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Windsurfing People

Paul shares his experience of running an event

Firstly you should have some sort of club. It just makes it a little easier on you in the long run.

If forming a new club I would recommend the following;

Your president/Commodore should be the sales person/manager type. ‘Able to think fast on his feet’. Often during the process of local council and harbour boards contact, they ask you questions that you never thought really mattered but to them they need answers that to us seem trivial. A sales person/manager type personality is used to thinking fast with regards answers to sticky questions.
For instance; If the council ask you “How many members does your club have?” or “how will this event impact the city/town?” Answers to these unexpected questions need to be confident and accurate within reason. They have heaps of different questions that they just spring out of the blue! I was asked the first question “how many members” very early on and officially we had none but I knew that potentially we had 30+ so I said “36”. So now my goal is to get 36 official members! ?

Your secretary/treasurer should be a ‘diligent but not scared to risk’ sort of person. A guy or girl that can estimate how many or what might happen, when an event happens or is coming up. An example would be someone that can gamble but knows when to stop…. If you know what I mean? Someone that can estimate how many tee-shirts you need but not over estimate or ‘geusstimate’.
After those appointments, don’t get too caught up in the politics of positions. The president doesn’t just sit in a chair and direct the peasants! He should get his hands the dirtiest! And the secretary should as well. Lead by example. If the president works hard so will the members!

When the president is tired or overloaded the secretary should take over or at least take of some of his load. We are a group after all. By the same token if a club is struggling the other clubs should respond with assistance of some sort or another. While we have great rivalry between the provinces we all need to realise that we are all working for the greater cause, WINDSURFING or wind sports……
Also an official club can just be a few people, maybe it’s just you at this stage but you have a vision and you run with it. Of coarse it’s going to be harder for a while but surely a person that can do the above on there own will quickly get the support of their peers, believe me, I know!

I faked the whole thing for these Slalom Nationals that just past! It really was just me. While I had the vision and belief that I/my friends and I could do it, I did most of the work! Sure I had the basis of an event in the makings already as we have Rodger who I believe is the best OD in the nation and Ross with his boat but you guys must have someone that you can use like our Rodger and Ross? Now that my friends have seen it work they believe and now they really want to get behind me and the whole ‘organisation’ thing!
So lets get down to the event, what needs to be done?

Firstly open a bank account, then you need funding, ah funding! The seemingly utmost hardest thing to get! But I believe, especially after owning my own business that it’s not that hard to get at all! So how can we make it easier on ourselves?
Why don’t you look at the people that windsurf in your region? Do any of them own or have a responsible position in a sizable business? If so ASK them for money! $2000.00 is a pittance to them they can claim half of it back when they do their taxes! Not only that, it makes them feel good if they are supporting a local event! Yes them, not their business, even though it’s their business that gets the feel good spin offs, it’s them that we want to feel good first. Imagine if you can get there flags sailing and their stickers in all the competitors sails and some embroidery on a sweatshirt or printing on a tee shirt for them! $2000.00 is nothing! Some of those small to medium business’s spend between 40 & a 100k per annum on advertising and sometimes they want to do some out of the ordinary advertising. If it is supporting something that they enjoy they will more readily give!

Lets just say we have a doctor that is into windsurfing. Has the doctor ever advertised? Would it hurt his business if he spent $2000.00 of which a good portion of that could be clamed back in tax? But would it raise his profile in the community?
Now this is where you have to work! You have to prove that you can get the message across to the public, that this local doctors rooms are supporting a local event and that those that see the advertising for the event should use him as opposed to his opposition/competition. If you have 40 windsurfers in your community and only 10 of them used that doctor but another 10 of them changed because of his support for the event, isn’t that doctor going to be better off? He gets your patronage for years to come all because of $2000.00
By now you are probably saying “$2000.00! that’s not enough!” I know that! I haven’t got to the point yet!

$2000.00 cash just gets you the main sponsor then you have to work for them! How much of your time is $2000 worth? Or how much of your event is it worth? Whoever you approach probably has an advertising campaign already in place. You need to find out what that is and piggy back off it! I mean, if they have advertising on the radio already, get them to change some of their ad’s to mention your event and while doing that, talk to the radio station and say that you are a none profit making organisation, (even if you are not an incorporated organisation), and could they please support your event and the main sponsor by ‘topping up the ads’ (a common phrase in radio), which means adding more spots or ads for nothing, They might even come down to the event site and do a ‘live crossover’ at which point the sponsors can be mentioned again.

Then you get whatever else you can get from the sponsor that doesn’t require cash. I.E. flags and banners, newsletters and flyers, all with your event tagged to them. E-mail everyone heaps of times. A few might get sick of them but the rest will feed off your enthusiasm and come to the event and some will jump on board with you and help you organise it.
I believe that only 10 percent of you who started reading this article are by now still reading this. Do you realise that it is you guys/girls that are the ones that can actually achieve the required results! You are the sales people of windsurfing! Help the sport and keep reading.
Ok we have $2000.00 What is that going to get us? Not much really just a happy sponsor if we do our job properly. Now let’s add the entry fee. We just had 36 people pay $100 to enter a national event. The event went off! Everyone had a blast! So guess what? I’m going to charge $120 next year! And do you know why? Cause I know that for $120 my guests will get more for their money for the hours spent, than you could if you went bungee-jumping or parachuting yet the adrenaline rush from this sport when you are competing in an organised event is probably just as high or maybe higher! Sure go bungee-jumping! $100 will get you about 10seconds of fun!

So lets say you charge $30 for a small local event entry fee. $30 x 25 competitors = $750 so now you have $2750.00 …… still not enough? Why do you need more than that? OK lets get into a budget.

