How to create a budget for scout activities
Creating a budget for your events (such as camps and hikes) is important so that you can charge the appropriate fee per Scout.
Fixed vs Variable Costs
You may incur fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs are costs that are charged for your group, regardless of how many people you have attending. For example, you may be charged a fixed price for a campsite rather than per person. This means that the more people who attend, the cheaper it will be per person. You will also incur variable expenses, which change depending on how many people attend. For example, you may be charged a caming fee per person. Food costs are also generally dependent on the number of people.
Creating the budget
Use a spreadsheet such as Excel, or Google Sheets. Here is an example budget for a simple activity for you to try out.
Determine how much each of the following will cost:
- Food and catering
- Transport and fuel
- Any items you'll need to run your programme (e.g. Plaster of Paris, stationary)
- Extra items
Number of people attending
You should get an early estimate of how many people will be attending your event, so that you can adequately budget for them. You should also cater for 1 or 2 who plan to attend, but cancel at the last minute (without paying). It is therefore better to cater for more people, but assume fewer people will be paying you. Any extra can be donated yo your Scout Group.
Venue and permits
When you book your venue, you will know the cost involved. If the cost is charged per group rather than per person, you are able to reduce your fee per person by having more people attend.
Food and catering
One of your largest expenses will be food. The best way to budget for food is as follows:
- Draw up a menu covering all meals for your activity (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, tea time, etc)
- Estimate how many of each food item you will need per person. E.g. for sausage rolls, you may want 2 rolls per person, and a third of a pack of sausages.
- Don't forget things such as salt, pepper, washing liquid, etc.
- Visit a shop, look online, or look at newspaper adverts to find the prices of the items on your menu.
- Add up all the ingredients, and 'shared items' such as salt and pepper, and calculate the total cost.
- Divide this cost by the number of people you budgeted for to obtain an cost per person.
Transport and fuel
It is always a good gesture to offer people a contribution to petrol costs if you are obtaining lifts from parents. Public transport such as trains and taxis will cost a certain amount. Try to limit your transport costs by walking where you can, and using public transport.
Items needed to run your programme
You may have an exciting programme planned that requires equipment to be purchased. Don't forget to add these costs to your budget.
Things don't always go as planned. You may forget to budget for something, or some situation might arise which causes you to need to purchase additional items. Perhaps food prices go up.
It is always a good idea to build a bit extra (e.g. 10%) into your budget to cater for unforeseen items. IF you end up spending less than your budget, the excess can always be donated you your Scout Group, or refunded to the Scouts who attended.
Learning for next time
Be sure to write down the actual costs next to what you budgeted. This allows you to learn for next time. For example, if you spent 50% more on food than budgeted, you should learn from this by understanding what went wrong in your budgeting.