Measuring the Impact of Events

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Social-media-monitoringIf you are going to raise money for events, whether its funding, sponsorship or using the BID levy, there is an imperative to provide feedback and think about what “success” looks like – for you and the funder. And even if don’t need to show value for the money (lucky you!) measure it anyway or you’ll never know what works.
Jean Ball and I will be looking at this in some depth at the Town Centre Events Conference in Nottingham on 14th Sept.

As with so many things that you need to measure, I often revert to Kipling’s Checklist,

I had six honest serving men, They taught me all I knew,

Their names were Where and What and When and How and Why and Who

Whatever your reasoning, there are some basic rules to follow. Work out what you need before the event, not after the fact. Involve partners in doing that and make sure you understand who is impacted, and not just on the day.

Getting any measures in place and collected and collated is never easy. Make sure the pain is worth the gain! Indicators are usually in one of these categories:

• Economic
• Environmental
• Social
• Branding

So, looking at these, knowing who the important beneficiary or funder is in fundamental in deciding what to measure. Some examples:

For a BID the economics are vital. The retailers will want to see increased footfall and / or sales.

For a sponsor, they will want to see the value and volume of media coverage as well as the “tone” i.e. coverage was positive, neutral or negative.

A public funding body like the Arts Council or local authority will be interested in how many people participated, how satisfied people were or we engaged i.e. the Social outcomes.

Going in a bit deeper, for Economic impacts, at the very least you will want to capture headline spectator and attendee numbers, as these are a strong indicator of likely economic impact. Going further usually involves survey work to calculate the ‘direct economic impact’ figure from the event. If you want very sophisticated measures consider adjustments to the ‘direct economic impact’, usually to measure the subsequent effects of increased spending in the local economy. There are some good lessons from the tourism sector here.

For Environmental impacts the number and type of environmental management plans in place is an indicator. By that I mean, much rubbish is collected and recycled for example. Another level might be to assess how attendees have travelled to an event, their perceptions of the event’s environmental credentials, and their intent is to change their environmental behaviour. Finally, consider the long-term change in people’s environmental behaviour.

With Social impacts, the measure of peoples’ experience of attending an event is important. You might also measure of peoples’ changed perceptions of a host city/region as a place (as in branding). Lastly, finding ways to understand the impact of engaging with an event to bring about a change in people’s interest in participating.

Do come along and see us and share your experiences.

To secure your reduced cost place at The Town Centre Events Conference simply register via events.futurehighstreet.co.uk/register/ inserting the promotional code ‘LATE’. Using this code will reduce the cost of attendance from £189+VAT to just £99+VAT. We hope to see you in Nottingham.

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