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Every event is a learning experience. In order to learn for the next event it is important to evaluate your event to determine what worked, what did not work and what improvements could be made. 

Your evaluation will be essential to determine whether your event achieved its objectives and met its budget and whether it should be held again. It will also be useful for succession planning, and to inform your report to your management committee or sponsors. 

You should seek feedback by way of a survey or a debrief meeting from your key stakeholders (volunteers, suppliers, participants, sponsors), ask them what went well and what didn’t, what they recommend for the next event and keep a record so that these suggestions can be included in future planning. 

Conducting surveys of your participants, volunteers and sponsors is an excellent way of capturing data that is useful in evaluating your event.

Surveys can be conducted face to face at the event or online through ticketing information provided. 

At a minimum, you should be aiming to answer the following questions through a variety of data capture techniques:

  • How many people attended your event
  • How did they hear about the event
  • Where do they live
  • How long did they stay
  • Did they enjoy the event and would they come again
  • What improvements would they like for future editions of the event 
  • Any data stipulated in any sponsorship contract 

One of the key considerations that may entice organisations to support your bid is the economic contribution the event will make to the community. This is particularly important where organisations seek support from the public sector to help fund the costs of staging the event because it helps to inform investment decisions when bidding to secure major events. 

Potential event bidders must seek advice from the relevant agency to ensure the appropriate methodologies are utilised and the appropriate inputs are used. 

Generally, submissions for significant investment by the NSW Government are required to follow the NSW Government Business Case Guidelines (TPP18-06). Per these guidelines, assessment of the net economic impact of a proposal is done through Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), which measures the expected social, environmental and economic costs and benefits of a proposal. 

The economic impact is the net economic change in a defined area that results from spending attributed to an event. Economic impact serves as an input into CBA, which measures the overall net benefits from additional spending. 

Economic benefits from additional spending, as measured in CBA, are equal to the amount of additional spending on NSW goods and services minus the opportunity cost of providing those goods and services. These benefits are shared between NSW businesses and workers. See the NSW Government Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis for further guidance.

Two key elements of analysing the economic impact are: 

  • Visitor Spend 
  • Operational Spend

Visitor Spend refers to additional expenditure from event‐related visitors such as spectators and attendees within the defined area.  For most events, Visitor Spend forms the major component of economic impact.  

The Operational Spend of staging an event can also generate additional expenditure in the host economy, if the goods and services are sourced from within the local area.  

For a CBA, additional international and interstate expenditure should be used as an input for estimating producer and labour surplus. The CBA may also estimate a consumer surplus for NSW residents who derive enjoyment from attending the event over and above the cost of attending.

Tourism has become an important economic sector so local and state governments have identified expenditure by visitors as a potential source of economic growth. Estimates of the economic impact of your event through tourism are likely to be of interest to a wide variety of interested parties. 

Calculating the Economic Impact

At a base level, the direct economic impact can be calculated by assessing the visitor and operational spending in the economy that is directly attributable to the staging of an event (and would not have occurred otherwise). 

To assist you with making initial estimates of the economic benefits, calculate the visitor spend by identifying how many people will be attending, how long these people will stay, and where they will come from and the operational spend by identifying the spend of the event organisation within the host community.  

There are various methods of calculating economic impact and it is essential that you seek advice from funding partners as to the method appropriate for your event and acceptable for their purposes. 

Economic Evaluation of Special Events: A Practitioner's Guide by Leo Jago and Larry Dwyer provides detailed information on a number of the methods for assessment of the economic impact. 

In addition to economic outcomes, some organisations may be interested in other ‘legacy outcomes’ from the event. Legacy outcomes can be achieved before, during and after the event.  

Legacy outcomes are those intangible and tangible outcomes or structures created through the conduct of a sporting event that remain after the event has finished. Legacy outcomes can also be positive or negative. Some examples of positive event legacy outcomes: 

  • Upskilling staff and officials 
    - Example: An event may undertake training or upskilling of officials / volunteers / staff to be used at the event. These people remain in the community after the event and continue to use their new skills in other activities or at other events. 
  • Increased participation  
    - Example: An event may provide an opportunity for the participants to undertake competition that did not previously exist. This may be a come’n’try component of the event to engage with new comers to the sport or provide an opportunity along the sport pathway that did not previously exist. This may result in these participants entering the sport, remaining engaged in the sport, increasing their involvement or engaging in the pathway to elite level sport. 
  • Infrastructure development and improvement
    - Example: An event may invest in infrastructure development for the hosting of the event. For example a mountain biking championships may undertake trail building or grooming to improve the tracks to be used for the championships resulting in better quality trails for community use following the event. 
  • Improved destination image
    - Example: An event may use broadcast to showcase the host community and its tourism assets to an audience it would not normally reach resulting in increased tourism in the future. 

Events of all sizes provide legacy opportunities. Event organisers should consider their operations in a broad context and engage stakeholders early to ensure that event legacy opportunities can be maximised, particularly if these outcomes are positioned as a reason for investment in the event.

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