Just because you’ve got no budget doesn’t mean that you have to settle for just anywhere for your next event. Whether you reach out to your contacts, search for partners or be prepared to think laterally, there are plenty of ways to get event space for free.
Use your own space as an event space for free
Depending on how many people you expect at your event, a less formal atmosphere may be just what you need. Choosing to open up your own office space could be just the excuse you need to give it the makeover you’ve been thinking about.
Hosting your own event also gives you an opportunity to build trust, as visitors can get a good idea of the scale and scope of your operation – and give visitors a chance to see ‘the real you’. You don’t necessarily need to have a swanky expensive venue to win new business, appearing genuine and trustworthy can be just as valuable.
For even smaller events, why not host at home? What better event space for free? So long as you can cobble together some nibbles and wine, you can make a virtue of the homely, intimate atmosphere.
Why not host at home? So long as you can cobble together some nibbles and wine, you can make a virtue of the homely, intimate atmosphere.
Use someone else’s event space for free
Lots of businesses recognise the value of attracting new customers by whatever means necessary. High street shops already have the space, and in the evenings, that space may be dead. Perhaps your local hairdresser could use an influx of people that they can give out business cards to. Same goes for estate agents, coffee shops and showrooms. Lawyers and accountants may have their own meeting spaces that they could open up for an afternoon or evening in exchange for a bit of profile raising.
You probably already know people who work at larger companies that have in-house meeting spaces. Perhaps they can make the case for a visit of potential new customers to their boss. Ask around, you may be surprised at how willing people can be to help.
And if you’re a charity, even better – many businesses will be keen to be associated with you, perhaps with just a mention on your flyers, without the need for them to shell out financially.
Get a partner
You can partner with another group to co-sponsor your event. If you’re charging for attendance, they may be able to help you with payment in exchange for a share of your profits.
Some venues will offer their space for ‘free’ so long as their costs are covered. So you may be able to negotiate a minimum spend at the bar, for instance. Or a percentage of the cover charge up to a set amount. Be careful not to overpromise though, and negotiate down wherever possible. If you’re not confident you can fill the venue, you may be able to negotiate a roped-off section for a smaller guarantee.
You could also split ticket prices or share the revenue spent at the bar or for goods purchased at the event. But be careful you don’t end up paying more than it might have cost to hire a venue in the first place.
Use your LinkedIn contacts to put the word out and see if anyone knows of an available space that would be grateful for a bit of extra footfall. Business networking operations like Google’s Campus London, offer event space for free to members because they’re keen to promote business networking and bringing people together. Many other shared spaces that rely on a constant churn of new members are always keen to spread the word.
There may already be a host of community spaces near you just waiting to be filled. Your local council may be able to help.
Church halls, sports grounds and clubhouses, parks and schools may all be open to the idea of revitalising an under-used space.
Online resources such as My Community Space < https://www.mycommunityspace.org.uk/ > and others can help you pinpoint the type of venue you need and whom you should contact. Remember that even ‘public’ spaces like parks may have byelaws relating to how you use them, so it’s always best to check in advance before you hold an impromptu gathering.
Hosting an event doesn’t need to break your budget, think creatively to offer your customers a unique experience and make use of the (free!) existing resources and partners that are available in your area.