Event development

Events are key to a vibrant community and we are proud to offer a variety of opportunities to help support the success, development and sustainability of events taking place on city property.

Funding Opportunities

We may be able to support your event! Please see below for opportunities for City support.  You can also visit Grants to learn more about opportunities from other city departments.

City Services Offset Grant

This grant is provided to offset City-related costs of staging annual, festive outdoor public events on City property. City-related service costs can include, but are not limited to, park rental fees, street-sweeping, utility locates, RCMP and bylaw services, traffic support services, and use of City equipment and staff.

The intention of the grant is to recognize the value annual events have in building community and lasting legacies and to act as an incentive for event organizers to grow, enhance and improve their event.

Criteria

  • Be annual or reoccurring in nature
  • Have more than one component (i.e., a race with a musical component)
  • Be held outdoors on City property
  • Incur City related costs greater than $270
  • Be accessible to the general public (with or without gated admission)
  • Take place within Kelowna or must demonstrate that the majority of services for the event and its participants are provided in Kelowna
  • Take place within the calendar year of which the grant is approved
  • Applicant must be an incorporated non-profit society, active for at least one full year prior to application, or a private business and in good standing with the City of Kelowna. Individuals are not eligible to apply. Charitable status is not required

This grant is not intended for the following:

  • Events where participation is based on fundraising pledges
  • Events which have a liquor license capacity (beverage garden) of greater than 500 people (unless the event qualifies for Festival Site Licensing)
  • Initiatives which receive other financial or in-kind support from other City of Kelowna sources in excess of 75 per cent of the City related costs. Events which receive other City funding of less than 75 per cent of City related costs are eligible to receive funds from this grant up to a combined total of 75 per cent of the City related costs.
  • The first time an event is held in Kelowna
  • Events or activities which are politically partisan or primarily focused on commercial activity (tradeshows), education, religion, healthcare, social service or other special interest groups
  • Events occurring outside of Kelowna unless the majority of services for the event and its participants are provided in Kelowna
  • Expenses related to society/association base operating expenses or deficit management
  • Expenses related to damage or loss of City property, garbage removal following the event or any other breeches of permit conditions

Successful applicants will provide a Final Report in the prescribed format to the City of Kelowna within 90 days of completion of the event. The focus of the final report is to determine how well the event met the objectives of the grant and how the City’s support benefits their organization and future event plans. This report provides an opportunity for event assessment and discussion with staff on future plans for improvement. Receipt of the Final Report is a pre-condition for consideration of an applicant’s future grant applications in any funding program offered by the City of Kelowna.

Application Process

Following event date confirmation in November, grant applications will be accepted until March 1 each year. All applications received by this date will be evaluated together and funds distributed accordingly. Applications received after March 1 will be considered if funds are available.

As part of the grant application, the applicant must provide an estimate of city related costs. Events which plan to increase or decrease their scope significantly will need to communicate with the Event Services Team to determine an accurate cost estimate.

The grant awarded will not exceed 75 per cent of the total estimated City costs and may be less than 75 per cent due to fund availability and event’s alignment with grant criteria.

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Strategic Event Fund

The intention of the Strategic Event Fund is to support event development and assist in procurement of new large-scale participant based or spectator events. These can either be reoccurring or one-time events. In addition, it is designed to provide support for rejuvenation or expansion to radically improve an existing annual community event. These events tend to have significant operating budgets and deliver a positive impact on community profile, tourism and the local economy.

Criteria

The event must be one of the following:

  • New to Kelowna within the last three (3) years
  • An existing event which has a significant new aspect to it
  • A project/initiative that will greatly enhance an existing event

In addition, the event must also meet the following requirements:

  • Have more than one component (i.e., a race with a musical component)
  • Be accessible to the general public (with or without gated admission)
  • Take place within Kelowna or must demonstrate that the majority of services for the event and its participants are provided in Kelowna
  • Event organizer must be an incorporated non-profit society, active for at least one full year prior to funding approval, or a private business and in good standing with the City of Kelowna. Individuals are not eligible. Charitable status is not required.

