This document is for Surfrider Foundation Branches only and remains the Intellectual Property of Surfrider Foundation Sunshine Coast & Climate Wave Enterprises and was compiled by Chris Glennie, Craig Macintyre & Greg Howell
The Surfrider Foundation Eco Challenge is a community event showcasing sustainable culture, leisure and business.
This event generates a unique opportunity to communicate to the general community, on a large scale, the principles of sustainability, and how they are transformed into actions of normal daily life. Ultimately it is to raise money and awareness about Surfrider Foundation’s local efforts and highlighting local coastal issues such as beach clean ups, water quality, marine debris, coastal erosion issues & sustainable solutions, dune restoration, environmental awareness campaigns & education programs including Surfrider’s major campaigns ‘RISE ABOVE PLASTICS” and ‘ENDANGERED WAVES”.
Components of the Eco Challenge may include a surfing event on wooden boards with demos and shaping displays, skating, live music, massive kites on the beach, interactive art & environmental workshops and presentations by guest speakers, allied Not for profit organisations and an eco-village market stalls. The whole day can promote local, innovative & sustainable products as an alternative to common consumer goods.
It should be stressed though, that nothing is Gospel. Your Eco Challenge is unique, to your specific location and venue, and format. The information in this document may be used as a guideline and as a reference for each Surfrider Branch to build their own event.
Sustainability is the key message; whatever you can stick under that banner is Great!!
You don’t have to do everything at once. You may start out small or large but keep the baseline focus, of sustainability, and continue challenging yourselves and community to become Eco Conscious.
It’s all about enjoying what we have at our doorstep, and having fun with it, so that the whole family can be a part of it and hopefully take something inspirational away with them.
MOMENT OF TRUTH
FEEDBACK & ASSESSMENT
1. MOMENT OF TRUTH
The Eco Challenge is anything you want it to be, but you must be realistic. It will primarily be run by volunteers, and funded by sponsors, In-kind donations & grants.
So: Do you actually have the resources, finances, time, and humans, to go ahead with this? There is a lot to consider in this decision making process. We have outlined the various components of the Eco Challenge of 2014 on the Gold & Sunshine Coasts.
A dedicated team is paramount to this and any event’s success. An overall manager is ideal and responsible for delegation of tasks and operations management of the event. The organising committee shall include a manager for each component, responsible for overseeing and following up action plans and deadlines outlined in the meetings. Be realistic of your own and others capabilities, so your event won’t fall on its arse.
Instil in your team that this is a fundraising event, every dollar is valuable and you represent a non-profit community environment group. So firstly ask for everything for FREE, in-kind donation for sponsorship, if that’s not possible then work up from there. REALLY work that aspect its amazing what you can achieve and save dollars better spent on your projects.
Whatever time of year your event takes place you need a PLAN B, so with our increasingly unpredictable weather it won’t affect the day too badly. If you hold the event at a surf club make sure it’s ok with the venue in the case of a cyclone that you can move inside.
3. COMMUNICATIONS / MEETINGS / IMPLEMENTATION
THE MOST IMPORTANT part of the whole process is open communication. A coordinated approach to communication is paramount. A particular project management & communication system eg. Google Calendar, Facebook group or just email must be agreed upon, keeping details simple with relevant info and attachments.
Regularly chaired meetings with an agenda, outcome, minutes taken and distribution are critical in the event’s success. Time lines and/or Gantt Charts are also exceptional tools for both the managing team and the crew. If face to face meetings are difficult try Skype or Google Hangouts.
Important notes for any committee:
- Clarify if you are unsure of what your role or job is, this saves unnecessary doubling up, or something being not done at all!! There will always be different points of view on any given topic. Leave Ego’s at the door, and approach the topics with an open mind, and be prepared to accept that someone may have a better way, or approach to your plans. A smile and nod, is awesome, then the whole team moves forward!
A show of hands is good, failing that, a secret ballot, if a decision can’t be made on a particular topic.
- Get in contact with the wooden surfboard community to gain their support and interest.
- Decide the direction of the event, whether it’s a competition/teams challenge or an expression session and how it is structured and run eg. scoring sheets, crowd stoke etc
- Look at sponsorship with wooden surfboard shapers and sustainable surfing industry business for monetary contribution and /or boards and products.
- Contact Surfing Australia local branch, boardriders club & surf school for involvement, assistance and insurance.
- Get in contact with the skating community to gain their support and interest.
