This section covers budgetary issues (income and expenditure). There's a separate article on sponsorship.

The first, and one of the most crucial tasks of the Convenor is that of drawing up a preliminary budget. This will take some time but is essential in understanding and appreciating all the aspects involved in hosting the competition. In fact it is the basic feasibility study that will enable you to make a preliminary judgement on whether to confirm a bid to host the competition in the first place. Without this document you will not be able to embark upon the second crucial stage, that of ensuring you can cover the costs: in short, fund-raising. It is recommended that you begin working on this at least three years prior to the intended competition, so that you will be able to know whether you can make a preliminary bid at the competition two years before, and confirm the bid one year before.

Once your bid to host has been approved by the World Schools Debating Council, you should consider your budget a working document, and update it regularly. There's no point in sticking to your guns on particular budget items if it turns out that something will turn significantly more (or less) than originally anticipated. Whenever the Organising Committee is making a major decision, it's important for the Treasurer and Convenor to consider the budgetary implications.

Projected expenditureEdit

When working out how much the tournament will cost, you need to decide on the likely number of competing countries. This in turn, will provide the key to the number of participants (debaters, coaches, judges, observers, staff) and therefore accommodation, travel and meal costs. The competition has grown to such an extent in recent years that some convenors have seen it necessary to establish a "cap" or limit on the number of competing countries. This is a necessary precaution to enable the convenor to set a limit on likely expenses. The cap for Stuttgart 2004, for example, was set at 38 countries, although in the final reckoning, there were not that many. The highest number of participating countries currently stands at 36, in Wales in 2006.

The following is a check list of items to bear in mind, each of which is considered more fully elsewhere. Clearly this list is only a guide: each convenor will have to add his or her own budgetary items in accordance with local circumstances.

Pre-tournament expensesEdit

  • Rental of office accommodation (if necessary)
  • Hiring part-time salaried help (if necessary)
  • Printing stationery, newsletters, publicity material, etc.
  • Foreign travel expenses (the Convenor and maybe other key figures in the hosting organization should attend the previous competition at least; if your Chief Adjudicator is from abroad you may consider paying their way to your competition).
  • Local travel expenses
  • Setting up a website and running it
  • Fax, email, telephone, postage costs

Tournament expensesEdit

Contingency fundEdit

A contingency fund is highly recommended, as there will inevitably be things that you forget to include in your initial budget, as well as increases in costs and unforseen circumstances. In Wales the contingency was set at £10,000, nearly half of which was used.

Example expenditure budgetEdit

Projected income, including registration feesEdit

Clearly you will need to balance your accounts at the end of the tournament. Once you have some idea of how many countries will participate, the first thing to set down as clear, predictable income is registration fees. Check out how much was charged at the previous 2 or 3 tournaments; it's acceptable to increase your charge modestly in comparison to last year's, but it is not acceptable to make up for a large shortfall in sponsorship by charging very high registration fees. If you have financial difficulties, see the tips on running a budget tournament below. If, on the other hand, you are very successful at securing sponsorship, everyone will be delighted if the registration fee decreases for a year.

It's safe to assume that an average of 8 active participants (debaters, coach(es) and judges) will attend from each country. On top of that you need to consider income from perhaps 10 to 15 official observers (the fee for whom is typically twice as high).

It is good practice to waive the registration fee for the Chief Adjudicator(s), who will be doing a lot of work to keep your tournament afloat. You will also want to waive fees for key organisational people at your end (volunteers and the Convenor at the very least). If your budget allows you to provide some other complimentary (or at least reduced-rate) registrations, e.g. for members of the Chief Adjudication Panel, then this will be much appreciated.

You might be able to budget for some modest income from website advertising and from selling tournament souvenirs, photos, DVDs etc. Other than that, there's little money to be made from hosting the Worlds, so the remainder of your income will need to come from sponsorship. As well as a summary budget sheet, it's a good idea to produce a separate, detailed sheet which sets out roughly which sponsors you expect to pay for each area of expenditure (you could make figures bold when sponsorship is confirmed).


Any financial undertaking requires a cashflow projection, and this competition is no exception. Overwhelmingly, the main costs will be need to be met immediately prior to, during or after the competition, and not months in advance. However, bear in mind that a hotel/hostel will certainly require a deposit on such a substantial booking. Even if you are a part of a major organization (like the ESU in London, 1999), a monthly cash-flow projection chart needs to be produced, correlating income from registration fees, donations, contributions, etc., with expenditure. The projections should allow plenty of room for things to go wrong. They will – income always comes in late and expenses exceed budgets!

Tips for a cheaper tournamentEdit

The major expense for all recent tournaments has been the accommodation. Prior to 1998, competitions relied (for the most part) on billeting participants with local families, usually of students at host schools. As the competition grew, it was agreed (a) that billeting was becoming unmanageable from an organisational perspective, and (b) that participants benefited from the social interaction of staying together.

However, there is no need to base the tournament in some of the grand hotels of recent years (nice though they are). The first thing to look at for saving costs would be a cheaper accommodation alternative - especially university halls of residence (as in Cardiff in 2006), youth hostels (Israel 1998) or specialist conference accommodation. Participants may not enjoy the same facilities (e.g. pool, gym, dry-cleaning) but may appreciate the more informal nature - and the benefit of not worrying about teenagers behaving in 'posh' surroundings.

Slash your accommodation bill as far as you can, and the possibility of hosting a tournament entirely on registration fees grows.

Section to be completed.

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