Create a budget

It’s important to create a budget early in the planning stages, and manage it diligently leading up to your event. This way, you won’t have to deal with any unexpected (and costly) surprises.

Create a categorized list

Create a checklist for all of the things you might spend money on, do some research on general costs for each and add an estimate to the list. To be safe, you’ll want to overestimate — about 1.5 times what you would normally guess.

Use this checklist to develop a line-by-line breakdown of key categories such as:

  • Venue (including food and beverage)
  • Photo and Video (during and after the event)
  • Marketing
  • Speaker management
  • Administration
  • Audience experience

Most organizers use some kind of spreadsheet to make things easy.

Cash and in-kind donations

You’ll be surprised at how many costs can be supplemented with in-kind donations. This can be done through sponsors, or those willing to donate their services for something in return. Maybe the local baker can provide cupcakes in exchange for tickets to the event.

Sponsorship and in-kind donations should also be added to your budget, so you can keep track.

We have relationships with some companies that provide products and services to TEDx organizers for free through the Sponsor Marketplace.

Manage your money

We let TEDx organizers decide exactly how they want to manage their money, since rules and practices vary by country and region. (Note that TEDx events and organizers cannot make money from your event — all excess funds should go back into the organization of subsequent events.) Make sure you find out what policies exist for money management in your region. Here are some others things to keep in mind:

Non-profit status

You may set up a nonprofit as a way to manage the funds of your TEDx event, but if you do so, it can’t be anything related to TED, TEDx or your event’s name. You can also run the event funds through an existing nonprofit, just make sure to let us know.

Be accountable

It’s important to keep track of expenses, and what needs to paid when. Make sure to hold all invoices in one file, and add a due date to your list of expenses so you can hold yourself accountable.

Know where to put it

It’s important to make a smart choice about where you keep your money, and who has access to it. Make sure it’s in a safe place, and the tax implications based on wherever it is held.

TEDx Tips
  • The lead organizer and finance and sponsorship manager should meet regularly. Together, you should strategize needs and opportunities, and oversee fundraising progress.
  • Some TEDx events can charge for tickets (you can check on this based on your event type) to cover event costs, but don’t rely on it to cover expenses in advance. People often put off purchasing tickets until the last minute.
  • When you’re planning your budget, make sure to account for contingency, taxes, and incidentals. They can quickly add up.
  • Make a note of what expenses need to be paid upfront, and what can be paid after the event.
  • Take note early in the process of high-cost items, like catered food or production costs. It can help focus your sponsorship efforts.