Team Building Budget: Ultimate Guide

By: | Updated: May 09, 2023

You found our ultimate guide on team building budgets.

A team building budget is a plan for spending money to help groups build connections. The purpose of team building budgets is to control the money spent on team events. When creating a team building budget, examples of what to consider include how much to spend per person, how to categorize expenses, and how to get the most out of your money.

Tracking your finances for team building is helpful when planning holiday activities, team building events, office parties, and corporate workshops. This sort of preparation can also come in handy when purchasing swag and gifts for the team.


This list includes:

  • what are team building budgets?
  • how to budget for team building activities
  • how to categorize team building expenses
  • team building budget plan tips
  • sample budget for team building
  • team building budget proposal sample

Here we go!

What are team building budgets?

Team building budgets are funds set aside to spend on activities for connecting workers. Having a plan for your funds allows you to track details while controlling expenses. Some businesses assign this task to their HR or accounting department to ensure departments follow company policy. Even if a specialized team in the organization coordinates team building money, creating a strategy specifically for your team helps you manage your funds. If unexpected possibilities for team bonding arise, then having a rundown of your financial needs will let you know if you can accommodate the opportunity. While financing your functions can vary by company, a workable total should account for between $30 and $100 per person.

Different companies handle their team building funding in different ways. For example, some companies provide each team with an equal amount at the beginning of the year for workers to use as they see fit. Other companies have an open policy that allows teams to request funds when occasions for team building fun arise. These models are the most familiar for team building funds, though they are not the only possibilities. Managing your account no matter what style your organization uses is the best way to use your money effectively while accounting for every penny spent.

How to budget for team building activities

1. Choose your intended activities

Arranging funds for team building costs without knowing what you will be funding can be challenging. Unless you have plans in mind, you will not have a workable target to aim for. By creating a preliminary list of options, you can get a sense of your costs. If you are working with an annual total, then you can create a calendar covering the entire year. Next, you will need to research prices, accounting for any seasonal changes in cost. It would be best to verify that your plans are possible when you choose to ensure you can lock in your funding plans well ahead of time. For example, advance plans for end-of-year holiday parties will allow you to set aside funds to reserve a venue and optimize catering. If any of your plans require changes, then you will have enough lead time to address those changes and alter your budget.

2. Verify your budget before solidifying your plans

It can be tempting to jump into making reservations to ensure you get the time slot you want before you know if you have the right financial plan in place. If you are unsure of your allotted amount, then checking with management before engaging with planners will help you understand your target costs. For instance, you may be considering plans for a dinner cruise when the monies your company intended for your team will only support a smaller onsite dinner party. Verifying even a ballpark figure will let you zero in on your most workable options even after you compile a list of possibilities. Once you know how much you have in your account, then you can get excited about adding fun occasions to your calendar.

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3. Research your costs

A rough estimate of what each occasion will cost allows you to disperse your funds properly. If your anticipated expenses exceed your allotment, then you will immediately know your plans need adjusting. Knowing ahead of time how much money you can spend will help guide you to more cost-friendly options. If you submit a proposal for your team building opportunity with the option of recommending an amount, then knowing your costs will help you justify your request.

Though it may depend on each activity individually, some companies designate a certain amount for each department based on group headcount. Knowing the per-person amount will let you focus on items your money will allow and may even leave funds for future engagement. If your team receives a group total, then you can divide by the number of team members to determine how much you have for each worker.

4. Allow for additional expenses

You might find your proposed arrangements feature costs you have not planned for. These costs may include travel, food, and set-up or clean-up fees for the chosen venue. Keeping your records accurate means forecasting what you will spend. Having a sense of additional needs will allow you to alter your plans before you make reservations or purchase tickets. Some venues have a no refunds policy for deposits, which could count against your funds before your plan is even complete. By researching prices ahead of time, you can ensure that your funds cover the entire event.

5. Use your money wisely

While it may seem exciting to plan a single blowout activity for your team to enjoy, there may be a purpose behind having multiple opportunities to spend your funds. Special occasions like unexpected successes may arise that call for celebration! There may also be opportunities for educational team building between the items on your calendar. Leaving a little bit in your account for these surprise moments gives you wiggle room for impromptu moments. For teams whose funding renews annually without rolling money forward, keeping an eye on the calendar will let you factor in extra occasions to ensure you use your full funding.

How to categorize team building expenses

Team building may come with a variety of costs, each one representing a different type of spending. Planning for these amounts requires special accounting to ensure the funds are correctly categorized. For example, a museum tour may include transportation fees, admission to the museum, and lunch for the team. Each of these items may have a different accounting classification. Categorizing them accurately will allow proper booking by your accounting department.

Possible categories for your team building expenses include:

  • Travel or transportation to and from the site
  • Rental costs for a space
  • Admission to your chosen location
  • Food and drinks enjoyed by the team
  • Fees for keynote speakers or coordinators
  • Costs for decorations and supplies
  • Charges for swag or gifts for the team
  • Payments made for online games or hosted activities
  • License or permit fees for larger onsite opportunities such as block parties or park cookouts
  • Catering costs
  • Reservation fees
  • Permits for entrance to national or city parks

Depending on your area and the type of activity you have planned, other costs may be involved. Virtual events are likely to be less expensive than in-person, something that can make your money go further. To be sure you are well prepared, you can include expenses as part of your research when assembling your team building package. This preparation will help you factor those costs into the total amount and allow you to adjust proposed amounts for each activity to stay within your plans.

