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Special Event Programs


2015 Special Event Partnership Funding

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Application submission is closed for 2015 calendar year funding.  Please check back in summer 2015 for information about 2016 Partnership Funding.


The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) facilitates a Special Event Partnership Funding program for annual special events.  Submissions are accepted once a year (in the Fall) for events that take place in the subsequent calendar year.  Events occurring in 2015 may now submit an application for consideration and there is $250,000 available in Partnership Funding.
The deadline for submitting an application and supplemental documents for events occurring in 2015 is 2:00pm (PST), Thursday, November 6, 2014.  If your event is interested in submitting an application for consideration, please review the following details about the program. Submission of an application does not guarantee that Partnership Funding will be awarded.   

Eligibility Guidelines, Program Goals: 
Relating to the Partnership Funding program, special events are defined as:
An organized annual event that generates overnight visitors for two or more Washoe County lodging properties, as well as out-of-area marketing exposure, and is of interest to the general public. Historically these events have included, but are not limited to: festivals, fairs, community events and certain sporting events. Qualified events must reinforce the RSCVA’s branding message, provide the RSCVA with a sustainable and appealing destination message, and attract overnight visitors.

The RSCVA is funded by room taxes generated from paid lodging utilized in Washoe County.  Partnership Funding is targeted for events that occur in Washoe County and have a history of (or the potential for) attracting overnight visitors to Washoe County.  It is intended to provide special events the opportunity to augment their marketing efforts, ideally to potential out-of-market visitors (spectators) to increase overnight lodging.  Awards are not meant to offset the operational costs of event production. 
If an event occurs outside of Washoe County, it may be considered by the Advisory Panel in one or more of the following circumstances:
  • Event is in close proximity to Washoe County and occurs in a location without significant lodging.
  • Event is promoted as being held in a municipality of Washoe County (Reno, Sparks, Incline Village, Crystal Bay)
  • Washoe County is promoted as the primary bed base and receives substantial room nights.
The RSCVA’s supports Special Events because events can:
  • Generate new incremental room nights at desirable rates for Washoe County lodging properties.
  • Create positive awareness and motivate travelers to visit the destination through out-of-market advertising or social media.
  • Increase repeat visitation; visitors who come to the destination for an event and have an enjoyable experience are more likely to return in the future.
  • Assist with the RSCVA's destination branding communications for Reno Tahoe USA.
The RSCVA reserves the right to determine if a special event qualifies to apply for Partnership Funding.  If an event is uncertain whether they would be considered, please consult with the Special Events & Marketing Manager prior to submitting an application.  The following guidelines may also assist in determining qualification:
  • The event actively promotes to out-of-market, overnight visitors (spectators) and is not primarily an activity for local residents.
  • The event generates overnight visitors for Washoe County lodging entities.
  • The event is fundamentally not a conference, meeting, trade show or expo.
  • The RSCVA will not be the sole/primary revenue source for the event.  The event will take place regardless of receipt of RSCVA Partnership Funding.
  • The event's Partnership Funding request does not exceed 25% of the overall event budget; awarded funds will be used for advertising, marketing and event promotion.
  • The event is/will occur annually in the destination.  The event does not intend to take place one-time only.  The event does not have a term limit regarding the number of years that it can/or will be held in the destination.
  • The event is open to the general public (spectators), promotes attendance to spectators, and does not require the general public spectators) to purchase a membership, conference registration or annual dues to spectate. Spectator ticket charges are acceptable for gated events.
  • The event capacity is not limited to a small number of people. It is able to accommodate hundreds (or thousands) of spectators. 
  • The event will secure partnerships with at least TWO Washoe County lodging properties as the event must benefit more than a single lodging entity.  Partnerships can be in the form of: cash/in-kind sponsorship, room block, special room rate for event, venue location or marketing/promotional assistance. 

    Submitting an Application:
    BEFORE preparing your funding application, read the document entitled “Explanations and Instructions” below.  It provides constructive information to successfully complete your application, guidance for opening and editing the application, definitions pertaining to Partnership Funding, clarification on application questions/sections, and reviews the required supplemental documents.  
    Explanations & Instructionsapplication docxapplication .doc
    A streamlined submission process has been implemented for 2015 Partnership Funding that features a writable Word file format. The new application combines the previous online application and required supporting presentation packet into a single submission. 
    To offer compatibility with various Microsoft Word platforms, there are two application formats available to choose from. Both have identical questions and require the same supplemental documents. An application compatible with Apple Pages is not available.  
    1.   (.docx) file format:    for applicants utilizing Microsoft Word, 2007-2013
    2.   (.doc) file format:      for applicants utilizing Microsoft Word, 1997-2003
    The Word (.docx) and Word (.doc) applications provide the flexibility to save, print and make revisions to a submission, which was not possible with the previous online application. There should be ample space to insert most responses, although some attachments are still required. Hand-written applications will not be accepted. All questions must be answered, unless otherwise instructed on the application.
    After clicking on the application format of your choice (.docx or .doc), you will be prompted to download the application to your computer.  From there, follow the instructions provided in the "Application Explanation and Instructions" .pdf file above.
    Application Deadline:
    The completed application and required supporting documents must be submitted by the final deadline in order to be considered by the Partnership Funding Advisory Panel.  If an applicant’s event occurs close to, or after the application deadline, information from 2013 can be used in lieu of 2014 information, when appropriate. 
    Early Submission (optional):
    5:00pm (PST) on Monday, October 6, 2014  
    If you would like RSCVA staff to assess your submission and provide feedback, your application and supplemental documents must be received by Monday, October 6, 2014 (5:00pm PST).  Staff will then review your documents and provide guidance about missing or incomplete sections.  Events can then modify and resubmit their final application by the final deadline of November 6. Review and feedback by RSCVA staff does not guarantee that an event will receive Partnership Funding. This is a trial submission, of sorts, that could be helpful to first-time applicants. Events are not required to participate in early submission. 
    Final Deadline for Submission:
    2:00pm (PST) on Thursday, November 6, 2014
    If an event does not desire advance review and feedback by RSCVA staff, the final deadline for submission of applications and supplemental documents is Thursday, November 6, 2014 (2:00pm PST).  However, applicants are encouraged to submit prior to the final deadline for flexibility to augment their submission, and to provide a cushion for unexpected delivery delays.  Applications and supplemental materials cannot be accepted after the final deadline. 
    The RSCVA Special Events Manager is happy to meet with an event representative at any time to discuss the Partnership Funding program as well as the submission process.
    It is the responsibility of the applicant to confirm with the
    Special Events & Marketing Manager that their application and supporting documents were complete and received by the deadline.
    Applications and supplemental documents can be submitted electronically
    or by hard copy.
    Note: the RSCVA is limited to 5MB of incoming emails.
    Large files or multiple attachments may necessitate sending them in
    multiple emails.

