If you’re looking to start a program or event there are many options, you can pursue to make it happen. Outside of choosing a for-profit or non-profit there are several things to think about as you develop.
For starters you’ll want to figure out how you plan to approach your programming. Do you plan to simply rent space as an outside group, or do you plan to partner with some other entity? Too often people think they must invest in infrastructure to move forward. Also, many believe that they must operate out of a specific environment. Both things may hamper your program depending on availably of these things in your area.
In lieu of building your own facility you may be better served seeking out other alternatives. Partnering with an outside entity can bring positives and negatives. The key here is to create a mutually beneficial relationship. That may look different for everyone so it’s important to have that information up front, so everyone knows what is expected.
A local parks and recreation department can be one method that can bring a lot of value. A lot of that depends on what they require, and in some cases what you’re willing to give up in return. Typically, a partnership comes with a sharing of costs to defray expenses. While you may not be charged a rental fee, you’ll in turn give up a percentage of the profits. In other instances, a partnership in this manner may not be as beneficial. It will depend on what you’re after. A partnership can help with scheduling space, additional marketing, brand recognition, participation registration, and payments. One word of caution, or at least something to be aware of, is that you won’t likely get your cut of the profit until after the program has finished, and up to 30 days after.
Another option to consider is simply renting the space. Renting space comes with some benefits. Instead of a percentage split where you share in the profits, you’re on the hook for the rental so you can better track your expenses. In theory you also can make more in profit. However, you have to rely on your own marketing efforts and network to build the program or event. There’s pluses and minuses to each, so it will take some understanding to figure out what works for you.
In the end most people running programs, without a dedicated facility, will use any and everything they can to run their programs. For us, the main route has been creating positive partnerships with local parks and recreation departments. We provide a service; they do a lot of the back-end work. We’re set up to do it ourselves, but the additional marketing and promotion of the event is a huge plus in helping grow our programs.
However, there are times where it has been beneficial to find a space to rent. During the pandemic we’ve spent more of our time working to find available space since most of the space was closed to outside groups. Knowing when and how to use the tools at your disposal will give you a leg up on the competition.