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The Best Conference Budget Template: Tips and Tricks for Successful Planning

Planning and executing a successful academic conference requires more than just a passion for knowledge sharing. One key element that contributes to the success of any conference is a well-organized and detailed budget. Without proper...

Planning and executing a successful academic conference requires more than just a passion for knowledge sharing. One key element that contributes to the success of any conference is a well-organized and detailed budget. Without proper financial tracking, the conference's financials can quickly spiral out of control. To help you prepare a comprehensive conference budget, we have compiled the following resources:

How much should you budget for a conference?

When determining the budget for a conference, several factors come into play. For in-person conferences, smaller events typically require a budget of around $15,000 to $50,000, while larger events can range from $100,000 to $500,000. Virtual conferences, on the other hand, have lower costs, with smaller events ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 and larger events costing around $20,000 to $50,000+.

The main expenses to consider for in-person conferences are related to the venue, including rental fees, setup costs, audio/visual equipment, catering, and event staff. Virtual conferences prioritize software-related expenses, such as event planning software that manages registrations and live streaming. The costs associated with virtual conference software can be significant, surpassing those of managing an in-person conference.

Our Conference Budget Template

To simplify the budgeting process for your conference planning committee, we have created a conference budget template. What sets our template apart is its pre-populated common expenses and revenue sources specific to both in-person and virtual conferences. It also includes formulas for adding revenue, subtracting expenses, and calculating net profit. Additionally, the template allows you to categorize variable and fixed expenses, ensuring your committee stays within the budget.

Budget papers scattered on a desk Budget papers scattered on a desk

How to Plan a Conference Budget in 8 Steps

Planning a conference budget can be daunting, but with a systematic approach, it becomes more manageable. Here are eight steps to guide you through the process:

1. Select a Finance Chair for your organizing committee

Appoint a Finance Chair who will work with the Event Chair to establish a Finance Sub-committee. They will be responsible for setting the event budget and ensuring regular updates on revenue and expenses.

2. Determine if the event is in-person or virtual

Different types of events incur various expenses. In-person conferences require considerations like venue rental and food catering, while virtual events demand more advanced software and tech support.

3. Choose your venue and determine the cost

Selecting a venue is crucial for accurately projecting your potential conference revenue. This decision should be made early on to set an accurate budget.

4. Choose your software partners and determine the cost

Both in-person and virtual events require software solutions for abstract submissions, peer-review processes, and event registration. Virtual events often have additional software costs to ensure a seamless experience for attendees.

5. Choose your vendors and determine the cost

For in-person conferences, vendors play a vital role in providing audio/visual equipment, food and beverages, and decor. Consider vendors that align with your budgetary requirements.

6. Determine your various registration costs

Both virtual and in-person events have registration-related expenses. Account for all registration expenses, including pre-event registration and on-site sign-ins.

7. Estimate the number of registrants based on your field

Consider the size of the field related to your event and reference past conferences to estimate the number of registrants. This information will help you plan expenses, revenue, and resource allocation.

8. Create an accessible budget

Compile all the line items into a budget using one of our provided templates. Ensure all committee members can easily access and update the budget for seamless collaboration.


Sharing new findings in your field and providing a platform for academics to showcase their work should be the primary focus of any conference. However, running out of funds is a situation no one wants to face. That's why having a simple and updatable conference budget, along with regular updates, is crucial for a well-organized and profitable research conference.

To help you get started and stay on track, we have provided tips, tricks, and templates. And if you require assistance with conference management, our easy event management software is available for a free trial or a personalized demo.

So, let's start planning an exceptional conference that stays within budget and exceeds expectations!