- Decide the direction of the event, whether it’s a competition or an expression session and how it is structured and run eg. scoring sheets, crowd stoke etc
- Look at sponsorship with skating shops for monetary contribution and /or boards and products.
- Make sure that if a skate company is running this side of things, that they do have their own insurance. Don’t be too shy, to ask them to email, or show you a copy.
- Get in contact with the local or regional Kite Society / community to gain their support and interest. Kites on the beach are a big spectacle! And crowd puller!!
- Look at sponsorship with local interest.
- Make sure that the local environmental impacts of this are minimal, and that there will be no electrical hazards.
YOGA ON THE BEACH
Great way to start the day is a free class first thing in the morning, prior to the Surfing Event. Contact your local council for connections with yoga instructors.
Live bands are a drawcard for people to attend the event. It is advised that if your branch members or their friends don’t have any experience in the music industry, that you book a Stage Manager for either donated time or an agreed fee (hopefully discounted, which shall be part of the grant application costing). The stage manager should be able to organise sound, lighting and a stage if there is not one inside a venue.
Book the bands early (eg. 6 months prior to the event) with specific details including set list/times, requests and requirements and most importantly money. It’s ideal to source local acts both well known, and up and coming. Bands will agree to a discounted performance fee for Surfrider Foundation to help raise funds and keep overheads down.
Ask for quotes and invoices from the bands as you will need these when you justify the grant, if you are working with Grant money, and any Auditors will be happy that your books are in order.
Children will always be children, so fun ideas from the “olden days” will still be fun today!
Egg and spoon races, (make sure they are boiled!!) Sack Races, Tug-o-War, pin the paper bag on the Mummy!, modified from the tail on the donkey!, and if some of the volunteer like clowning around, all the better!! Face painting, (definitely no balloons,) mask making, from cardboard and elastic is good fun too! Frisbees which are plastic, and hula hoop comps are fun too, if you can get bamboo ones!! Skipping with big long ropes is always fun as well. The more in, the merrier!! Remember, if the kids are happy, so is everybody!! There are businesses that will provide this service, ask your local council events department for connections.
The Eco Village consists of market stalls of local business and like-minded non-profit groups with a sustainable product, services or message. To keep in line with Surfrider’s “Rise Above Plastics”, campaign, vendors shall not include any plastics within their stall. All food vendors were directed to purchase plates, cutlery, and cups from a preferred supplier of alternative to plastic products.
Ask all stall holders to produce a copy of their public liability insurance & temporary food licence certificates prior to the event and either keep a copy or take a photo for your records.
Invite guest speakers to promote your own projects or projects from other groups that you support. To manage this component you will need to:
- Contact potential speakers well in advance and be clear of their subject
- Try and utilise up to date audio & visual components e.g. Sunny Bins solar powered sound system/PA in a wheelie bin
- The venue is an important factor, take into consideration especially in an outdoor setting that you want the best crowd, the speaker needs to heard and seen
- An experienced speaker might also double as your MC
Greenhouse gas emissions/carbon footprint can be “Carbon Offset”, by investing in a renewable energy project(s) and/or Bio Sequestration. A combination of both can be beneficial.
If this is to be done right you will need to calculate the power & travel of all involved including management, visitors, and sponsors/participants of the event. A data collection sheet should be drawn up and from day one ask the staff to keep a record of their travel. It is a good idea to organise a survey and during the event ask as many of your attendees a range of questions determined by your particular needs and include post codes for distance travelled and then some estimations will be needed.
You will need to collect money somehow to pay a professional carbon offset company to invest in renewable energy projects. There are several ways this can be accomplished by adding to the ticket price (don’t make it optional) a gold coin donation at the entrance or by roving collections from your attendees. To make this as much fun as possible combine the survey, carbon offset collection & social media team, dress them up as fairies or something that will stand out, extraverts are recommended for this role.
Carbon offsetting can be used as a marketing/education tool so this component needs to be well promoted. All staff should be well versed and signage stating all aspects of the carbon offset project is advised.
BEST OPTION – is by using Climate Wave Enterprises solar legacy project. E.g. https://www.climatewave.com/green-events/eco-challenge-update/ Contact CWE for further details.
Bio Sequestration can be used but not recommended as a viable offset but partnering with a local horticultural business specialising in Australian Natives attendees can purchase trees & plants.
