Inside Events and Festivals The official publication of the Washington Festivals & Events Association
See Inside: •
How do you put on a fun run/walk/swim/ride/tri?
Formation of WFEA Thurston Festivals & Events Organization
Who are your volunteers?
A glance at WFEA member events in November
The Lineup Getting off the Ground with a New Healthy Lifestyle Event Learn from leading experts in the events and festival field at WFEAâ€™s first fall conference in Ellensburg Page 4
Announcing an Organization for Thurston County Festivals & Events November 7, 2019, Riverâ€™s Edge, Tumwater, WA Page 7
Who Are Your Volunteers? Stephanie Allestad on how to work with your volunteers Page 10
WFEA Member Events November WFEA calendar listing of events to attend around the state this coming month Page 13
Inside Events and Festivals Edition 10 Washington Festivals & Events Association
Getting off the Ground with a New Healthy Lifestyle Event Tom Anderson AndEvents, Inc.
e get asked several times a year by non-profit organizations looking to raise funds, or an interested party who thinks that it looks like fun, “How do you put on a fun run/walk/swim/ride/tri?”. My general comments are fueled with caution, as a run/walk/tri/swim/ride event is one of the most time consuming, labor-intensive fundraisers you might choose. But, if this is your mission, here are some general thoughts and guidelines. What’s your goal? Are you looking for cause awareness? Do you want to raise a bunch of money? Is it a celebration? Or, are you interested in setting up a competition? You should have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish before diving in. When do you want to hold your new event? The Northwest is saturated with fitness events. Check all of the local fitness, entertainment and event calendars. If you’re connected to a holiday, or celebration, understand that there is more competition around those dates.
Yes, summer and early fall are the best weather in the Northwest, but there are also more events, community festivals, and outdoor activities during this time. Also consider that with summer, your intended audience may be travelling, out of their normal routine, and more difficult to pin down. In summary, you may need to make some compromises to avoid historical and large events. It’s good to be flexible when seeking the best date. And, once you have that target date, start your planning at least six months out. Who are your prospective partners? Do you have sponsors? Do you know of organizations/businesses that will embrace your event, provide support and invest appropriately? For a new event, I recommend that you wait until you have at least two-thirds of your sponsors (revenue) confirmed before you launch. You don’t want to tell everyone that you’re having an event, and then have to cancel for lack of funding.
Who is going to run/walk/swim/ride/tri with you? Do you have a target audience who will connect with your theme and will be equally eager to play along?
You will want to identify a core group of potential participants for your marketing and communications. Have you thought of a venue or a route? There is a lot to consider with this question. First, will it accommodate the size crowd you want to attract? Is there good parking and access? What is the infrastructure (power, shelter, etc.) to support your event activities? What are the restrictions to use? What are the fees associated with use of the facilities? What’s going on around your selected venue/route? What is the general event-attitude of the surrounding neighborhoods? This may seem like a secondary concern, but host communities want to know how they will be impacted. And, they will be far more supportive if they will receive benefit instead of getting squeezed from having roads closed, parking taken away, and access challenges out of the norm. Will you make money? What are the expenses associated with an event? Here are some general budget categories to help you start calculating your bottom line:
Permits – City, Police, Park, Medical, Insurance, Business taxes Equipment – Road Closures, Tents, Tables, Power, Sound, Signage, Sanitation, Transportation, Storage Participant Incentives – T-shirts, Medals, Awards, Food/Drink, Entertainment Marketing – Print, Media, Social, Digital, Promotional events Staff – Professional services, Volunteers Revenue – Sponsorship, Entry Fees (tickets), In-Kind donations, Charitable contributions Be Dedicated to your Goal. It’s a long process to imagine and build a fitness event in the Northwest.
