Events and Programs
Events are a great tool that can contribute to R3 efforts when set up properly. Professionals may adjust events to make them even more effective for accomplishing R3 goals. While not all events hosted by an organization may be dedicated to creating hunters/anglers/shooters, certain aspects of events may aid in R3 efforts.
Types of Events or Programs
Examples of R3 events and programs may include:
- Give it a Shot Class – a shooting event for those who don’t already hunt, but may learn to shoot using any weapon and learn the basics of the shooting discipline.
- School learn-to-shoot or fish programs (National Archery in the Schools Program, Scholastic Clay Target Program, etc.).
- Learn to fish programs – family-focused events where the entire family develops skills to fish.
- Learn to hunt programs – half-day to multi-day workshops designed to teach individuals skills to learn to hunt.
- Game or fish cooking demonstrations.
- Large events, expo, or trade shows where individuals may first learn about outdoor activities.
- Hands-on programs targeted to teach collegiate audiences to learn to hunt, fish, and/or target shoot.
R3 best practices for events may include:
- Establishing goals and objectives when designing the event and including evaluation of goals to measure accomplishments.
- Including registration through a system that assigns a trackable customer number to relate to license sales.
- Making interactive displays for events to collect customer information.
- Hosting events at state parks or other public and diverse places to engage larger audiences.
- Collecting email addresses and phone numbers for all who attend.
- Building pathways for shooting sports programs to continue target shooting or hunting.
- Surveying attendees to gather event feedback.
- Leveraging resources to benefit R3 efforts, for example using giveaways (trinkets, doodads, pencils, stickers, keychains) to incentivize optional registration.
- Following up with participants after the event and communicating to keep people engaged. Even if it is sharing partner events, you are still keeping them participating!
- Promoting social support for new participants by making them family-friendly and inclusive of mentors so people aren’t alone in their learning pursuits.
- Ensuring the target audience shows up for specific programs by marketing to people who are likely to want to participate and don’t currently participate.
Branding efforts help to ensure participants know whom to connect with after the events or programs. A simple question to answer: “When you have these events, do you look like your agency?” Branding is important because not only does it make a memorable impression on consumers, but it allows the public to know what to expect from your agency. There are many elements leveraged to convey your brand including logo, customer service, promotional merchandise, reputation, social media, uniforms, signage, and more. Consider your brand as the DNA of the organization and as such, it should be woven consistently into everything the organization. Best practices around branding include:
- Having branding guidelines and keeping logos simplistic (not every program needs a separate logo from the agency as this creates confusion of the brand identity among customers and the public.)
- Wearing uniforms/wardrobe that identifies your organization.
- Having an elevator speech about your organization so that you can tell someone about the mission statement in a short, understandable, and relatable way.
- Making sure all communications to customers are branded with email signatures and mass communication efforts, such as social media, website, signage, printed materials, and even in the manner in which your organization answers a phone, convey the branding you wish for your organization.
- Using imagery that doesn’t offend potential customers (no blood in photos, or using too many grip and grins).
Organizations need tools to follow up and leverage information collected from customers or potential customers. Organizations must have established communication practices to follow up after events and have opt-in content for people to subscribe to. These communication tools should highlight hunting/fishing/shooting participation and how people can get involved in these activities.
Ideal Formats for follow up communication include:
- Email, text, etc.,
- Social media,
- Magazines/organization-owned media,
- Calendar of messaging (see appendix for examples).
Best practices for these channels include:
- Putting buttons/links/websites in every communication you send out for people to purchase a license or at least include information about how to get a license.
- Having a plan (media or outreach plan for a year) to share hunting, angling, outreach, shooting sports, and other information with customers.
- Identifying which target audience you want to reach and the right channels selected to do so.
It is important to recruit new audiences from places that are not likely to include current hunters/anglers/shooters and of whom would not have organically gotten involved (through traditional methods), and finally, who likely would be interested in learning to become hunters/anglers/shooters. It is best to identify target audiences from current research to find the correct channels to communicate with them, and it is easy to use current data sources to identify which audience segments make up the biggest volume and/or fastest growth segment for your organization.
Recommended Locations might inlcude:
- Schools, colleges, and universities.
- USA Archery Clubs, USA Shooting Clubs, Scouts, 4-H clubs, or other outdoor-focused groups.
- Local Park and Recreation Departments.
- Shooting ranges or shooting programs.
- Farmer’s markets or local-food-focused markets to find food-motivated people.
- State parks.
- Other outdoor recreation events might include mountain bikers, hikers, and other outdoor recreationists.