Make it Happen

“It’s imperative to keep good records; record-keeping is absolutely critical when you’re putting on events. It helps you not only evaluate for the next year, but it helps you track what people have told you and what they’ve promised you. It’s critical to have that information from meeting to meeting. We have operations meetings where we have to get our entire city involved. At any given time we have meetings with 15 or 16 different representatives, whether it’s police, fire, public works, utilities, and so on.

“Depending on who we’re using for the event, we have to have cooperation from everyone, so having good internal public relations is huge.”

Back to the Beginning

North Las Vegas holds 19 free events per year, including an Independence Day event, a fishing derby, a 10-K run, movies in the park, and the year’s biggest, the Taste & Tunes Festival. Genovese reports that about 85 percent of the financing comes from sponsorships. About $300,000 is raised each year for the events.

“It’s been a learning process over the years. We have some good multi-media presentations we’ve put together, which is a collage of our events, complete with music in the background,” explains Genovese.

“It’s a short, four-minute video presentation. We also put together demographic information with charts that explain the different levels of sponsorships available. We try to connect with as many businesses in North Las Vegas as possible, though that doesn’t always happen. Many companies want to be involved in their community, but they don’t know how. We offer a variety of packages that allow companies of all sizes to be involved. It takes a bit of savvy when you’re sponsor-driving to know exactly who your market is, and what the sponsor’s interest might be in that market, so knowing a little bit about the company — the background and history — matters.”

Genovese points out that a lot of corporations have their marketing budgets divvied up for specific market segments. A beverage company, for instance, may have dollars earmarked for the Hispanic market. Knowing that, and knowing that demographics for an event skew Hispanic, the special events department is better able to sell the event to the potential sponsor.

“We go to our city’s economic development department and we ask them to produce those numbers, neighborhood by neighborhood. Then we go to the radio stations and match up their demographics with ours. If they match up, and usually they do, it’s a good fit for the event,” says Genovese.

“I’ve always been a proponent of not forcing an event in an area where the demographic doesn’t warrant it. There have been events that have flopped because that has happened. With the Taste & Tunes Festival we found that a Cinco De Mayo party on Friday night followed by an old-school R&B concert the night after is a huge success based on our large Hispanic and African-American demographics, and it was a slam dunk.”

The events are envisioned as break-even. Some money is allocated from the city’s enterprise fund, but by and large special events are self-supporting; neither profitable nor a loss-leader.

The special events department was able to procure a mobile stage from Stageline and sound equipment for its events from an enterprise fund, and Genovese says extra items such as these can make a big difference, when the funding is available.

“We use the stage for just about all of our events that have live music. The stage is invaluable, it’s very cool, and it makes a great statement at your event,” says Genovese.

Ultimately, says Genovese, “The challenge is to not be monotonous. Give the community new choices and interesting events. You can’t be afraid to have an idea and go for it. If you feel strongly about it, it’s probably going to be successful.”

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