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Here's how I would plan an event with $0

If I had $0 in my budget to plan an event that I knew would be GREAT for my community, then I would do the following:

For starters there is no such thing as planning an event with no money, there will always be some type of investment. Whether it's your time, your resources or even a little bit of money, you will be investing in something. However, the strategy that I'm going to propose is the BEST way to save yourself the most money and time.

Most people are extremely impatient when it comes to planning an event. Meaning, when they have an idea, then the idea needs to happen in the next three months or even in a month. Not giving yourself adequate time to plan, budget and save for an event can cause a lot of financial and mental stress. I understand some people need to move quickly or else they may not have the power or motivation to execute at all but believe me when I say the journey is well worth the wait.

I have a list of GREAT event ideas that I haven't executed because I refuse to stress about the lack of funding. On the other hand, I haven't had the time to execute because of my client events that's another story for another blog post. So, let's get into my strategy of planning an event with $0.

Let's say I have an idea to plan an event for a product launch for my business. The product is a new line of T-shirts that can change colors based on your mood. Innovative, I know.

So, the very first thing I would do is write all of my ideas into an event proposal. I would write this proposal to pitch to potential sponsors and partners. I would pitch to companies who share the same target audience as I do, who may also be launching a new product and need customer feedback, or companies who are interested in investing in innovative products. This event proposal would include the following contents:

- Cover page (eye-catching)

- Table of contents (optional)

- Business Background (Tells a story of who I am, why I started the business and details on my new product, and maybe some other quick facts about my business)

- Event Overview (This will include a problem statement at the very beginning)

- Team Introduction (Who else is working with you or who do you already have on board as a partner or sponsor)

- Target Audience (This will be heavily focused on stats, metrics from past events, etc.)

- Sponsorship Opportunities (Depending on who I'm pitching this proposal to, this opportunity can look different from the other proposals)

- Timeline (What are your milestones and what's the sequence of events leading up to the main event)

- Next Steps (What happens when they say yes?)

- Contact Information

In a separate document, I would have my own Run of Show itinerary, budget and all other logistic details that helps with the development of the event. The budget will help you pitch your proposal and have conversations with potential sponsors on the funding needed to execute.

It's important to note that these conversations with potential sponsors are happening at least 6 months to a year prior to the event date. If my event date is June 15, 2025, then these conversations are happening within the timeframe of June 15, 2024 - December 31, 2024.

In the meantime, I would collect data from my potential customers about their buying power, collect surveys on my new product, and maybe launch virtual shopping hauls to collect data. I'm also working a 9-5 or part-time job to save money towards the event. Because I developed a budget and a run of show outline, I know the exact amounts I want to save for each expense type. For example, if you allocated $200-$500 towards Marketing, then you know how much you are saving up and what you are saving up for. Even if you are pursuing sponsorships to utilize other people's money, you want to show up with something.

In summary, if I'm planning an event with $0, then I would take the following course of action:

- Build an event proposal

- Research & pitch to potential sponsors

- Work to save some money towards the event

- Collect all funds prior to fully executing and launching the event

If you want or need more guidance on how to develop an event proposal, you can purchase the replay of my virtual workshop. The workshop goes into a lot more detail of what you should include in your event proposal as well as the contracts you will need for your event. You can purchase the replay here.

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