Why do we have a door charge?

Deputy President (Finance & Services)

When I worked in Beit bars, some of the most frequently asked questions I received revolved around the door charge on specific nights of the week, i.e. “Why do we have a door charge?” and “Where does the money go when I pay to come into the Union?”. So when running for this position, I promised to unpick the budget where ticketing income and door charges are positioned and this infographic is the product of my findings!

As a registered charity, Imperial College Union is required to produce an annual report and set of accounts at the end of every financial year. This information is available on our website and covers all of the income and expenditure of the organisation. Although comprehensive, they are not easy to understand within a short space of time. Therefore I have made it my aim this year to help make the Union accounts more accessible, by splitting down budgets that directly affect the student body. 

This infographic is set to be the first in a series that increase the transparency of our Union, and hold us to one of our Strategic aims for 2017-2020: To ensure that we are a well-run, sustainable and functional organisation, positioning people and resources to best serve our members now and in the future. There is more information after the Infographic! 

Door Charge Infographic
Door Charge Infographic
Door Charge Infographic
Door Charge Infographic
Door Charge Infographic
Door Charge Infographic
Door Charge Infographic
Door Charge Infographic

Download the full infographic here

Adding context to the infographic

The Union finances are split into the four key areas of the organisation:


  • Leadership & Administration,
  • Finance & Resources,
  • Student Voice & Communication,
  • Student Experience & Services.


The door charges lie within the Entertainments budget of Licensed Trade, a section of the Social Enterprise branch in Student Experience & Services. The accounts for the previous year (2015/16) are laid out in full as the infographic unravels, with extra information on our long-term purchases and investments in a separate breakdown. It is important to note that the Entertainments budget is independent of food and drink sales within Union outlets; they are separated from ticketing fees and events expenditure to facilitate a more efficient analysis of Licensed Trade on a daily basis.


The £35,420 income to the Entertainments budget in 2015/16 was split into:


  • General sales – ticketing income received on regular nights, e.g. CSP Wednesdays, iPop, Common People and BPM on Fridays.
  • Welcome week events – ticketing income from events hosted at the Union during the first week of term, e.g. The Undergraduate, Lite and Postgraduate Mingles, Comedy Nights, Fresher’s Ball.
  • Carnivals - ticketing income from our Winter, Spring and Summer Carnivals hosted by the Union in Beit Quadrangle.
  • Capital grants - funding from the College.

Explaining the expenditure

We spent £44,246 last year, across multiple areas, so we thought this deserves a breakdown. 

Expenditure explained
Expenditure explained
Expenditure explained 

Download the full infographic here

Adding more context to the expenditure

The £44,246 expenditure in 2015/16 was split:

  • Investments and long-term purchases - large purchases are depreciated by spreading their cost across the lifespan of the materials and products. A full breakdown is provided, but in sum the investments can themselves be split into:
    • The Metric and FiveSixEight refurbishment, also known as the Phase III project. This represents the 2009/10 plan to modernise the Union’s restaurant/bar, then known as Da Vinci’s and nightclub, dB’s.
    • At the same time as the renovation, 6 x Funktion One speakers were purchased to provide a professional quality speaker system in the new nightclub, Metric.
    • New furniture - cubed seating, easily portable tables, folding tables and stacking chairs, bar stools, etc. to create a more dynamic layout that allows students to design their social space on different nights.
    • Lighting installations and projects - to improve the late-night experience, extending venue space and functionality.
    • Technical hardware - Streamlining systems on the door and cloakroom has helped to reduce queue times on entering the venue, and inside. Adding a new projector and LCD TVs has allowed students to watch sport in a separate space to FiveSixEight. DJ CD players, mixers, AV equipment and the smoke machine have enhanced the nightclub experience and made the lighting more atmospheric.
  • Student staff - the Union invests expenditure from the budget into student staff that work as lighting technicians, photographers, Quiz Masters and DJs from MusicTech society.
  • Equipment hire & purchase - for smaller, one-off payments that do not require depreciation accounting, e.g. cables, portable lights.  
  • Maintenance - for regular upkeep of all of our equipment.


Over the past four years, the Union has been working to tighten up the Entertainments budget by reducing unnecessary expenditure and maintaining a steady income. The strategy for the budget this year is to make our events completely sustainable - if you want to get involved with the Entertainments budget and put forward ideas on our accounts for next year and the years to come then drop me an email at dpfs@ic.ac.uk, or tweet us at @icu_dpfs and @icunion!

Beit Quadrangle
Prince Consort Road
London SW7 2BB
Registered Charity No: 1151241
Tel: 020 7594 8060
Fax: 020 7594 8065
Email: union@imperial.ac.uk
Twitter: @icunion
VAT Reg No. GB 240 5617 84