BiCon Worcester: The Money

BCN 101 cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 101, July 2010

I’m sure that few things are less appealing to most readers of BCN than detailed lists of income & expenditure. However BiCon, as the main annual gathering of the UK Bi community, owes it to that community to be as open & transparent about its workings as possible and the requirement to publish accounts is enshrined in the organisers’ guidelines. (But we won’t mention the 3 month “rule” – ok!)  To that end, now that the straggling invoices are all in, we’re finally able to publish the accounts for BiCon 2009.

Budgeting for an event the size of BiCon isn’t always easy.  We don’t set out to make a large surplus, but on the other hand nor do we wish to irresponsibly drain the community funds without good reason. A break-even target (with some leeway) was therefore our aim.

From the outset BiCon 2009 was intended to be an affordable event.  With the recession taking hold, we fixed a target price of £99 (residential weekend, unwaged rate) and pivoted our calculations around it.  Reducing core costs was a major issue and  was achieved partly by choosing a venue away from major metropolitan centres and also one with which we’d built an excellent working relationship back in 2005.  We started in a good place: we loved the University of Worcester and they loved us!  For our projected costings, attendee numbers were based on this last Worcester BiCon.   Although we wanted to introduce new things at BiCon 09, it was important that these were self-financing.  Community Day, and the included free lunch for all attendees, was entirely funded by external sponsorship thanks to Sanji’s hard work and enthusiasm: let this be a model for future events!

Despite our prudence we did take a few risks, mainly in entering into a couple of guaranteed turnover deals with the University & Students’ Union.  Potentially, had we failed to reach the target figures for either of these, this could have resulted in a significant loss, but one which we felt that we could justify should the need arise.  In the case of the Students’ Union, this resulted in us having free use of the building & facilities every evening,  with the Union deriving their fee solely from the profits on the sale of drinks.   In addition, despite taking a similar risk with the extended catering provision, we negotiated a deal which was one of the major successes of 2009, with on-site hot food (at student prices) available for the first time ever at a UK BiCon!
Although our bookings got off to a slow start, which wasn’t helped by our having to freeze our online payment system when Paypal denied us access to £6000 of our money, things soon picked up and eventually exceeded our most optimistic projections.  Even with the venue fully booked enquiries continued to flood in, and by the close of the event our attendance figures had reached a total of 236.  (192 residential + 44 day passes / staying off site)

Clearly our publicity and accessible pricing structure had paid off.  Due to the increased attendance numbers together with the popularity of the on-site food & drink helping us to meet our targets, we were able to generate a significant surplus to plough into ongoing community projects, and hopefully encourage future BiCon organisers to take a few risks, too!

Martin Winfield
Team Leader, BiCon 2009

 BiCon 2009 Final Accounts

Bookings online via Paypal        7203.00
Bookings via BACS/IBAN           8953.71
Bookings via cheque                 6733.00
Booking refunds                         -65.00
Community Day Sponsorship
(via CQ)                                    370.00
Community Day Sponsorship
(via BACS)                   145.00
Cash bookings, day tickets &
car parking fees                 1513.71
Sale of sundry items during
Ball in aid of HHF                      105.48
Total Income              24958.90

U.W. Accommodation              15978.74
U.W. Meeting room hire              2019.83
U.W. Unitots Crèche                   800.03
U.W. Catering                            345.00
U.W. Car parking permits             299.63
U.W. Photocopying                      24.99
Paypal charges (263.09 – 0.22)    262.87
Hiscox – Event Insurance            544.69
Stationery & printing supplies *  318.14
Laminator *                    22.99
Phone sim card & misc credit *     29.57
Fat Flyers – Postcard flyers *          99.00
Powerprint – Info Booklet
& poster printing *                      285.00
Postage *                                    76.56
British Monomarks –
postal redirection                140.15
BCN – Sponsors’ advertisements     105.00
BCN – misc community flyers          40.00
BiCon survey printing                    85.00
Community Day misc expenses        35.00
Bluebell Wholesale – water coolers 174.11
Ball decoration & misc expens es   204.00
P.A equipment & lighting             550.00
The Mysteries Duo – Saturday ents 250.00
Hospitality *                                  7.95
Misc expenditure (petty cash)         49.19
Total Expenditure                  22747.44
*paid by MJW & reimbursed

Helping Hand Fund
The Helping Hand Fund is a separately accountable fund within the BiCon
surplus. Opening balance is included in £4000.00 transferred from 2008 and
closing balance forms part of the residue to be passed on to BiCon Asset
Management Ltd (in due course…)

Details Credit Debit Balance
Opening balance from 2008         841.88
Donations with
bookings 1088.00              1929.88
Contributions to
attendees 1397.00                      532.88
Sale of sundry items
at ball 105.48                            638.36
Donations with day
tickets 35.00                             673.36
HHF closing balance              673.36

BiCon 2009 Summary
Details Credit Debit Balance
Startup funds from
2008 4000.00           4000.00
Income 24958.90     28958.90
Expenditure 22747.44       6211.46
Closing Balance          6211.46
less startup 4000.00       2211.46
Surplus generated       2211.46
Closing balance of £6211.46 currently held in “BiCon 2009” Lloyds TSB account & to be transferred in due course to “BiCon Asset Management Ltd”, the community holding fund for BiCon surplus.

Martin Winfield,
Team Leader BiCon 2009
13th July, 2010