding

Other Funding Sources

Lottery Grants

Administered by the Department of Internal Affairs, funding covers a wide range of areas. Such as;

  • Lottery Welfare,
  • Lottery Youth,
  • Lottery Aged,
  • Lottery Environment and Heritage,
  • Lottery Community Facilities,
  • Lottery Marae Heritage and Facilities,
  • Lottery Health Research and
  • Lottery General.

To find out more contact a Community Development and Funding Advisor at your local Department of Internal Affairs office.

Pub Charities / Gaming Machines

Societies that have licenses to run Gaming Machines must donate a minimum of 33% of their turnover to authorised purposes; that is, to non-profit organisations.

The society's address will be on the Site Approval Certificate displayed near the Gaming Machine - contact the Society or the Bar Manager to enquire about funding.

Fundraisers / Raffles / Cake Stalls etc

Fundraising can include a wide range of activities undertaken by your organisation, and is really only limited by your organisations imagination. If there is any key to Fundraising it is and combination of Planning and Enthusiasm.

For further information on requirements contact your local Department of Internal Affairs office.


Sponsorship can be both in-kind and in cash. The key to sponsorship is targeting businesses and organisations which match your event, target market or your organisation. The reason for this is that they are more likely to see the benefit of being associated with your event.

You should approach a potential sponsor with a comprehensive sponsorship proposal. This document or presentation should outline your organisation and all the details of the event, the benefits the potential sponsor will gain from being associated with your event (e.g. signage at the event, logos in all advertising, etc) and what you would like from the potential sponsor (cash, product, etc).

Once a sponsorship deal is agreed to, ensure an agreement between the two parties is drawn up to outline the obligations of both parties and have it signed off by both parties. Once your event is finished make sure you send your sponsor a thank you letter, with photos if possible.

Have a 'Plan B' - what will you do if you don't get funded?