No budget, no problem: 4 genius ways to source free event space
Planning to organise an event but have no budget for a venue? Some would say that’s a non-starter – after all, budget is at the heart of event planning. Whether you’re putting together a product launch, a corporate hospitality event or an engagement party, the more funds you can throw into it, the better it will be, right?
While money is obviously an enabler, it is totally possible to hire a great event space with a zero budget. Start with a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your event, but think creatively and be open to ideas when it comes to the ‘how’ and ‘where’.
The art of finding the perfect free venue lies in being able to be both flexible and persistent. Get a professional venue finding agency to help – someone who knows the events industry inside out and can negotiate on your behalf and, crucially, at no cost to you. Have a look at the suggestions below!
1. Minimum spend venues
Why pay venue hire when you don’t have to? Some of the best clubs, bars, restaurants and private hire venues in the country are perfectly prepared to let you have the space for free as long as you bring in some additional revenue for them and they make a profit at the end of the evening.
Minimum spend venues, are the ideal solution for event organisers wishing to avoid paying an upfront venue hire fee. But you will need to commit to a minimum amount that has to be spent on food and/or drink during the event. If you are confident that your guests will spend the required amount, this can be a really effective way to secure an upmarket venue with a zero budget.
2. Commercial venues
Is it possible to secure a totally free venue? Of course it is, as long as you’ve done your networking. Contacts are everything in business and you may well know someone with suitable event space that you could approach. Perhaps now is the time to call in a favour? If not, think about building strategic corporate partnerships with other companies to host your event – it’s what charities often do.
The key to finding a company to provide you with a complimentary ‘no strings attached’ venue is to make it worth their while.
– Does your event align with their values?
– Can you offer them benefits such as extra exposure to new clients?
You’ll need to come up with a compelling proposal, but if it works it can be a mutually beneficial arrangement that enhances both your credentials.
3. Community spaces
If you’re a creative out-of-the-box thinker, you may be able to visualise your event taking place in a local sports hall or church, a school, or outdoors in a public park. For events held in a public place, you will need to contact your local authority to get permission. Every council has its own rules and regulations on what is/isn’t allowed (with the threat of fines for any transgressions) that you need to take into account in any event planning.
Community buildings and organisations will typically expect some form of financial support. However, this could be taken care of by way of charity donations from your guests.
4. Your own venue
Finally, if you have your own commercial space – an office, a warehouse, a shop – this should definitely be considered as a venue for your business event. Challenge your own assumptions about needing to provide a luxury events venue to impress your guests.
Sometimes, letting people see behind the scenes (the ugly and all!) can be a genius way to connect with your audience and build trust. Similar to a Business Open House, your clients will appreciate your readiness to throw open the doors to your business with nothing to hide, and will feel privileged to catch a glimpse of the inner workings of your business.
If you would rather host the event at a private venue, how about using your (or a team member’s) home for smaller gatherings, cocktail evenings, dinner parties or meetings? It’s a personal gesture that’s perfect for strengthening relationships.