TOURISM: Central Highland's Gemfest is just one of the annual events that entice visitors to the region.
TOURISM: Central Highland's Gemfest is just one of the annual events that entice visitors to the region. Contributed

Events promote CH

IT NEVER ceases to amaze me just how many things are going on in this region. There are not many weekends when there are no events offering something to do or experience.

The Central Highlands region really does punch well above its weight when it comes to the quality and quantity of events that are on offer.

National events like Gemfest, Australian Go Karting Championships, and the Australian Team Roping Association National Finals in Capella last week bring many visitors from outside our region.

Key events Ag-Grow and the annual Show are great for the community, and then there are the countless local events at the showgrounds, various dance schools, primary and secondary schools, all the not for profit organisations' events and fantastic country race meetings from the local race clubs scattered through the Central Highlands.

There really is an amazing amount of volunteer time, effort and money that makes these events possible.

Events are also great for tourists, who provide a different revenue stream for fundraising opportunities and most do want to engage with the communities they are passing through.

Some tourists are even a great source of volunteer help to assist on the day of the event, giving them another way of engaging with the local communities, and giving the event extra help.

But how can you ensure the events you put on remain sustainable and successful for coming years as burnout and volunteer fatigue hits the various committees?

A good way to look at an event organisation or the event itself is to think of it as a small business.

Most events, if not doing so already, should be creating budgets, procedures and policies, grant writing submissions, daily running templates, etc.

All this administration could be set up as files on computer so that handovers are easy. It is also prudent to have all this to hand if key personnel get ill or any other unexpected things happen to key staff, making it easier for others to step in at short notice.

It may sound a bit over the top to think of your event as a small business, but it does make sense to really capture and store all the great local knowledge the current committees have, making it that little bit easier when it is time for others to take over.

Marketing plans can also be tracked for their efficiency and worth.

Sure, the Facebook community is great but also consider the other free options such as the online event calendars of CHDC.

Also, local radio station 4Hi and this paper, CQ News, offer free promos for not for profit events.

Probably the best "small business” approach is the creation of data bases not only for stall holders, volunteers, suppliers and the day to day running of the event, but for those attending your event.

Even if it is a free event, having some idea of where your patrons are coming from, their age, their demographics, is vital in the sustainability of your event, especially if you are trying to grow the patronage and source funding and/or sponsorship.

Creating packages with accommodation providers, restaurants and pubs is a good way for businesses to leverage off events and festivals and really allows the community to showcase itself to the full.

Contact Vicki Leeson (business facilitator) or myself if you think we can assist with your event.