Are you feeling overwhelmed by the time and energy that goes into planning a chamber event but are you still deriving a significant amount of revenue from said event? If you aren’t, it’s an easy call. It might be time to sunset or divest it. But if it’s bringing in good returns but is just a little too much of a drain on your resources, there are other options. It might be time for your chamber to outsource event management.
Keep reading to find out how and when to do it.
Is It Time to Outsource Event Management?
Before you outsource your chamber event management, consider the following:
- Do you have a significant source of revenue in the event? Most event management companies will take a percentage cut of your proceeds, usually somewhere between 10-20%. A small revenue producer may not be worth it after you factor the percentage in.
- Does it take up too much staff time that could be allocated elsewhere? Think about what you pay hourly staff. Then consider what they would be doing if they weren’t working on the event. Would what they could be working on bring in more revenue on an hourly basis than their work with the event?
- Does your staff have expertise in the area? If you have expert event planners on staff, outsourcing may not be much of a time-savings. But if you don’t, those with experience may be able to streamline your operations.
- Do you have a member who could help? This may be an excellent time to enlist a member to help. There may be ways to use them as a volunteer or through an in-kind donation of their services or as a barter for dues.
Chambers Pros Ring in on Outsourcing Event Management
So what experience have other chambers had in this area?
Elizabeth Cleary shared that they work with an event production company on a limited basis for their street festival, which draws 10,000 people. “We work well with an event production company, who is a member and is currently our VP of the Board. They charge a production fee, and work the day of the event… and bring their staff to work the day-long festival. In the build-up we file the permits, get the vendors together, and manage the paperwork. We found it lets us do our job well, and (we) have that extra help for when we need it the most (day of) without losing too much control or hitting the budget hard. It also frees up staff time to do our normal duties. We don’t do an event split, just a flat production fee. And that’s what I’d suggest if you can get them to work with you. So we keep the profits and build the fee into our budget.”
While outsourcing your event management can work well for some chambers, others have been stung. Another pro admits, “We tried it with our annual auction last year and it was a disaster! I don’t think it’s a bad idea. I just think we got a bad company. Do your research and GET REFERENCES.”
Are you ready to outsource event management? Thinking about it? Or have you already used an event management company at your chamber? If so, please share your experiences.
Want to know more about the process? Join the conversation here.