Team building budget plan tips

1. Be specific about the intended use of funds

The more you know how you intend to use your funds, the more accurate your budget will be. If you know how much you have to work with, then you can choose activities that fit your total. Planning for the coming months and researching costs for upcoming occasions will help you stay on track. You can factor in any required preparation, such as making reservations or submitting for permits before your activity date. Any expenses that may come from these preparations will appear in your plans, making it easier to track those costs.

2. Be distinct about your expenses

Knowing exactly how much your team activities will cost will help you make accurate listings for your charges. For example, if you plan to include group transportation and lunch or snacks as part of an activity, then you can list those in your documents. This sort of detail will allow you to gauge the entire cost for each activity without adding unexpected amounts. Being able to list your expenses in detail will also help you make a case for your costs long before they happen. You will also have plenty of time to make adjustments if necessary.

3. Get organized well in advance of your activities

Before you know what your funds are, you can gather ideas for some team building activities that might work regardless of the amount approved. Choosing a variety of options will allow you to scale your final plans once you know what you can spend. If you have a plan in mind that will benefit your team’s collaborative skills, then you can prepare a compelling proposal that will help management understand the reason for the event. Providing as much background as possible about your choices may help support your reasons for needing more funds.

4. Be flexible with your plans

Even being expertly organized, your best intentions for coordination may encounter challenges. Having a range of possibilities on your list allows for flexibility. This sort of planning means choosing a few large, medium, and small items based on your approved funding. Having a variety of options will also allow you to make your money go further while providing your team with an enjoyable range of options.

5. Be ready to negotiate

For companies where team building funds are not set in stone, you may be able to organize monies for whatever sort of activities you like. However, your organization may have restrictions or special guidelines to follow. Then, you may need to negotiate the total amount or even individual prospects one at a time. Understanding that your initial plan may require tinkering allows you to choose a range you can work with. This sort of flexibility will help you clarify what types of team building occasions are possible before you lock in your plans.

6. Be accurate with your accounting

Keeping receipts, tracking communications, and getting bids for your costs in writing will help with accuracy when accounting for your monies. Your accounting team will likely need documentation to approve disbursements, and your leadership may need to sign off on them before you receive any money. Keeping a dedicated folder on your desktop to store all documentation allows you to keep accurate accounting down to the penny and provide backup whenever needed. Organizing this way will also help speed along your plans by ensuring funds can move when expected.

Sample budget for team building:

You can approach your budget for team building in various ways, depending on your company’s requirements. Starting simple is a great way to get your thoughts in place. You can always expand your plans and add more detail as you plan your team building calendar.

This very basic sample layout will give you an idea of how to assemble your own documentation.

Event Name: $
Date: $
Location: $
Admission Cost per Person: $
Total Admission (Cost x # of Participants) $
Rental Expense: $
Set-Up Fees: $
Catering Costs: $
Transportation: $
Other Fees: $
Total Cost of Event: $
Total Funds Allotted: $
Remaining Funds: $

To track your payments as your plan comes together, you can use a spreadsheet and highlight outstanding amounts to ensure the budget is in order. Because your total amount may include enough funds for multiple occasions, you can carry the balance forward for the next period. Tracking your funds with this type of spreadsheet will make it easy to see where your money goes and how much you have left to work with.

Team building budget proposal sample

For some companies, team building is not a predetermined part of annual spending for each team. Funding for your plans may come on a case-by-case basis. To arrange an activity for your group, you may need to submit a proposal. A proposal should include the intended activity, location, and intended expenses. Listing details about the amount of money needed and the cost of each aspect will give management what they need to approve and account for the expense. There may be questions or concerns about a proposal, or you may need to negotiate the terms or cost of your activity. Submitting a proposal before moving forward allows you to suggest alternative ideas and alter your plan if needed.

The following example is a simple version of what a proposal might look like.

Proposed Team Activity Budget 

This proposal is for a trip to Rock City, an indoor rock wall climbing facility, to demonstrate unique collaboration techniques among team members. The event takes place on January 10th and will entail a four-hour absence from the office. This time frame includes two hours of guided climbing plus two hours for lunch at Chow Down Diner afterward. The proposed budget for this activity is as follows:

Admission to Rock City: $40.00 per employee x 6 employees = $240.00

Climbing Equipment Fee: $5.00 per employee x 6 employees = $30.00

Lunch at Chow Down Diner: $20.00 per employee x 6 employees = $120.00

Total Proposed Cost of Activity: $390.00

Employees will drive themselves to and from the activity, which eliminates travel fees.

Thank you for your consideration.

Your plans may include more expenditures, depending on the complexity. Laying out your intended costs in this manner will allow easy review of what you intend to spend and what every dollar will pay for. Depending on the response you receive, you can adjust your proposal and submit a new plan if necessary.


With a team building budget in place, you can make sure money dedicated to your group goes as far as possible. Having control over funds will show you how to spend more wisely while minimizing unnecessary costs. Once you have a template that suits your needs, you can create spreadsheets for future team building opportunities.

Next, read more about the best team building training courses and exciting company outing ideas to put your team building funds to use.

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FAQ: Team building budgets 

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about team building budgets. 

What is a team building budget?

A team building budget is a detailed plan explaining funding for your group activities. This plan may be an annual, periodic, or monthly listing of monies set aside for your team building opportunities.

Why is having a team building budget important?

Having a team building budget is important for ensuring you have enough money to fund your projected ideas for a given time period. Planning your funds also helps you manage disbursements so you can make your team building account go as far as possible.

How do you make a team building budget?

You make a team building budget by identifying the total allowed for your activities and creating a list of potential expenses. You can allot an amount per employee or designate a total for each activity. List any additional fees that might occur, such as transportation or space rental, to make sure you have enough money to cover your arrangements.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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