These days everyone is looking for ways to save a buck on their meetings. Here are a few ideas that can help keep your event in the black.

  • Look at your larger expenses at the meeting site — what can you sell sponsorships for? Think audiovisual, buffet lunches, chocolate fountain and tray, water and soda breaks, etc.

  • Go back to tabletop displays to eliminate pipe and drape.

  • Create your own signage or use the local Staples; also explore how you reuse existing signage.

  • Eliminate the luncheon cost of your meeting by ending before lunch.

  • Survey your members to find out how their needs and their businesses have changed — and get the survey sponsored.

  • Sell sponsorships for each of the buffet items at your breakfast, luncheon, or dinner.

  • Sell sponsorships for your badges.

  • Turn your live speakers into webinar speakers. They can do their presentations remotely and be broadcast to the live meeting, saving you travel costs and possibly speaker fees. In addition, are you getting sponsors for all speakers?

  • Get referral fees if your speakers receive future speaking commitments from your members.

  • Check to see if you can retire your print materials to go virtual with an e-newsletter.

  • Ask your meeting center what other organizations have done at their location to drive dollars with signage, easels, food and beverage, special events, etc.

  • Open conversations to renegotiate your contract with the hotel if you are concerned about meeting your contract requirements in food and beverage and room block.

  • Can you trade for more of what you need from your advertisers/exhibitors, e.g., accept customer lists for potential attendees or get help with mailing costs as in-kind donations, in return for calling them a sponsor?

  • Ask your sponsors for advice on who else they want to share a sponsorship with to help them have the awareness they want at the price that you need.


Nancy Frede is the founder of Frede Enterprises LLC. Reach her at nfrede@aol.com; nonnduesrevenue.com.