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Budgeting and Staffing

Budgeting and Staffing


If you’re looking to implement and manage an urban sport or any sport event, creating an accurate budget is critical to your success. Dividing your planning into smaller segments will help you plan your spending step by step. Consider all the needs of participants, spectators, officials, sponsors and organizers in order to achieve success on all levels.

Step 1

Set the goals for the event. If it doesn’t have a set budget, you will need to operate based on revenues, such as registration fees, donations and sponsorships or for example EU funding as in case of the UUM project (for more info. see: https://www.eacea.ec.europa.eu/grants_en).

Note: in case you receive a grant funding, do make sure youvretain and collect all necessary final documents (such as invoices of services) to be bale to report to the grant giver how you spent your money.

Step 2

Location specifics and cost related to it. If you use a public space for example: contact your local municipality to learn the laws governing sporting events, such as how much insurance you’ll need to carry and if you’ll need permits, toilets, police or medical staff.

In case of the UUM project our local partner MSSA had pre-existing and good connections to the local because of their previous positive actions in the community. This made budget planning it easier as the local government contributed to the

Step 3

Divide your planning into sections that include budgets for the following needs: participants, spectators, volunteers, officials, sponsors, media, trainer or medical staff, organizers, logistics and marketing. Write a list of things each needs. For example, spectators might need seating, a program book and refreshments. Marketing requires pre-event press releases and website pages, event-day signage and photography, and post-event announcements.

Step 4

Write a list of “non-people needs” on the day of the event, including location fees, equipment, setup and takedown, insurance, catering, signage and publicity, gift bags, photography, printing, shirts, tables, booths, seating, public address system, prizes, awards, electricity, security, parking, tents and publicity.

Step 5

Project your attendance and staff needs. Create a spreadsheet that lists all of your people’s and logistics needs. Fill in your anticipated expenses for each. Compare your expenses to your anticipated revenues or budget you’ve been given by the event organizers. Look for expenses you can cut if your first budget draft doesn’t meet your financial goals.

Step 6

Look for expenses for which you can trade sponsorships, goods or services. For example, you might be able to trade sponsorships for courtesy vehicles, a public address system, shirts, food and beverage and printing. Look for in-kind donations you can use to defray costs. A caterer might trade food for your volunteers in exchange for the opportunity to sell to spectators.

For the UUM urban sport festival there were local sponsors such as Redbull, Urban Jungle, Behind bars, Decathlon and more.

Step 7

Re-configure your budget after you have examined your first draft. Decide if you need to eliminate any offerings or raise the price of your registration fees and sponsorships.


Regardless of the sport, there is one common denominator in every event – project team members and volunteers. Focusing on the volunteers: how and where you recruit, match skills, incentivize and communicate with volunteers can make all the difference in hosting a successful versus chaotic volunteer program.

The process starts with finding your volunteer base

• Find the enthusiasts – The most obvious place to look is your own organisation or the local clubs. These enthusiasts know and love the sport and have a vested interest in supporting it. You can also ask if them if they would contact their mailing list about volunteer opportunities with your event.

• Go to your partner/host institutions – Event planners of member-led organizations have built-in networks through their host institutions that make great volunteer candidates. 

• Contact colleges and universities – Even if you aren’t a member-based organization with affiliate schools, most larger host cities have colleges and universities. A few ways to connect with students include e-mailing professors, attending college career fairs and talking to school classes where you can sign up volunteers on the spot.

• Approach groups seeking fundraising sources – When all else fails, “groups for hire” is a growing trend that we have seen over the years. The key is to set aside funding at the outset of your program to pay volunteers. Groups can range from church youth groups to high school clubs. Payment options can range from a flat fee based on a set number of volunteers the group agrees to provide or an hourly rate. The group price is usually negotiated individually, and it also depends on the length of the shift.

After you find your volunteer base, the next step is ensuring you place your volunteers in the right roles.

• Be specific – Volunteers typically don’t sign up unless they know what they will do, where they will be and what is expected of them for each type of role (e.g., length of shift, level of physical effort, etc.). The more information you can provide at the sign-up phase, the more responses you will receive, and volunteers will self-select the roles that best fit their skills and expectations.

• Address concerns up front

• Communicate expectations early – As soon as you know your event schedule and related volunteer shifts, tasks and expectations and can share with your local volunteer coordinator in advance of your event, the better chance you will have of recruiting volunteers.

Once you’ve found your pool of candidates and explained expectations, now is the time to get into more details to further incentivize people to volunteer and, ultimately, show up.

• Contact people the way they prefer – As volunteer audiences shift to younger demographics, it is important to collect cell phone numbers since younger volunteers usually prefer text updates.

• Incentivize – Swag is still a big motivator for volunteering, as is free event entry. Be sure to build in those perks that don’t cost your organization much but make volunteers feel special and part of something elite.

Even the best laid plans can go awry. Here are some contingencies to build in:

• Know schedules – With college students being such a big part of most volunteer bases, recruitment is a factor since volunteers eventually graduate and leave the area. Even before then, event planners must factor in the summer season when students usually leave campus, making it harder to recruit for summer sporting events. It’s critical to send out volunteer information before school gets out for the year (and why we sent out bi-weekly volunteer newsletters). You can still contact college professors in case there are summer students, but the most important factor is planning ahead and around school schedules. 

• Overstaff shifts – As a general rule, always overstaff your volunteer shifts to account for no-shows and people who have last-minute conflicts like illness. 

• Prioritize roles – Even with overstaffing, you can still come up short. If that happens, prioritize your volunteer positions as “high need,” “medium need” and “low need” so you can move around remaining volunteers to fill critical spots first. It may be a wonderful perk to post a greeter at every door of your event, but you may need those people elsewhere if someone else doesn’t show. If the volunteer manager needs to move shifts around on the fly, it will be important to know which shifts are expendable.