Year 1 – Set your goals. Execute your event plan and have a blast! Steward your first-timer sponsors and participants so they come back next year. Year 2 – Learn from your year-one mistakes. Don’t try to grow to fast, but think about adding new elements that will improve your production performance and the participant experience. Year 3 –Congratulations! You have established yourself in your community, and on the calendar. People are looking forward to your event. Use your ambassadors and social influencers to grow your audience. Build on your efficiencies. Expand your ideas, and consider how you will sustain your success into the future. Good luck with your new event.
SAVE THE DATE WFEA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
MARCH 24-26 RED LION, BELLEVUE, WA
BEST PRACTICES FESTIVALS AND EVENTS SEMINAR AND ANNOUNCING AN ORGANIZATION FOR THURSTON COUNTY FESTIVALS AND EVENTS November 7, 2019 Riverâ€™s Edge Tumwater, WA REGISTER
BE A PART OF THE FORMATION OF THIS GROUP THAT WILL BE AFFILIATED WITH WASHINGTON FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
RIVER’S EDGE TUMWATER, WA NOVEMBER 7, 2019 This seminar is sponsored by the Washington Festival and Events Association Registration fee includes speakers and buffet lunch.
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS 11:00 AM George Sharp, Thurston Economic Development Council Shauna Stewart, CEO, Experience Olympia & Beyond Carol Riley, Olympia Harbor Days Chuck Denny, Tumwater Parks and Recreation Bruce Skinner, Executive Director, Washington Festivals and Events Association
TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES FOR FESTIVAL AND EVENT MANAGERS 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM Eric Corning, President and CEO, Seattle Seafair Special events large and small can often utilize similar best practices to ensure a successful event. Take a look at traditional best practices and how technology can help and hinder your efforts to organize events.
ASK THE EXPERTS PANEL 12:30 PM – 1:15 PM Bring your questions and get them answered by festival and event professionals who have decades of experience. Eric Corning, President and CEO, Seattle Seafair Bruce Skinner, Executive Director, Washington Festivals and Events Association Carol Riley, Executive Director, Olympia Harbor Days Chuck Denney, Director, Tumwater Parks and Recreation Moira Davin, Director of Marketing & Communications, Experience Olympia & Beyond
FORMATION OF WFEA THURSTON FESTIVALS AND EVENTS ORGANIZATION 1:30 – 2:00 PM Discussion/brainstorm on the benefits of working together: • Networking and knowledge exchange • Master list of festivals and events for cross marketing of each other’s events • Master list to leverage resources and share information about suppliers/vendors of equipment • Group buying power • Education and training of best practices and lessons learned, which could feature an annual workshop/seminar • Other: Be part of an organization that will be affiliated with WFEA and developed by local festival and event producers to build on collaboration and the benefits of working together.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: ERIC CORNING With over 25 years experience, Eric Corning has produced high-profile, public events for Seattle and the greater Puget Sound Region. Eric first joined Seafair as a summer intern in 1993 and quickly became a force in the events community. He has produced over 20 Seafair Festivals including the Seafair Summer 4th Fireworks Show, the Seafair Torchlight Parade, and Seafair Weekend featuring the US Navy Blue Angels. He was also a leader producing the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and the 2014 Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Victory Parade. A graduate of the University of Washington, Eric and his wife Kelli live in Shoreline, WA.
Chocolate on the Beach Festival February 27â€”March 1st, 2020
Who Are Your Volunteers? Stephanie Allestad Chocolate on the Beach Festival
Who Are Your Volunteers? For me, many are my friends and family who enjoy riding the crazy train. They are folks working towards their hours for our festival’s grant program, community members and then those who just love free chocolate. But who are they really? They are the most important part of your event! They are your eyes, your ears and a wealth of other benefits. In other words, they are worth their weight in “Gold”. More on that later. My other job is with my rural volunteer fire department. Through them I work with other first responder agencies and volunteers. But the same principal applies.
