The role of host communities in strong sponsorships

Truth be told not every community in the city where an event planner organizes an event is equally interested in or fond of what he or she is planning.  The very nature of the event, its target audience or even the sponsors supporting it can cause a wide spectrum of reactions inside a city or a region where the event is going to take place.

An event planner is challenged by the ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’ theme and is called to address this issue in the most delicate way possible so as to not only preserve the reputation of the event but also to show his support and respect towards the local communities.

In many cases, local communities may have conflicting interests. Although the positive economic and touristic impact of a big festival may be obvious and desired by some host communities, for some others may just mean noise, crowds and disturbance. In case the sponsor is an infamous one or has a specific identity in the minds of the locals, it can be proved to be disastrous for the event. In case the target audience is perceived as of ambivalent reputation, negative reactions may emerge from the residents of the hosting area.

What an event planner has to keep in mind, is that certain parameters should be taken into consideration before deciding on specific issues and beginning with the organization and the procedures of the event. A thorough research on the local communities of the area or the city which is going to host the event is necessary prior to any plan. Apart from detecting the potential attendants of the event, the event planner has the chance to detect possible sources of trouble in this way. A preparation of the key stakeholders for the upcoming event can result in a warmer welcome by them and in a more positive attitude towards an event that conflicts their interests or is not of their taste.

Getting feedback from the local communities before and after the realization of the event can provide the event planner with fruitful insights regarding what is best to be avoided and what is alright to be kept. There are methodologies to gain these insights and to understand better the community perceptions of the impact of the event at every level. When detailed and specific instances of positive impact is described and even better offered to the local communities, the result is for them to get to appreciate and understand the overall value of an event for the area or the city.

Additionally, although an event can be a perfect opportunity to promote an area, a city or a specific environment, it is important to keep in mind that these may be delicate and there is the need to safeguard them. In this way, the local communities can see and perceive the event as an ally and protector and not as an entity that sets to make profit by exploiting the area.

As for the target audience, there are some potential threats especially if this type of crowd is socially perceived as ill-behaved, bad-tempered or if there is prejudice against it. In this case, the event planner has to be adaptable to every area’s specific mentality and to make sure that the line is not and will not be crossed by the audience. Precaution for protecting the hosting area and the surroundings must be taken. Risk management is important as well.

By ensuring that the best interest of the hosting communities is taken into consideration an event planner can make miracles happen in an area by aspiring the residents, reinforcing local pride and widening the residents’ cultural horizons. Moreover, sponsors tend to support socially accepted and appreciated events more eagerly than ill-perceived or unknown events. 

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