Surfrider’s public liability certificate can be found in the Branch secure area of www.surfrider.org.au as a copy of this will have to be submitted with your application to Council, or other Venue. Check with your local council about Public liability cover eg. $10Mil or $20Mil. Some council’s require a higher liability cover in which case this can be upgraded to suit. Contact National office for more info. Stall owners, Sponsors, and other participants, will need their own insurances. Don’t be lax in this, if the s*&# hits the fan you will be liable unless you have done everything within your role.
**To cover other activities such as water activities, a disclaimer can be used eg. Sunshine Coast branch held a wooden surfboard event, run in conjunction with Coolum Surf School. Prior to anyone paddling out they would register and sign a surf school disclaimer.
5. VENUE SELECTION
Ultimately the venue is dependent upon your specific event and location. It’s recommended using a licenced venue with existing infrastructure or any other non-profit (NFP) organisation. This gives the opportunity for the NFP to apply for Solar Panel funding which may be used as an enticement to host the event with Climate Wave Enterprises solar legacy project.
The Eco Challenge has been run in the past, in Council parks, etc. For this option, it is best advised to seek the local council requirements with regards to applications and permits.
Other things to consider for this option are:
Public toilets: Who will maintain them during, and after the event? Council, or you?
Council does inspect the facilities after an event on their land, so to ensure that you are welcomed back, being spotless is essential. Will the paper provided, be adequate, and who and when will do a paper, soap etc, top up? If the venue & park area around the club doesn’t have adequate numbers of toilets and you need to supply them try and source compostable or chemical free/waterless toilets.
Power: Renewable or alternative energy to be used where ever possible. Contact CWE for suggestions such as Biodiesel generators, solar or wind. Be aware that electricity levels are lost over distance, so long cables are to be avoided, and position that which needs electricity, close to the power, so that for example, the music will not stop etc!!) Cover all leads with carpet or similar to avoid trip hazard, and use overhead where possible. All leads should be tag tested with current tag on.
Waste management: Contact your local council events or waste department and discuss what options are available. If your council don’t have a composting bin available speak with a local community gardening group. Ideally the less waste to landfill is the objective. Order the rubbish bins and recycle bins early on in the planning process. You will have to get an Invoice/quote, and include this in your grant disbursement, and allow for it in the planning budget. Ask for a discounted non-profit rate. You will also have to enter this info into the Council Permit Application.
Waste Signage: Make it big & bold…LANDFILL, RECYCLE & COMPOST these 3 bin waste stations need to be colourful and stand out. That’s why we combine the Plastic Bag Monsters as bin monitors to attract attention to the waste stations.
Zero Waste: Always aim for zero waste and if you’re meticulous you will get closer to your aim each time…remember you don’t have to do everything at once, just a bit better each time. There are companies that will provide a holistic waste service such as “Waste to Resource” http://wastetoresource.com.au/
Street Theatre: Is a vital component of waste management. Waste needs jazzing up and to be in your face. So incorporate the Rise Above Plastics campaign by having all bin monitors dressed as Plastic Bag Monsters, make sure they are extraverts and well versed on their roles and plastic statistics.
Public Parking: Ensure that there is always access from car park to site, for emergency vehicle access, and 1.5m between stall rows in the market. For a large event, you may need to liaise with local Police, who can ascertain if you need traffic control personnel. State Emergency Services can be approached to provide traffic services for free or donation.
Transport: If the event is large enough, the local council may even run an extra bus service. Advertise that a bus service goes directly to the venue. Also arrange for a secure bike rack area be available for alternative transport. This area can be supervised and some local governments will provide giveaways of cycle maps etc. This area should be in high traffic area and well signed and all volunteers need to direct all bicycle riders to use the facilities. Add location & all details to website.
Security: Is the responsibility of all volunteers to be aware of Occupational Health & Safety issues and must report any instance directly to management. Where money is being handled try to have 2 people responsible at all times. If there is a need for professional security make sure they are aware of your particular requirements regarding etiquette and levels of force. A happy smiling security guard is always preferable. All areas where valuables are kept need to have some level of security. Equipment such as generators etc. need to be fenced off or secured in some manner.
First Aid: Ideally two people with current first aid certification need to be available. If at a venue your staff should make themselves known and follow recognised guidelines. Professionals can be employed for a large event, an ambulance with a bearer, may be advisable or a voluntary organisation may be available such as St.Johns.
