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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

Money- How To Get It

The festival will need money- maybe a lot of it. Unless your organization has very deep pockets, and is willing to dig into them, it will likely be up to the steering committee to find the funding.

  1. Corporate sponsors are a great resource. Look to businesses that are community-minded, or ones that are trying to improve their images. Environmental projects are often very popular.
  2. The trade show, should you decide to include one, should make money. Charge enough to cover your costs and then some- but don’t get greedy or you may scare off some attractive exhibitors. The exhibitors’ fees can always be raised in subsequent years. It can damage the credibility of the event, however, to decrease the fees.
  3. Look for in-kind sponsorships. The festival will need printing; speaker travel, meals and accommodations; rental equipment; publicity; graphic design; a location; what else? The festival will have publicity value. Use it to your advantage.
  4. Registrations can also, of course, be a revenue source. Be careful to budget conservatively. Since registrations will be received after most of the funds have been spent or committed, it is dangerous to depend on inflated or even aggressive numbers, especially the first year. However, people are willing to pay for a quality experience, so after you have proven yourself, you’ll find that the market may be able to bear a price increase.
  5. Consider grants as an option also. Large foundations and corporations often have seed money for programs that encourage environmental awareness. This is a time-consuming process, so take into consideration that if a funding source is located, it may be months before the funds are actually received. There is also a considerable amount of paperwork involved, and significant documentation required for grant consideration.
  6. Other income producing ideas could include auctions, special events during the festival such as a dinner, or even events outside the festival intended specifically as financial support events.

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