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Budget Basics

By Kayla

Unless you are a number-loving math whiz, "budgeting" is probably not your favorite word. There are so many variables to consider, and you have this persistent pressure to not go over budget, because your organization will only allow you so much money for this event. It can become a little overwhelming. But, never fear, CRN is here to help. Amongst our numerous resources available to planners, we have included a sample retreat budget.

Here’s how it works:

After downloading the excel document and opening it, you will see two sheets; one is a filled-in example, and the other is blank. You can choose to adjust the numbers on the first sheet to your needs, or start from scratch on the latter.

To the right of both are the instructions and additional notes to help you remember which color means what.


All of the formulas are already entered into these cells, so there’s no need to input anything here. Doing so may skew results later. These are the totals.


This is where you input your rates, which you will find on your contract. These cells are already formatted to display the numbers as money.


These cells are for the number of attendees, hours or quantity. Where it applies to attendees, we suggest using the Guaranteed Minimum from your contract. If you end up exceeding that number, then you will have some in hand to start next year’s event budget. Hours applies to activities charged by the hour, where the input rate is the amount per. And quantity could include the number of t-shirts or cost of travel per attendee. If there is a flat rate, just enter the quantity of 1.

Feel free to add/delete rows or change labels as you see fit. Remember, this is just a basic guideline.

At the bottom of this section, you will see 3 rows: Total Cost, Total Cost Per Attendee, and Total Cost Per Attendee w/ Team Building. Remember this is just what it costs per person for covering the overall expenses. It hasn’t yet taken into consideration any income sources.

Now, it’s down to the Event Income Sheet section. This is where you input any income, subsidies or discounted rates. At the bottom is Participant Registration Fee, which is how much should be paid to you (the organization) per attendee in order to break even, after all income is taken into account.

Your Total Cost and Total Income cells should match to the penny.

We hope this tool can help you stay on budget for your upcoming retreat. If you have any questions, please call our team, and we would be happy to assist. 

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626