Water: Hydration Stations are available from some local government water providers free of charge. These are relocatable, water source, which allows people to refill their own water bottles, for free or gold coin donation. It hooks up to mains, and you nominate how long you will need it for etc. It needs a low point, for a gravity one way valve hose outlet. Book many months in advance, as they are very popular.
Structures: Ascertain the layout of the day, have a site map, and decide how many Marquees you will need, how many chairs and tables for each, and extras for a green room, merchandise tent, info booth and designate one of these for lost kids and parents. Connecting with other organisations like Scouts, Girl Guides, the local footy club etc and borrow their equipment can be of huge benefit, you can offer them an in-kind free stall.
Alcohol: This area of the event can be the biggest boon and money spinner or the biggest pain in the arse you’ve ever encountered. It is recommended that an existing venue with a liquor licence be utilised and you request $1 from every drink sold…win win.
There are grants available from various sources like local councils, gambling funds, crowd funding and many others. Contact national office for suggestions. Also contact your local councillor and let them know what you are trying to do. This type of event will make the councillor/council look good so ask for their full assistance.
There are also grants database websites eg. www.fundingcentre.com.au that email you when an applicable grant comes up.
Grants are not always dependable with timeframes, acceptance and requested amount of funds. Therefore it’s recommended to chase sponsorship. If you are fortunate enough to be the recipient of a grant, there are conditions that must be followed, and all monies spent must be accounted for and justify the grant expenditure. Constantly remind everyone for dockets, invoices etc and keep records that can be easily qualified.
7. APPLICATIONS / PERMITS
It is best to seek advice from the events department of your local council with regards to applications and permits as they are area specific. Prior to applying for the event and proposing your dates search for conflicting events and if they will be beneficial or detrimental to your event. This can be done on council’s website, also check entertainment hubs.
APRA will need a permit provided by them, if you are going to have live bands doing cover songs etc. Fees apply.
Branch committee members will be your core staff, but may also include volunteers, who may even be experienced, sourced through your Facebook page, Volunteering agencies, SEEK & Gumtree. You can NEVER have too many volunteers. Staff the event well in advance and be very specific particular in the job description.
Match the person to the job well, and you will have very few complaints! Remember to keep smiling, give lots of praise, as sometimes this is the only reward a volunteer may receive. Look after your volunteers, make sure they have meal breaks, go to the loo, etc Volunteers have lives outside of Surfrider Foundation, and that will always take priority. Always keep a happy persona around volunteers, even when you are not! Then all will flow well!
There is a fair amount of attrition as well. About 60%, so if you have for example, 10 people who say they will attend, most likely, 4 of them will turn up. The ones that do are valuable, respect and treat them so.
Confirm details regularly at meetings. Refer to 3 Communications / Meetings.
No event is a success without a good media presence and the tools used have changed in recent years. Social media rules but newspaper articles, street press, television news promotion, radio interviews, a website, emails / monthly newsletters and signage & info at Surfrider stalls and events leading up to the event form a holistic approach. Promotion has to start at least 6 months earlier to gain enough interest, 12 months if considering large and attractive components and social media pages or a website. Printing costs a lot of money, so avoid if possible but if needed include costs in any Grant application.
In some cases it may be beneficial to team up with another event. Eg. On the Sunshine Coast the branch teamed up with the Golden Days Music Festival and was the environmental component of the event. They shared in the promotion worth 10’s of thousands of dollars and created a weekend festival rather than just one day.
Invite all levels of politicians, celebrities etc. to actively participate in some way, like cutting a ribbon to open the event and they will be bring media with them.
Community engagement; It’s recommend that you engage with your local community, eg, Surfing Australia and affiliates, boardriders clubs, surf clubs, Chamber of Commerce and local council, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, four wheel drive, fishing, footy clubs and other environmental groups etc. Connecting with the wider community will gain you a bigger crowd, dissemination of work load, wider advertising avenue and greater social media reach.
Make sure you have all the vital messages you want your attendees to hear and take home with them written down and given to the MC days beforehand so they can be well scripted into short grabs during the day. You may have a few thousand people’s attention so be clear what your messages are and keep them short and concise.
Mention: in short grabs not all at once
- What you are doing there in the first place, promoting and fundraising for Surfrider campaigns, where the merchandise/Surfrider tent is
- All housekeeping, where the toilets are etc.
