Organizing Workshops: Financial Planning

In my previous article, I have discussed the approaches to organizing workshops, planning their structure, and contacting companies. Although the information presented in that article comes in handy for figuring out what needs to be done in order to have a successful workshop, it says nothing on how to make money out of it. However, the point of organizing workshops is to ensure good revenue and thus a special focus should be given to financial planning. Read on to find out what you must consider in order to earn money by organizing workshops.

Financial planning

The first step in ensuring revenue is to calculate all costs that a workshop would require. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Speakers’ fee
    • If you have decided to have experts as workshop speakers, you should first ask them how much money they would require. It may be a good idea to search online to find out what amount of money experts in a particular field usually ask for. Once you know this, you may try to negotiate a price with a speaker, but only if the speaker asks for more money than the experts in the field usually ask for.
    • To make your workshop cost-effective, it is better to have a fewer number of speakers who talk for a longer time, than to have a higher number of speakers who talk for less time. Thus, it is also important to consider how many speakers you would like your workshop to have. This depends on the general structure of the workshop and its proposed duration.
  • Workshop staff
    • Usually, it is necessary to have somebody who will introduce the workshop and guide attendees through some practical sessions. In the case the speakers would ask for additional money for this task, you may consider hiring somebody who is less professional but can nonetheless do the job well. This could be a student or an intern who likes public speaking. You could offer them less money, but mention that they could add the experience in their CV.
  • Hire of venues
    • For a most effective solution, you could ask companies if they have a conference room in which the workshop could be held. This would reduce the costs as you wouldn’t have to search for a place. This solution would also be effective for another reason: Employees wouldn’t have to travel to another location to attend the workshop, but would attend it at their workplace. This reduces any transportation costs.
  • Catering
    • If your workshop lasts more than an hour, it is necessary to have a break during which attendees will be offered coffee or tea. If the workshop is even longer, you may consider providing them a lunch box as well.
    • In most cases, providing employees with drinks would be more than enough. If you wish to avoid spending money on lunch, you may think of offering cookies as these go well with both tea and coffee, and are a much less expensive than lunch.
  • Other costs
    • The above mentioned costs are the most common ones – however, organizing a workshop may include various other costs as well, such as:
      • Conference stationary
      • Translation services and equipment
      • Evaluation report and publication of workshops’ results
      • Transport requirements
    • Remember that it is always important to minimize costs and optimize the quality of the workshop. Thus, you should decide to include these additional costs only if they improve the general experience of the attendees.

Calculating your own salary

Once you know how much money organizing a workshop will require, it is time to think how much money you would want to earn yourself. You should try not to be too generous toward yourself, but be rational and honest. Your price will depend on the amount of work you have done and the amount of time you have spent working.

A possible way to calculate how much money you could earn is to start with the total cost of the workshop and then divide it by the number of attendees. For example, if you know that the workshop will cost $3,700 and that you will have 100 attendees, you can divide 3,700 by 100 and get a ticket price of $37 per an attendee. However, this is a break-even price through which you don’t earn anything.

If you double your ticket price, so that it becomes $74, you will make a gross profit of $7,400, which sounds more than good. However, doubling the price may not be very honest, and thus you may settle for a slightly lower price, such is $50. In this case, you will get a profit in the value of $1,300 (that is, $5,000 gross minus $3,700 workshop costs). If you organize 10 workshops, this means you will get $13,000 which is not bad at all.

Offering the price to the company

Once you have decided how much money you would like to earn, it is time to approach the companies with the price. You should always be flexible. If you see that companies think that the price is too high, see whether you could reduce it – either by reducing your salary or by reducing some of the costs. If all companies think that the price is super-fair, then you may think of increasing it. In any case, try to balance being rational and ambitious, rather than being irrational and greedy.

As it is the case with organizing workshops, earning money depends on good organizational skills. Thus, try to think of it realistically, without being greedy and unfair. Always ask yourself if the workshop you organize is worth the price you are asking for. If it is, then you are on a way of earning a nice sum of money.


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