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Festival or Event Planning Guide

How to Organize a Birding or Nature Festival

Nancy S. Millar   See more about Nancy Millar

7 (+1) Areas to Avoid

  1. A lack of communication can be devastating. Keep your primary volunteers and organizational partners aware of the progress of events.
  2. Biting off too much the first year can be disastrous. It is better to run a smooth small festival than to run a poorly managed large one. Run a test event or a very small festival the first year. You can always grow it the next year.
  3. Organizing the festival without experts in all four areas: a nature expert, an organizer, a community liaison and a marketer, will not work well. It may seem like a time saving idea, but itís a bad one. Donít do it.
  4. Donít make promises you cannot keep. If you canít do it, donít promise it. There is no faster way to destroy the eventís credibility. Remember to aim for giving people more, not less, than they expect.
  5. A lack of professionalism can also inhibit the festivalís ability to attract competent volunteers and necessary sponsors and partners. Everyone wants to be a part of a winning event. Presenting sloppy or incomplete work will drive valuable players away.
  6. You may have what at first glance appears to be attractive offers to partner with other groups, events and organizations. Be wary. Sometimes the match is good; however, it is wise to look at the possible partnership from all angles before deciding to join forces. Sometimes goals cannot help but collide. We partnered with another group one time in incorporating a presentation into the festival. The presentation ran very long because one of their speakers was late, which threw off our entire schedule for the day, making the festival organizers look unprofessional.
  7. Donít overlap with other major functions. Check other major birding events and city events for conflicts, which could affect the turnout or the ability of your city to handle your crowd. We need to be wary of certain times of the year when our hotels and airlines are full, for example. What you donít want is to have a festival that people canít get to or have no place to stay!
  8. Donít forget to have fun!

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