- The days program & what’s coming up
- Waste, talk about your 3 bin system and for attendees to be mindful to put there waste in the right bin
- Your carbon offsetting program
The merchandise tent is an important place to get your message across and raise funds by selling
t-shirts, water bottles, stickers, printed shoulder bags etc. so make sure you are stocked up with all merchandise. This tent should be staffed by 3 or 4 volunteers who are all well versed with all aspects of the event program and Surfrider campaigns. The Bands will appreciate availing their music CD’s for sale and all sales be well documented.
A raffle should be run on the day with a major prize that is easy to sell and have one or two volunteers responsible for monitoring the raffle tickets, butts, and money. Record the raffle ticket booklet colours, numbers and quantities sold. Record the winner’s names and phone numbers, if they are not present for the draw.
Sponsorship may be sourced through local business that have a direct interest in the components and are involved in the day. The size and what’s happening at the event will influence the amount of interest the sponsors will have and their generosity. Gaining a major sponsor can be vital to the financial success and promotion of the event.
The most important aspect of sponsorship is the type of sponsorship. Don’t sell out! The sponsor should have similar principles to Surfrider and the sustainability of the event.
Approach shops, cafes and businesses in the direct vicinity as a courtesy firstly and tell them about the event then ask for contributions, also invite them to participate by holding a stall. A sponsor wants to know that the dollar they give you will reap them $2 so you need to show them that your advertising reach will spread the sponsors logo/message etc. to their market.
Add such info to all sponsor invitations:
e.g. “This event will be repeated annually and next year on the Gold Coast and eventually at least 10 other locations around Australia with Surfrider Foundation Branches
The Eco Challenge will become a national annual event at multiple locations with the aim of connecting into a sustainable showcase in the rising alternative surfing calendar.
Also the benefits of sponsorship is our advertising reach through our social media strategy and campaign which will begin early in September going out with our media partners Coastalwatch.com who on average have 470,000 unique visitors and 5 million page impressions per month and a database of over 70,000 members. And also with Surfrider Foundation social media reach of over 500,000 both within Australia and worldwide and on average 5000 unique visitors per month (in the last six months) from 110 different countries.”
All sponsorship is strongly advised to be approached up to 12 months prior to the event to allow the company to budget the event into their annual costings.
12. FEEDBACK / ASSESSMENT
Well, when the crowds have gone home, and the party is over, was it worth it?
Depending on the level of sustainability you’re looking to obtain will depend on the information you will be required to collect. The International Standard ISO 20121is the ultimate goal and should be the aim but in the meantime every little bit counts. Sustainable events can be registered for awards such as A Greener Festival but to apply you must show accountability of your data. This can be achieved by registering with Sustainable Events Solutions online tool kit which you can use SEMS to plan, monitor, measure, check, act and report upon the sustainability performance of your organisation and events. You can also be audited and gain conformity to ISO 20121: Event Sustainability Management Systems Standard using SEMS.
Feedback forms can be made available on your website, offering an incentive of prizes or giveaways to participants will increase the amount of data you receive. Advertise to your stallholders and on the day, go around and introduce yourself, and ask how they are going, and if there is any way that EC can improve the course of the day’s events, and proceedings for them.
Visit any shops nearby that may have benefited from your event, and remind them that their sales may be due to the EC event, and remind them again next time, when you are looking for donations and sponsorships. Be conscious that some businesses might be negatively impacted by the event so show remorse and take into account changes to alleviate any issues.
Thank every single person that had anything to do with the event and ask them for feedback and anything else pertinent to the EC event.
We welcome input/advice/suggestions to improve this document 🙂
13. CREDITS /REFERENCE
This document written by:
Christine Glennie, Secretary, Surfrider Foundation Sunshine Coast Branch
Craig Macintyre, President, Surfrider Foundation Sunshine Coast Branch
Greg Howell, sustainable event manager, Climate Wave Enterprises
Climate Wave Enterprises – eco-logical event solutions
Eco Challenge Sunshine Coast
Eco Challenge Gold Coast
Waste to Resource
Sustainable Event Solutions
Sustainable Event Alliance
A Greener Festival
NSW Department of Environment Climate Change & Water
Sustainable Living Foundation
The Sustainable Living Foundation (SLF) is a community based not-for-profit organisation committed to creating major platforms to help accelerate the uptake of sustainable living.
The Green Capital Program
Green Capital is an independent Australian non-government organisation that has done some great work on business sustainability. They have a range of useful resources on areas such as greenwash and environmental communications, carbon offsetting, green power and many other areas.
The Environmental Handbook
This is a great Norwegian Guide to more sustainable events and festivals.