How to arrange a conference or event on a shoestring budget..


Attending or creating Conferences, Meetings and Events are the easiest way to meet prospective clients, make valuable networking contacts, enhance your career and impress clients.  It can be done in a very cost effective way and can cost less than a few newspaper ads.   So to make it easy, I have put together a few quick suggestions.  I will add more over the next few weeks…

ü  Make a Budget — and stick to it!  Keep it updated regularly once established.

ü  Gather a Strong Team – Delegate responsibilities that would normally be contracted out such as registration, transportation coordination, marketing, decor etc

ü   Negotiate rates  — if you run a few events during the year, negotiate them with the one property or hotel group to avail of the best rates.

ü  If flexible on Days of the week generally a Sunday night check in with a Monday meeting will be very attractive to hotels and will be able to be more flexible with rates.

ü  Consider the Time of the Year – to a corporate hotel generally the summer time is quiet for meetings and so you will be able to negotiate better rates then.    Otherwise consider shoulder months such as early January.

ü  Ask the hotel or venue what Dates they have free that they are willing to negotiate on.

ü  Setting up systems to save time – will transfer into savings of money – use a Venue Finder and seek their expertise on Venues in Ireland to suit your event.   This is a FREE SERVICE with 

ü  Use an online Registration System such as – Sarah Carroll.  This will save thousands on posting invitations, printing and packaging.

ü  Using an online registration system will also save hours on gathering fees, processing cheques and most importantly you get paid at time of registration and so save on “collecting money” fees or indeed not getting paid at all.






More great tips next post…..

photo courtesy of cheapticketsonline dot org


7 Responses to How to arrange a conference or event on a shoestring budget..

  1. […] Renting a room for a day costs anywhere from 500 euros to 2000 euros and charging people a modest sum to go would cover all costs. In fact there’s probably a business in “buying” off-the-shelf conference packages from hotels for a standard fee. Ciara too has a guide on running a conference on a shoestring. […]

  2. Ciara

    Having run a number of ‘shoestring’ events in Dublin (via I agree with everything you’ve written. One additional comment I’d add is for voluntary organisations who are looking to run events they should consider tying the event registration to their CRM system (and there are oodles of good open source ones – I find CiviCrm to be pretty good, particularly with its integration with Drupal).

    That allows you to see who your return delegates are (good word of mouth publicists). It also allows you to very quickly give potential sponsors a breakdown of what type of people attend your events. It also gives you the chance to follow up on the conference to get constructive feedback.

    Also, on the subject of sponsorship, one approach that we have used successfully in the IQ Network (the Irish Community of the International Assoc. for Information & Data Quality) is to actively seek sponsorship in kind – for example access to a sponsors mailing list rather than cash up front. The more bums on seats you get at the event the better chance you have of getting cash support for the next one.

    And finally.. if it is a regular event (ie annually or bi-annually) it is worth considering selecting a dedicated venue and negotiating a standard package and layout etc. We would provisionally book the following event at lunch on the ‘live’ event and then confirm the booking once sponsors/speakers are confirmed.

    This was good for two reasons, One, it is really stress relieving to just be able to pick up the phone and give the ‘go code’ and know that the set up will be 95% as you need it on the day. Also, the easier you make it for venue managers to cater to your needs the more open they are to negotiating discounts (partly because they’ll have been able to pre-book some of the services etc. for you).

  3. […] just as equally to non-profit organisations as it does to political parties).  Sure, you can organise a conference on a shoestring budget, use free blogging software to give yourself an online presence or shop around to find a cheap […]

  4. […] A Conference Venue, which is exactly what I was looking for for ages.  They’ve even posted a brilliant blog post on how to do a conference on the cheap!  Exactly the service to use if you’re a lazy bastard […]

  5. Ciara Feely says:

    Delighted I found a Lazy B like yourself so Neil. Do feel free to give me a call or send an enquiry through the website to mulitple venues.

    Would appreciate any feedback you have on the usability of the site too as I am always tweaking that!

    353 (0) 26 21015

  6. […] most obvious one is to negotiate hard – but avoid hard balling too much on the food or you will find you notice it in the […]

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