Public Lab Research note


Build a budget for Barnraising

by stevie |

Read more: publiclab.org/n/16787


Budgeting for events can be challenging - the costs of things can change, you can have unanticipated expenses, and it can be hard to calculate everything. However, putting a budget together for an event can help you to plan, fundraise, identify things you could ask for donations for, and overall, help you anticipate the actual event costs. This activity is intended to reduce some of the challenges around budgeting. It includes a template for a Barnraising budget and a walk through of how you might adjust it to suit your needs.

Exploring a Barnraising Budget

Here is a link to a spreadsheet that provides a standard budget for a Barnraising. All Barnraisings are different, and have different needs and costs. This budget is meant to help organizers anticipate what some of the costs are, and will help you adjust and budget for how your event might be unique.

What to do:

1) Open the Standard Barnraising Budget doc.

2) Explore the doc. Here are a few things to note:

  • The RED numbers are things you will ultimately be able to replace with your own numbers.
  • The black numbers calculate the costs for you.
  • You will be able to add line items to your budget within these categories for unique expenses you might have.
  • You can leave line items at “0” if they do not apply to your event.

3) Click the tab titled Example Barnraising Budget on the bottom. Explore the doc.

Making your own Barnraising Budget Doc.

Once you’re ready to start your own budget, go back to the first tab “Standard Barnraising Budget Blank”

1) Go to the menu bar, click File -> “make a copy”

2) Title the name of the new document.

3) Be sure to save this file, and share it with anyone who might want access.

Editing your Barnraising Budget Doc:

Now you’re ready to start plugging your own numbers in the Budget doc.

You can start plugging in numbers and prices in the line items (the red numbers).

You can also add line items under any of the categories by clicking the number of the bottom line item under that category to highlight it: image description

Selecting copy from the menu: image description

Selecting insert new row below from the menu: image description

Selecting paste from the menu: image description

Renaming the line item and adding in the expense information: image description

Cost Cutting

The costs of running a Barnraising can depends on many factors, it can be really expensive, but there are also creative ways offset the cost, and to ask for support from others.

Some of the ways to keep costs down are to:

  • Utilize your networks for donations. Donations that help support the event could be anything from event space, materials to put on the event, and money that to cover event cost.
  • Think creatively around food and consider cooking or a cold buffet style breakfast instead of catering,
  • Offer options for people to camp or do home-stays with other attendees instead of putting people up.

Thinking about some of the cost-cutting ideas can complicate logistics, but those creative ways to save money can also be amazing ways to connect with people at the event. For example, the experiences people have when they cook together, or stay together in home-stays are unique and valuable in their own right.

You can also offset your event costs by charging for registration. This can limit people's ability to attend, but there are ways to address that as well such as offering travel stipends, or a sliding scale for registration (Notes on collecting money: Public Lab events are not intended to be fundraising events. If you’re collecting money at a Public Lab event, it should go towards covering the cost of the event itself. The non-profit is dedicated to making all Public Lab spaces open, and accessible to anyone who wishes to join them. This is why Barnraisings run by the non-profit are hosted on a sliding scale registration process. This means people pay what they can to join the event. While some participants can’t afford event registration, others can pay more to attend, our registration form and process helps to account for this through the use of discount codes and donation opportunities.)


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