Volume 9, Issue 5
MULSS Law Ball is the biggest LSS event of the year, both financially and by attendance. The Ball drew 1,059 guests to Peninsula Docklands last year.
In the lead up to MULSS Law Ball 2016, there has been some discussion regarding ticket prices, set at $130 for MULSS students and $140 for all other guests. This is comparable to other similar societies’ Balls held at the same venue, such as $140 for Melbourne Commerce Society and $125 for Melbourne Med Society and Monash LSS.
In response to those discussions, this article aims to shed light on questions relating to the MULSS Law Ball’s cost and profit.
As all the costs for this year’s Law Ball are not yet currently fixed, this article will reference financial figures from MULSS Law Ball 2015. This year’s Ball will be running in an almost identical format to last year.
Where does the money go?
To keep prices down as low as possible whilst maintaining a quality event, the MULSS Activities Portfolio seeks out numerous quotes for every outlay, from venues to buses to the after party, with the intention to get the cheapest prices and provide the best value event possible.
Before any decisions can be made or money can be spent, an appropriation must be passed by a majority at a MULSS Committee meeting.
Peninsula, Docklands, has been the host of Law Ball for the past three years. This venue consistently provides the best value for money in comparison to any other with the same capacity in Melbourne. The MULSS purchases the minimum food and beverage package at just under $89 per person, only adding dessert for $4.00 a person. This provides students with all their food for the evening as well as an open bar for the five-hour duration of the Ball.
However, this package doesn’t include additional unavoidable venue charges such as security, AV and medical attendants, which add roughly another $8.98 per ticket.
Entertainment is provided for the evening at $4.58 per person which last year included a string quartet, DJ, five piece band and photo booths. Theming is sought out at the cheapest price and adds another $5.07 to each ticket.
An after party venue is provided, along with transport so students don’t have to shell out more money for taxis. This adds another $3.53 to each ticket. Using an online system for ticket purchasing and management adds roughly $3.12 to each ticket. There are also some small costs such as printing tickets and menus that add to the cost of running the event.
Does The Ball make a profit?
The MULSS must manage finances, budgeting and price setting for the Ball prudently. A buffer must be put in place in case any unexpected costs arise. However, the aim is not to spend this buffer. Therefore, if the event has been carefully planned then there will be money remaining in the buffer after the Ball.
The MULSS must also act conservatively when estimating the number of attendees in case the event is not as popular as it has been in previous years. There are a number of fixed costs (those which won’t change depending on the number of attendees) which become less expensive per additional person in attendance. In 2015, we were fortunate to have an unexpectedly high attendance (~100 more than 2014), which resulted in a slight decrease in cost per attendee.
Furthermore, in order to secure the venue for the evening, the MULSS is required to put down a $10,028 bond. This is held as security by the venue in case anything is broken on the evening. Thankfully, most years the majority of the bond is returned minus the cost of a few dozen broken glasses and a couple of vomit stains.
However, it is necessary for the MULSS to account for the cost of the bond when setting ticket prices. Otherwise, if any serious damage were to occur, the MULSS would be at risk of running the event at a $10,028 loss. This would jeopardise the MULSS’s ability to provide the other events and services it does, such as free yoga classes, weekly netball and STS tutorials.
Therefore, most years the event has roughly $10,000 surplus. The entirety of any money left from The Ball goes towards subsidising the Spring Social, a stand up cocktail style event held in semester two. This event is aimed to be much less financially burdensome, whilst providing a similar atmosphere to The Ball, and is made even more affordable by the subsidy.
We hope this article has provided some greater clarity as to how the MULSS Law Ball comes together. If you have any further questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Daff is the MULSS Vice President and was Activities Director in 2015
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