    Nina Brown
    Special Events & Marketing Manager
    4001 South Virginia Street, Suite “G”
    Reno, NV 89502-6019
    Office: 775-827-7721
    Fax: 775.827.7781
    Partnership Funding Timeline:
    Monday, October 6, 2014:     Optional Early Submission Deadline
    Thursday, November 6, 2014:     Final Deadline for Submission
    December 2014:     Advisory Panel Reviews Applications, Makes Award Recommendations
    January 2015:     RSCVA Marketing & Sales Committee Review of Panel Recommendations
    January 2015:     RSCVA Board of Directors Review and Approval
    2015 (ongoing):     Contracts Prepared for 2015 Funding Recipients
    If Partnership Funding is approved, the applicant will be required to sign an RSCVA contract agreeing to the terms and conditions of the partnership (which includes an itemization of the sponsor amenities that the RSCVA shall receive), issue a General Liability Insurance Policy naming the RSCVA as additional insured, and provide an Additional Insured Endorsement.
    Partnership funding awards will be disbursed in two installments. A partial payment of 50% will be made upon receipt of the signed contract, confirmation of event’s marketing plan and confirmation of two or more Washoe County lodging partners/sponsors.  The remaining 50% payment will be made after the event takes place, subject to completion of contractual agreements, sponsorship amenities and a post-event report to the RSCVA. 
    Evaluation Process:
    Partnership Funding applications will be reviewed by RSCVA staff to ensure that all required materials have been provided. Failure to submit all of the required documents by the final application deadline will result in disqualification.
    Following staff review, all applications will be evaluated by an anonymous, independent Advisory Panel representing community stakeholders and event professionals.  Applicants do not attend the review session, therefore it is imperative your application and supplemental material communicate complete and accurate information. 
    The Advisory Panel will evaluate and discuss each application. Events will only be compared against other events in their respective category (Emerging, Established, and Legacy). The Advisory Panel will make Partnership Funding award recommendations based on:  analysis of the event based on information provided in the application and supplemental documents, how the event compares to other category applicants, the amount of funding available, and the destination's current situation analysis. 
    In January 2015, the Advisory Panel’s award recommendations will be presented to the RSCVA Marketing & Sales Committee for review and discussion, following by the RSCVA Board of Directors for final approval.   
    Submitting an application does not guarantee Partnership Funding will be awarded. In lieu of a cash award, the RSCVA may elect to provide in-kind marketing assistance or other in-kind support isntead.
    The advisory panel will consider the following in their discussion and evaluation: 
    • Was the application complete? Were all questions answered and required information provided?  Was the information submitted reasonable, viable and convincing?
    • Does the event occur in Washoe County or demonstrate the ability to generate room nights in Washoe County? 
    • Does the event have the ability to generate out-of-market awareness for the destination that increases the likelihood of attracting overnight visitors?  (Awareness can be in the form of traditional advertising, social media, web-based efforts or PR equivalency).  Does it support Reno Tahoe USA branding and messaging?
    • Does the event receive nationally broadcast TV, cable or webcast coverage?  Is the broadcast professionally produced and does it positively highlight the destination?
    • What kind of sponsorship amenities could be extended to the RSCVA to broaden and support our own marketing, messaging and sales efforts?
    • Event attendance, including spectators and participants (if applicable): what percentage is estimated to be locals versus out-of-market visitors?
    • Is the event unique to the destination as well as in our primary feeder markets? Would it appeal to potential visitors?  Does it have potential for longevity?
    • Room night estimates and potential for growth?
    • Lodging partnerships: will the event establish partnerships with at least two Washoe County lodging properties?
    • Timing of event dates: does it occur in a "need" period or during an already busy visitor season?
    • Does the event have professional, turn key management?
    • Is the event financial stable?
    • Did the event provide a detailed explanation about how RSCVA Partnership Funding could augment their marketing, advertising and promotional efforts?  Does RSCVA funding make a difference?
    • Does event take place in an RSCVA facility?   
    RSCVA Sponsor Amenities:
    Partnership Funding is viewed as a sponsorship; therefore, the potential amenities that the event can extend to the RSCVA will be considered by the Advisory Panel when determining award recommendations. 
    Sponsorship elements that provide the RSCVA the opportunity to introduce or reinforce our own brand/message, specifically out-of-market, are desirable in support of our mission to attract overnight visitors and increase destination awareness. 
    Refer to the attached Partnership Funding Application Explanation and Instructions document for more details.


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