In its early years, the local community festival was a huge success. The crowds were big, volunteers readily signed on, sponsors waited in line and the event raised enough to cover its costs and then some. Excess funds were donated to a local charity.
Fast forward…the crowds have dwindled for this once beloved event. Volunteers need to be begged to help, sponsors commitments are fewer and fewer, and some years the event barely covers expenses.
The evidence clearly points to pulling the plug, but how?
Bye, Bye…See Ya
Having struggled to find sponsors, volunteers and community support, the entire event planning committee resigns en masse. They have simply run out of steam. Determine how the governing documents dictate funds be dispersed after the tax returns are filed. Check if the local historical society would like any historical materials.
Business is Business
Leadership to leadership, ask one or more of your major corporate sponsors to sit down with the presenting organization and explain why they will no longer be involved. Each should understand finances and commitments and the need to be affiliated with a successful endeavor. After all, business is business.
Falling on the Sword
Your local government may be use to being the bad guy. If they have been subsidizing the event, they may cut the cash line item or staff time allocations simply by saying it is due to budget constraints. The return on investment and goodwill is no longer worth the dollars and time committed.
Dodged a Bullet
If the tail wags the dog and the benefitting organization has changed its purpose or no longer exists, it may provide the perfect excuse to cease to exist.
Here Ya Go
Find another non-profit organization with a solid reputation and army of volunteers, meet and determine if they would be interested in taking over the event. They may be able to revitalize the event or may reinvent it with a new name.
It’s important to remember that festivals and events have life cycles. Some events can change with the times, providing new energy with each adjustment, while others stagnate and need to be put on the shelf and remembered for what it once was.
A few simple things may help revive a festival.
First, event organizers need to get current with technology and social media marketing. This may mean an influx of new volunteer leadership is needed or for those that are receptive to change – training. People are busy; make it easier for event-goers to purchase tickets on line. Choose a ticketing vendor that allows funds to be dispersed as tickets are sold, since most events need monies beforehand, not after the event. If you’re looking for your ticket vendor to be your bank, determine what the event is paying for this service.
Seek to have the event name and your sponsors names or logos prominently displayed on all communication to your patrons. Your ticket vendor should not get more exposure than the event. Find a ticket vendor that allows your event to be shared on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Ask if you can also sell tickets on Facebook. Those ticket vendors that also offer the ability to handle concession and exhibitor registrations online, will help eliminate paper and keep event records in one place.