NPLD Tip: Take Advantage of Community Resources When Planning Your Next Event
September 24, 2019
Lisa Beach

Looking to maximize resources for your National Public Lands Day (NPLD) event? Look no further than your local community! Whether you need volunteers, donors, supplies, publicity, or other resources, tap into the help all around you.

For free or low-cost publicity, local organizations can bolster your event marketing and communications efforts. Linda Hartsfield, volunteer coordinator with Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup (GLAC) in Georgia, tapped her local university to create free event posters and then got a local engineering firm to print them at no charge. Then her GLAC committee members placed the posters in local businesses surrounding the lake, covering a three-county area.

Spread the Word with Posters

Hartsfield gets even more mileage out of the posters by creating PDF versions and emailing them to local marinas, schools, utility companies, Chambers of Commerce, and Visitor Centers. In turn, these organizations include the event details in their customer email newsletters, post details on their social media pages, and/or include them on their websites. This expands the reach of NPLD’s communications efforts at zero cost.

While you might seek out local businesses as corporate donors or event sponsors, don’t overlook them as a vital source of manpower, too.

Getting Local Businesses to Join in Your NPLD Event

Just ask Carrie Richardson, park manager with H.V. Eastman Lake/Buchanan Dam in California. She was surprised to discover that some local business paid their employees to volunteer for their NPLD event. Many companies incorporate “giving back” initiatives into their work culture. Sometimes, they just need to know where to best funnel their employee’s volunteer efforts. Talk with the business owner, CEO, or HR department to learn about how you can best work together as NPLD partners.

Get creative when asking for volunteers. For larger companies, offer “clean-up competitions” that spur departments to compete against each other as they try to amass the largest amount of trash collected. For smaller companies, pitch the idea as an employee team-building experience.

While forging NPLD partnerships sometimes takes a lot of work, other times it’s an easy sell. Hartsfield recalls a time four years ago when the GLAC committee needed a large refrigerator truck to store food and chill beverages for the picnic where they serve about 1,000 volunteers. For several years, the committee purchased ice from a vendor who brought out ice machines.

Hartsfield contacted a local trucking business and spoke to the company president. “I was all set to give the GLAC spiel and the gentleman stopped me and said, ‘I know what the GLAC is and I participated as a Boy Scout. What size trailer do you need, when do you need it, and for how long?’” The company became a partner, delivering a refrigerator trailer two days prior to the event. “This trailer is a tremendous help in food preparation and cooling the sodas and water,” notes Hartsfield.

To make the most of your NPLD event, get creative by partnering with local businesses and organizations.