Garlic Festival & Borderfest: Making People Matter

Fabulous speaker, Garlic Festival Guy, Ed StruzikEd Struzik, an IBM guy by day and a Gilroy Garlic Festival 2008 President, is an awesome speaker. He mingled with the audience, encouraged questions throughout his presentation, and virtually demanded we interact with him. The festival is -16- 30 years old, far outlasting the typical festival life cycle of 3-5 years, as told to us earlier today by Dan McConnell. One of the key ingredients, one that was not in place in the beginning, is the combination of support for and accountability by the volunteers and the sponsors.

Imagine, a waiting list to volunteer at the festival. In my world, that is nearly unheard of! Imagine, being a primary fundraising event for nonprofit organizations, and turning away a $25,000 sponsorship from Gillette.

Yet those very restrictions are part of what guide the event. It comes from valuing several components:
* The time and energy of the volunteers
* The time and energy of the volunteer organizers
* The money and attention of the sponsors
* The time and attention of the attendees

Volunteer Secrets
managing volunteers gridEd presented this quadrant of attributes that helps them manage their volunteers by matching them with the best fitting tasks and by weeding out those who really aren’t up to the task, this year.

Typical Sponsorship
Last year, Calphalon paid $15,000 to provide the pans for two cooking demo’s and branded shopping bags at the merchandise booth. Calphalon also included a 10% coupon to the nearby kitchen outlet store, Result: They saw a four-fold increase in foot traffic and sales “went through the roof.”

UPDATE: Ed has shared his presentation and tells me that all speaker slides will be available from HTA here after the seminar series has ended.
Download the Gilroy Garlic Festival Power Point slides. (PPT; 912 KB) Mahalo nui, Ed.

Borderfest award-winning festival
Joe Vera, CEO of Borderfest, says his event does not pay for any city services; instead they have built a strong partnership with the local community. They have over 1000 volunteers, many who come back year after year. “We give them ownership.”
* They feature a different country every year. WOrk in advance with the local schools to develop a curriculum so the kids learn in advance, then experience it in person, and, telling their parents and aunties and uncles too.
* Volunteers go to training twice a year. “We want the volunteers to hear the same things we are hearing as we plan the event.”
* Signage is very controlled and specific, so we keep the experience for the attendees in sync with the brand.
* Got to be creative and do things differently. “I’m always traveling with a camera to take pictures of ideas that we can implement.”
* Give back to the community: $5.2 million impact on the community this year.

Joe’s made his presentation available on line here. Awesome Joe! Mahalo.