This fund is not intended for the following:

  • Events where participation is based on fundraising pledges
  • Initiatives which receive other financial or in-kind support from other City of Kelowna sources for the same purpose
  • Events or activities which are politically partisan or primarily focused on commercial activity (tradeshows), education, religion, healthcare, social service, and/or seek to attract a special interest audience
  • Expenses related to society/association base operating expenses or deficit management

Event organizers will provide a Final Report to the City of Kelowna within 90 days of completion of the event. The focus of the final report is to determine how well the event met the objectives of the fund. In the case that a one-time event receives funding in the year(s) prior to the event, a progress report is required annually. Receipt of the Final Report is a pre-condition for events to be considered for any future City funding.

Application Process

Event opportunities will be identified through staff, stakeholders, community members, popular culture or otherwise. Events that appear to be a good fit will be researched further. A discovery process will take place involving appropriate staff and community stakeholders such as the Outdoor Events Committee, Tourism Kelowna, Festival’s Kelowna and other event organizers.

Financial support of up to $10,000 can be approved by the Divisional Director, Active Living and Culture; financial support of greater than $10,000 will be forwarded to Council for consideration.

Organizational Development Grant

The Organizational Development Grant aims to provide assistance to non-profit organizations for the purpose of undertaking activities or initiatives that will develop the organization's capacity and sustainability. Funding is used to pay for consulting services or for tuition in reputable programs. Organization Development Grants are a type of project grant, and are available for up to 50% of the total project cost, to a maximum of $5,000.00. Matching contributions may be in cash or in kind. Two or more organizations may partner on an organization development project and undertake joint planning or training.

Due to the nature of the program, applicants will be asked to work directly with City staff to complete a screening tool to determine project eligibility. An application will be provided for projects determined to be eligible.

Organizations considering submission of an application are encouraged to do the following:

  • Review the Organization Development Grant Guidelines
  • Contact City staff for more information
  • Complete the initial screening tool
  • Request an application form from City staff
  • Final Report and Evaluation Form is due 60 days after project completion
Marketing your Event

Spread the word! Check out our suggested marketing strategies for promoting your event before the big day, the day of and post-event.

Social Media

Social media is one of the easiest and fastest ways to reach a large audience.  Some easy options:

Access popular social media channels

  • Examples include: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc.

Use Images

  • A smart and savvy social media campaign can create a real time buzz about your event. Social media is best done with images and video. Share some photos from previous years or share user-generated content on your social accounts

Use a hashtag

  • Decide on an event specific hashtag that will be used in every post; it will be pivotal to your social campaign. They can be used during the event to create conversations, and also post-event to keep the conversation going. General rules for using a hashtag:
    • Keep it as short as possible without compromising clarity. 
    • Use the hashtag in every post and print it on any marketing materials.
    • Add it to your email signature

Coordinate your marketing campaign

  • People remember slogans and catchy logos. Use them throughout your advertising opportunities, both online and off. Create a marketing timeline and use targeted messaging to reach different groups. Consider using a social media management tool, as many are free.

Create a blog

  • Blogging is powerful and can serve several purposes. Focus your blog on the purpose of your event and how it will inform or entertain attendees. Make sure to use the word 'event' in your title tags and in combination with other key words your target audience will be interested in. This will increase your search engine optimization. Search engines are drawn to blogs that are constantly refreshing their content.

Have creative content

  • Your content needs to grab your reader's attention. Create a connection with your audience by mentioning the best place to get coffee nearby, or the best free parking in town.
Online Community Event Calendars

There are many community calendars that provide free promotion of your event!

Corporate Sponsorship & Local Businesses

Corporate sponsorship can be mutually beneficial to your event and your sponsor:

  • Sponsors can advertise your event to a wider audience while also being a positive marketing strategy for their company.
  • Promotional 'swag' such as t-shirts, bags, socks, etc. are one of the best ways to promote your event and corporate sponsors are usually willing to assist in the purchase of promotional materials if their corporate logo will appear on it.
  • There is potential to have your corporate sponsor assist in advertising your event to their contacts, which increases your outreach.

Local businesses like to be involved in community events and are willing to offer assistance:

  • They can make a donation to your event and then deduct the amount they contribute on their tax return.
  • You can also reciprocate marketing tactics and exposure between their place of business and your event.
Budget Saving Ideas

There are a couple of low-budget, simple ideas you can use to promote your event:

  • Consider a Public Service Announcement, they are free and can be shared with a wider audience and with social media channels.
  • Recruit a team of friends and family to help out by walking through neighborhoods and knocking on doors or leaving flyers.