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The Activities Coordinator: managing a budget.

There are a lot of Activity Coordinators at this time of year that will be given a budget and in some cases a reduced budget. Budgets can be daunting to some and so many will be looking for ways to make this budget go round. There are many kinds of items to spend this budget on from paper and pens to trips out and entertainers and speakers.

How do you prioritise all of this?

Well, a good way to start is to break up your requirements into sections. If you have done it before then you will have an idea of how much you spend on things like craft materials, games prizes (Bingo, Beetle Drives, quizzes, etc), speakers and entertainers. Then look at each month and decide which months have which activities. Take a look at the 'Let's plan ahead' section on this website for guidance. For instance you may have an entertainer at twice a month but at Christmas you have the local Church choirs and Brownie groups or schools coming in free of charge and so in December you may not need to have as many paid entertainers. In March / April you may find that you want to spend more on crafts to make Easter bonnets, etc. and in December to make cards and decorations, so split your crafts budget to allow more for these months than say the summer months as you may decide to go on trips out in these months.

It is important to keep an eye on your budget as many who don’t will find at the end of the year that they cannot do anything as they have run out of money. The first thing they then do is cancel the entertainer or speakers but remember they are people who if you cancel them may not be able to get a replacement booking and so their wages are reduced. You would not like your wages reduced especially at Christmas would you?

A good way to reduce your spend is to use the local Freecycle websites or local Facebook community groups to ask for those items you want, be it paper, wool, buttons, flowers, boxes, pens, paint, glitter or nail polish for pampering sessions as many people are only too glad to get rid of items they don’t use anymore or are just happy to help. Many homes hold raffles at Easter and Xmas to help increase their comfort funds. (Take a look at the fundraising ideas on this website). Talk to your Home Managers to find out what other budgets they have that they don’t make full use of and see if you can make your activities come under them instead. Coffee Mornings and cake baking can often come out of the kitchen budget. Musical entertainers who encourage movement to the music, such as Musical Moments, may come under exercise and so your home may have a budget for this too. You can sometimes negotiate a discount for block bookings with entertainers, make sure you ask.

I hope this helps you to make your budget go further this year.

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