Budgeting and Resource Management for Training Programs

Whether you are running training programmes as a commercial enterprise or as part of an outreach or grant-funded project, it is important to budget carefully. Training does not need to have a huge budget but there are some basic costs associated with training provision and training cannot be delivered without certain resources regardless of whether the training is commercial or not for profit.
A basic checklist of expenses associated with training is given below:

  • Venue hire
  • Hire of equipment (eg flip chart stand with use of pens and paper, overhead projector, projection screen, A-V equipment, computer equipment)
  • Stationery and postage (correspondence with participants, advertising, etc.)
  • Speakers’ expenses
  • Speakers’ fees
  • Advertising
  • Catering (refreshements and meals)
  • Handouts/handbooks

Additional expenses might include:

  • OHP slides (these work out very expensive over time)
  • Floppy disks or other digital media
  • Your own travel expenses for administration, e.g. to collect handouts from the printers
  • Paper to print out handouts
  • File covers, pens etc for use in training room
  • Translation/interpretation fees

Some of your expenses will be finite quantities, that is, the cost of hiring a venue and equipment will be the same regardless of the size of the class. The table below gives an example of the total finite expenses for a training day.

Finite expenses for Archives Training Day
Item Cost
Venue £100
Equipment £20
Speakers expenses £65
Speakers fees (2 x £100) £200
Stationery & postage £15
Advert in professional Newsletter £50
Total £450.00

Other expenses, such as catering, will be dependent on the number of participants. The following table gives an example of the participant numbers dependent expenses:

Participant Numbers Dependent Expenses for Archives Training Day
Item Cost
Handouts £5 each
Catering £7 each
Total cost per head £12

You need to use these two cost estimates to establish your overall budget. If your organisation is offering free training, you will need to make sure you have the budget, or put together a budget proposal. In the example given, if you were going to offer training to a class of 20 participants, the overall budget of £731 would break down like this:

Overall Budget for Archives Training Day
Item Cost
Venue £100
Equipment £20
Speakers’ expenses £65
Speakers’ fees (2 x £100) £200
Stationery & postage £15
Advert in professional Newsletter £50
Handouts (24 @ £5 each*) £120
Catering (23 @ £7 each†) £161
Total £731.00
* You need to allow a copy for the file and a working copy for yourself as well as a copy for each of your speakers
† Similarly you need to provide catering for yourself and your speakers

If you are running training on a business footing, you will need to work out what profit you need to make to justify your preparation time and the time you spend on the training day itself. You then need to work out what you need to charge each participant and the minimum number of participants you need in order to break even.
If we take the budget given above, we can see that the cost for delivering our example Archives Training Day to 20 participants is £731. Perhaps you would hope to make £1500 profit to cover your time. Therefore you need to make £2231 on your training — divide that by 20 and you need to charge participants £112 each. However, if you don’t manage to attract 20 participants, you need to decide what your break-even number is and at what point you will decide to cancel the training. Obviously you could run the training if you had 8 people attend and charged around £100 each. You might decide you would be happy with £500 and then your break-even would be 13 participants.