In our early years of the chocolate festival, a comment was made that we had to many volunteers. I shushed him immediately and advised him to never utter those words aloud again or he would jinx us! To many volunteers, it is to laugh. But if you are ever blessed with this problem, what do you do? How to Treat Them Volunteers are there by choice. They are not your employees. They chose your event to spend their spare time at. Sure, some are there for the SWAG. But the majority are there because they like to help. I once met a retired couple who traveled in their RV
and looked for interesting and fun events to volunteer at, and then based their travels around them. I would put them under the category of Professional or Seasoned Volunteers. Gold. Acknowledge them. Say hello, thank them for their time and service. Listen to them and take actual notes in front of them. Ask them their opinion and what they observed at your event. A volunteer will be more likely to be honest. Give credit for their ideas and suggestions. How to Help Them, Help You When I have new or shy volunteers, I like to pair folks up. This gives them a partner and that often gives them courage. I then ask them to go around to all the vendors and ask if they need anything. A potty break, water, trash collected or to run and get food for them. Our vendors are very appreciative of this, as they can get so swamped, they can’t take a break. This makes vendors feel special and taken care of too.
Something I love about WFEA is the sharing of ideas and experience. At a conference two years ago, I sat in a class by Trevor Lane from WSU Ferry County Extension about volunteers. I learned about letting volunteers, lead other teams of volunteers. So, we started doing that. Letting our “seasoned” volunteers, teach other volunteers how to do their jobs. We “promoted” them to staff members and give them opportunities to help make decisions in their areas. This gives them a feeling of ownership and a desire to help make our festival better. At a recent WFEA board meeting, Erika Olsen from the Winthrop Blues Festival had mentioned a “Go to Team”. I presented that idea to my board, and we started thinking of different types of teams. Our “Go to Team” will assist in set up, break down and maintenance. The “Foodies” will assist in food demos, the recipe contest and the Chocoholic Awards. The “Financial Wizards” work in cashiering, Silent Auction and the Souvenir Shoppe. The teams will have their names on the backs of the shirts. Again, it gives the volunteers a sense of exclusivity. Continued
How to Keep Them Again, some of these ideas are not my own, but these are few things we have done. SWAG. Our volunteer shirts are exclusive and unavailable for purchase. And lately, we’ve been letting the world know just how special they are to us. They are also a great way to advertise. This year we had a sci-fi theme and chose gold shirts for our volunteers. In the Star Trek series, the Captain wore gold, and was the most important person. Badges are another great SWAG/collectible. They appreciate any thank you gift! (place photo of gold shirt around here) As I mentioned earlier, engage them. Send special volunteer only surveys to show you value their input. Communicate with them. Never assume they know, what you want them to know. Offer a realistic training period or prepare them for the task as much as possible. Do everything you can to help them succeed, and you will too.
I live in a small county. I try to reciprocate by volunteering at their events. Supporting them can be extremely rewarding. Again, it shows how much you value them, but it is also an opportunity to see how to make improvements for your own event. Each year we give grants out and one of the requirements is they must provide a minimum of twenty-four hours of volunteer time during the festival. This gives us fresh volunteers for our “pool” and new contacts for our festival. At the end of the festival, we let the organizations know who put in the most hours and who got the best reviews from our staff. It is our hope that they receive recognition from not just us, but those they volunteered for. Next year we are doing “The Magic of Chocolate” as our theme. For our volunteer shirts were putting a unicorn on it with the words, “Our Volunteers Are Magical!” Because let’s face it…They Are!
November WFEA Member Events At A Glance November 2 - November 3, Seattle Dia de Muertos - A Mexican Celebration to Remember Our Departed November 9, Auburn Auburnâ€™s 54th Annual Veterans Parade & Observance November 9, Seattle Hmong New Year Celebration November 23 - November 24, Anacortes Anacortes Farmers Market- Holiday Market November 24, Olympia Olympiaâ€™s Downtown for the Holidays
November 29 - December 1, Port Angeles Olympic Peninsula Festival of Trees
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