Big Ideas on a Small Budget

Soon after I arrived in Philadelphia on Friday I headed to my first session, Big Ideas on a Small Budget. This session was geared more towards PRSSA chapters planning events with little to no budgets. However, I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about staying within budget limitations for any type of event. Hosted by students from the University of Deleware, this chapter development session essentially highlighted the various events they plan throughout the year. As soon as I stepped into the conference room, I could feel the excitement of all the participants as we crammed into such a tiny space.

To be honest, I wish I would have learned more from this session. This session lacked guidance on how to reduce budget costs for an event. While the students offered some advice, it was nothing I hadn’t already heard. To me, it seemed like common sense information, such as holding the event where you don’t have to pay to rent the space, or not providing food. In any type of event, food and drinks are going to take up a large part of your budget. It would only make sense to eliminate this factor if your budget is a concern. Likewise, venue costs can easily cause your budget to skyrocket. It would be foolish to pay to host your event at the Double Tree if it can easily be held in the Sewall Center.

However, they did make a good point about event attendance. If you’re trying to increase attendance, provide incentives for your guests. They used the example that one time they passed out business card holders to those who attended the event. A typical Robert Morris University event includes free pizza and tee shirts, which usually is more than enough to make students attend. However, the point of this session was to keep costs down. Incentives don’t have to be merchandise or a meal, it can simply be hearing a former student talk about their success and what steps they took to reach their goal.

In retrospect, this session was a good preview for what was to come. It made me eager to learn more about all the different facets of public relations.