Sure, it’s easy to put together a golf outing or an outdoor festival but how do you keep non-dues revenue up when it’s cold outside and no one wants to go out? It takes a special event to get people excited and out of their homes.
A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group asked:
Our Chamber is looking for indoor event ideas for March (we’re in SD with winters that sometimes feel like they’ll never end). We want to keep business up in town and also raise non-dues revenue. Anyone have any successful cold-weather event ideas you’d be willing to share from your towns?
Finding an event that entices people to participate during the cooler months can be challenging but if you’re serving up something unique you can create quite a revenue stream because the engagement calendar competition is probably at a minimum.
Unique Events for Chambers
The chamber of commerce professionals had many good suggestions. The thing to keep in mind for this sort of event is that it either be fun or useful. Useful events include job fairs and business expos. They run in a similar fashion, and take the same amount of resources, but with different end goals. One brings in people looking for jobs, the other people looking for business.
Fun events can include:
- Skijoring, where a cross-country skier is pulled by a horse, dog, truck, or anything else you can think of with fun – and sometimes comical – results.
- A night at the races. Guests bet on “the ponies” and can pay to have them named. The races are all pre-recorded. There’s a pay-out for the winner. One chamber raised $7,000* with this event.
- Brewfest. The craft brewing scene is taking off across the country. Holding a beer (wine or spirits depending on what’s hot in your community) tasting event is sure to bring out a crowd.
When hosting a winter event, plan something out of the ordinary where the crowd is sure to have a good time or make sure your event is something they truly need. Getting people to attend when weather is unpleasant is difficult but a great way to build community.
*Before implementing any “gambling” event check with your local laws.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image credit: Norma Davey