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Approaching Budgets

Resources Directory

Approaching Budgets

This Getting Started conversation is with Deborah Chadbourn (she/her), Executive Director of Artsadmin. Deb talks us through some of her top tips when approaching a budget, including tips on using the budget to better communicate about your project, building in flexibility early on, and estimating costs and contingency. Hosted by Michael Norton (he/him/they/them) Artist Support Producer at Artsadmin.
Read the full transcript

Quick jumps

  • 1:13 – A budget can be a communication tool
  • 4:32 – A budget should be flexible
  • 7:19 – Adjusting your outlook
  • 8:17 – How detailed should my budget be?
  • 9:43 – What’s this contingency thing?
  • 10:59 – Budgeting with energy

Music by Bensound


  1. Download a Budget Template from a previous Artsadmin Radar Session (GoogleSheet)
  2. Download an example budget and cashflow for an imaginary festival (GoogleSheet)
  3. Find more useful links on financial planning for artists and companies in our Resources Directory

Six tips on sustainable professional finance

By Becki Haines, Artists’ Finance Manager 

  1. Understand your costs and what you need.
    Money can make us really anxious, but be brave, and know your finances well. When you know them well, you can adjust, re-plan and navigate change much easier.
  2. Cost the jobs not the people.
    Being an artist and an administrator are separate jobs. They could be done by two people, or the same person. But regardless, they are separate hours, separate skills and require separate fees.
  3. Identify what are fixed costs, and what are variable costs so you know where your flexibility is.
    Some costs can’t move. Like the number of people involved in a show. Some costs can, like materials or travel. Knowing these helps you scenario plan more easily.
  4. Think about the reasons for the costs you have decided, particularly fees for yourself, and how to explain them to others.
    When you have a strong rationale, you can feel more confident explaining your costs and fees to others in a negotiation or a discussion about your work.
  5. Know your bottom line, and the reasons to walk away.
    Some things just aren’t feasible. Build your confidence to know when something simply isn’t going to work; because the fee is too short, or the studio time isn’t enough for the production demands. It can feel really difficult in the moment, but in 2 weeks, or 2 months time – you will be so glad you did.
  6. Share stories.
    Enjoy the friendliness of our sector – ask for help, swap ideas, learn from each others’ mistakes and celebrate each others’ successes.
  1. Download a Sustainable Cashflow template from a previous Artsadmin Radar Session (Excel)
  2. Download a Sustainable Cashflow example from a previous Artsadmin Radar Session (Excel)