$2000.00 Sponsor
$750.00 Entry fees

Petrol for friends boat $100
Donation to volunteers $1000


Now the rules of business would say that that is a handy profit! But were that competitors happy? Will they keep coming back to your event every year? And I know that your sponsor won’t be happy! Are you really there for the profit anyway?
Lets look at a more long term investment for your club;

$2000.00 Sponsor
$750.00 Entry fees
$1000 for 30 tee shirts with
all sponsors logos.

$100 Petrol for friends boat
$400 for Beers, bread, sauce and BBQ gas
$1000 Donation to volunteers


Now the rules of business would say that that’s not such a good profit but I bet your competitors are happier! Plus your sponsor will be even happier. Which means next time they will come back, both the competitor and the sponsor, and remember, you’re a non-profit organisation!

But wait there’s more! That’s just a basic budget for a basic event. The next step is to go to a pub and say ‘on such & such a date we are having an event and we are trying to find the best place to hold our after match function.’ ‘If the 30 competitors came to your pub for the after-match function could you please provide us with 5 free meals that we could give away as spot prizes?’ Rarely will you get a publican that will turn you away! Do the figures! You bring 30+ people and all he has to do is provide 5 free meals! That’s 25 meals that he probably otherwise would not have got! Not to mention the partners that might come along as well.

So now your competitors are getting something for there money! They have a tee shirt that looks like they have been in a well organised and energetic event, a BBQ & beers, perhaps at the registration/start of the event, and they have the chance to get a free meal at the prize giving! Prize -giving? But I have no prizes! Yes you have! You have 5 free meals and a certificate (printed form Word and laminated or maybe framed), But the lamination cost you say! And framing! Well that’s just way to expensive!
Well look at this budget;

$2000.00 Sponsor
$750.00 Entry fees
$1000 for 30 tee shirts with sponsors logo

$100 Petrol for friends boat
$1000 Donation to volunteers
$90 for 3 Picture Frames brought from the warehouse.
$400 Beers, bread, sauce and BBQ gas
Nearly no cost for printing from your computer with your personalized designed certificate.


$160.00 Wow that’s pretty good for a non profit organisation! ?

What if you gave $100 as first prize? That would make it even more exciting wouldn’t it? You don’t have to but just imagine what the persons says to those that didn’t attend! I bet you get 1 out of every 2 people that person talks to attending next time. Oh and next time doesn’t have to be next year! It might only be in a couple of months time.

OK, all this and do you know who I haven’t mentioned yet? Well Actually I haven’t mentioned 2 major sources of a successful event!
What’s the first one? Well who is going to benefit form this event? Your local shop of course! So go to them and lay your cards on the table. Tell them everything! Even show then your budget, then they will know you are serious and if you are serious they know you will pull it off! They will back you if they get something from it! What can you provide them? Have the event near there location and mention them at the skippers meeting & prize giving. That’s direct marketing and that’s hard to buy! Racing more often than not creates opportunities for stores to sell. Breakage and competitive spirit would be the two greatest sellers! I know that at our last event the local shop sold at least 2 boards, not to mention all the little bits and pieces. So ask the store for some small prizes. Promo’ tee shirts either with their logo or their products logo’s on them they should want to give you these as it is just more advertising for them. Maybe a repair kit for someone that dings their board during the event etc etc…

Go around some of the other retail business’s including pubs and restaurants and ask them for assistance. Don’t just e-mail them or ring them it’s too easy to say no over the phone or e-mail. Actually go in and ask them face to face and plead your case as to how they will benefit from there giving to you.
So the above is a run down on doing a small event, larger ones need a little more funding, i.e. trophies, more petrol, event sail stickers, maybe some donations to the local yacht club for assistance/affliation and somewhere to have your briefing, registration or function/BBQ and beers.

So here is my budget for the 2007 Slalom Nationals that have just past;

$2000.00 Sponsor
$3600.00 Entry fees
$1250 Donation to volunteers And YC
$3000.00 Pub Charities
$800 Container rental from entries
$800 Sale of remaining sweatshirts

$500 Petrol and rental for friends boat
$550 Trophies for prize-giving
$1285 38 rash shirts with sponsors logo
$75.00 Printing of 50 sailing Instructions and 50 maps of rigging and parking areas
$800 Containers storage for competitors gear
$1280 16 Event sweatshirts (6 each free to Volunteers)
$247 Beers, Sausages, Bread, sauce & BBQ Gas
$1406 Sail ID stickers with sponsors Logo’s
$2200 Prize Money


It is definitely recommended that you leave some over in your budget as a buffer. I am showing a $607.00cr but that will have to be used for the repairs to my mates boat and a broken lock on our club etc, which were caused during the event. P.S. Make sure you get people that are working in the boat that are careful! ? It’s all good though. Without them the event wouldn’t have been as good as it was!

The above budget is just a guide. If we get the event again next year it will be different because, 1. We will get more in attendance, 2. We will have more sponsorship funds, 3. We will have more tee-shirts rash shirts and sweat shirts 4. Even more prize money and so on and so on. Meaning that as events get bigger and better managed and word gets round, everything gets bigger and better. That’s why I would recommend to WNZ that we have at least four national competitions yearly. 1. Course/RSX nationals in Auckland. 2. Wave/Freestyle nationals in Wellington/Taranaki. 3. Slalom/Speed nationals in Christchurch and 4. Course-Slalom (not separate disciplines but actual course slalom racing).

I hope this helps anyone that was considering organising an event.

Article by Paul Vlietstra – Ideas and opinions in this article are not necessarily those of Windsurfing New Zealand.

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