3 Productive Ways to Burn Your Year End Budget

by | Dec 5, 2017 | Blog

We’ve all been there: the year is drawing to a close, you still have some leftover cash reserves in your departmental piggy bank. You’re starting to worry that if you don’t end up spending it all, your department’s unused budget will get slashed the following year.

After all, your organization might reason, if you didn’t use the money this year, why on earth would you need the same sum next year?

So, of course, you’ll go out and try to spend as much as you can on “necessities”; but if we’re being honest, there’s only so many ballpoint pens and staplers you and your colleagues can use, right? At some point, you need to wonder if there are better, more effective, and more creative ways of utilizing these leftover dollars.

In fact, there are. Here are our top three productive suggestions for how to spend your year end surplus before it’s gone:

1) Offer short-term promotions.

Whether or not you’re running a current incentive program, a unique short-term promotion is a great method of engineering extra business while also making good use of your remaining budget.

From sweepstakes and games of chance to performance-based or plateau-style programs, short-term promotions can be tailored in any number of ways to appeal to your participant pool. You can offer them as a competitive incentive, or as an individual reward for a job well done.

They’re also an effective means of generating a late, end-of-the-year push for specific SKUs or lagging product lines or of building excitement for a newly released product.

2) Build up your eCommerce capabilities.

Undoubtedly your organization has a website where customers can purchase your products. But for whatever reason, maybe you need some help garnering some ROI from that aspect of your business.

Why not then use what’s left of your budget to help build up the eCommerce side of things? You can check out our other blog with more detail, here, but here’s a few tactics that may help you.

Make the user interface of your website robust and accessible, create an email campaign that’s dedicated specifically to driving traffic to your site, include an online referral promotion that produces word-of-mouth marketing, or simply offer limited time incentives for online purchases.

All of these tactics can eventually provide solid returns, but they also require upfront investments.

3) Put a deposit down on next year’s programs and/or promotions.

Let’s say you’ve run an incentive program in 2017 and it’s just about to draw to a close. You’ve made the decision to renew it in 2018, but your experience from this year has gifted you some useful insights that could guide your possible decisions for next year’s program.

What if you expanded the participant pool, say, by including an additional region or by pushing the program into a new sales channel? What if you doubled your marketing communications efforts after your analytics guru mentioned that certain branded emails were having a significant effect on enrollment?

Or what if some common feedback you’ve received from participants has to do with the limitations of your reward offerings, and has featured repeated suggestions that a group trip or other grand prize of some kind would take the program to another level?

If you decide that any of the above is worth investing in, it might benefit you to earmark some of this year’s surplus in the name of next year’s vision.


As we come up on the end of the year, you might feel like those leftover dollars are starting to burn a hole in your department’s collective pockets. But while the easy solution might be to just use that money whenever and however you can, we’d like to suggest that there are more forward-thinking ways to spend it.

Interested in how you can better spend your end-of-year budget? Contact us at 888.220.4780 or marketing@hmiaward.com to learn more.

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

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