Personally, I really love the Women of Whistler events. They are a great opportunity to touch base with the event sponsors and discuss the opportunities that exist to work together. At this event, the buzz was about the powerful speakers who were on the panel and the delicious food that was available. The Collective Kitchen served some fantastic food!
Living in Whistler, where all levels of events can be experienced from the small community fundraiser to the international festival, I was especially looking forward to hearing three different perspectives on events, how they are formed, the execution and the power they embrace.
It was interesting hearing John break down the value of participating in community events and how all these areas are vital to the operations of the event and that every little piece of the puzzle is necessary to create a successful event.
Touching base on each of them really helped me to understand the scope of the evolution of events and that the participation of each one is critical to the final outcome, including sponsors, competition, volunteers, ticket purchases, spectators, buyers and suppliers.
Bernie continued this train of thought with the importance of relationship building and that this is critical for eminent and future success on projects and events. As we prepare for our events it’s important to keep in mind that your success will depend on the relationships and trust you have built through your previous interactions and these relationships this will foster referrals and future levels of success.
Andrea touched on the return on investment (ROI) of events and that it needs to be in line with your business goals and objectives and the importance of understanding that a successful sponsorship is not just buying the sponsorship slot. Once you have decided what type and what level of sponsorship to come on at, you need to leverage that sponsorship with at least an equal amount of money if not two to three times more with supporting initiatives to support and foster the partnership you are developing. Sponsoring an event without supporting advertising, marketing and other initiatives is like “purchasing an ad in a magazine without placing the ad.”
Another good point made through the discussion was the importance of clearly articulating your volunteer incentives and understanding your volunteer’s reason for participating in the event. Some of these could include shared training or skill building, using the event as a social bridge to meet other people with the same interests, purely philanthropic or if they are interested in some extra incentive including a t-shirt or a beer.
Some closing thoughts include that events are about trust and the strength of the referral, make sure what you do aligns with your long term goals and strategies and finally whether you are a sponsor, volunteer, participant or spectator the onus is on you to leverage the benefits and optimize that investment.
I am anxiously looking forward to our next event with the Women of Whistler.
Director of Development & Community Initiatives
Whistler Animals Galore Society (WAG)
Committee Member of Women of Whistler