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Special Event Programs


2016 Special Event Partnership Funding

(The funding program is closed for 2016 calendar year events.  Applications for 2017 events will be accepted in the fall, 2016.  Check back on this website at that time for updated information). 

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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 2016 may now submit an application for consideration.  There is currently $250,000 available in Partnership Funding, plus contingency funds that were not awarded in the 2015 calendar year program.
The deadline for submitting an application and supplemental documents for events occurring in 2016 is 2:00pm (PST), Thursday, November 5, 2015.  If your event is interested in submitting an application for consideration, please review the program details and attachments provided below. 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 conditions:
  • 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 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 goals of the RSCVA Special Event Partnership Funding program include:
  • To support new events that will grow to be future Legacy events for the destination.
  • To assist special events with out-of-market marketing to potential visitors.
  • To assist special events to grow and realize their full potential in room nights and brand awareness.
  • To enhance the positioning of the cities of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County as a more attractive place to live, work and play.
  • To extend the special event season and fill holes in the annual calendar of major special events.
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 two documents below entitled “Getting Started" and "Application Explanations." Information includes:  instructions for opening the application formats, general program information, clarification on specific application questions and required supplemental attachments, and the submission checklist.

Getting Started            Application Instructions

Application formats:
Three file formats are available in order to accommodate various word software platforms (.docx, .doc, .pdf).  Each application is identical regarding the questions asked and information required.  All questions must be answered, unless otherwise indicated.  All formats provide the flexibility to save, print and make revisions to response fields.  Hand-written submissions will not be accepted. 
.DOCX format:    Compatible with Microsoft Office Word 2007 and newer software suites.
.DOC format:      Compatible with Microsoft Office Word 2003 and older software suites
.PDF format:       Compatible with Mac Pages users
The .docx and .doc applications do not limit character length in text response fields. Applicants can utilize space as needed to answer questions and  the application will paginate automatically.  
Mac Pages software users should utilize the .pdf application; it is the only option that permits toggled responses to the multiple choice questions. Mac Pages users will not be able to toggle responses to the multiple choice questions when using the .docx and .doc applications. Please refer to the "Getting Started" attachment above for more details about the nuances of the .pdf application.
Application Deadlines:
The completed application and required supplemental 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 immediately before (or after), the application deadline, information from the previous year can be provided used in lieu of current information. 
Optional Early Submission:
5:00pm (PST) on Monday, October 5, 2015 
The early submission option could be helpful for events that have never previously submitted a Partnership Funding application.  Staff will review the submission and provide feedback and guidance, allowing time for the event to modify and resubmit their application by the final deadline of November 5, 2015. It is not mandatory for applicants to participate in early submission, however feedback will only be provided to events that submit their documents by October 5, 2015 (5:00pm PST).   Participating in the early submission option does not imply that an applicant will receive a favorable funding recommendation by the Advisory Panel.   
Final Deadline for Submission:
2:00pm (PST) on Thursday, November 5, 2015
The final deadline for submission of applications and supplemental documents is Thursday, November 5, 2015 (2:00pm PST).  Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit in advance of the final deadline rather than wait until the last minute and risk computer malfunctions or postal delays that prevent their submission from being received on time. Applications and supplemental materials will not be accepted after the final deadline. 
The RSCVA Special Events Manager will 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 multiple emails.

Nina Brown
RSCVA Special Events & Marketing Manager

4001 South Virginia Street, Suite “G”
Reno, NV 89502-6019
PO Box 837
Reno, NV  89504
Office: 775-827-7721
Fax: 775.827.7781

Partnership Funding Timeline:

  • Monday, October 5, 2015 (5:00pm PST):  Optional Early Submission Deadline
  • Thursday, November 5, 2015 (2:00pm PST):  Final Deadline for Submission
  • December 2015:   Advisory Panel Reviews Applications and Makes Award Recommendations
  • January 2016:  RSCVA Marketing & Sales Committee Reviews Advisory Panel Recommendations.
  • January 2016:  RSCVA Board of Directors Reviews Advisory Panel Recommendations with Possible Approval
  • 2016 (ongoing):   Contracts Prepared for 2016 Funding Recipients
If Partnership Funding is approved, the award 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:

Failure to submit all of the required information and documents by the final application deadline will result in disqualification. 
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 that the application and supplemental material communicate complete and accurate information.  Note:  Advisory panelists do not receive applications digitally; instead, a binder containing hard copies of all applications is provided to them.
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 2016, 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 support instead.
The Advisory Panel will consider the following in their discussion and evaluation: 
  • Application: Was the application complete; were all questions answered and required information provided? Was the submitted information reasonable, viable and convincing?
  • Washoe County Affiliation: Does the event occur in Washoe County or demonstrate the ability to generate room nights in Washoe County? 
  • Out-of-Market Awareness: 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? 
  • Television or Webcast: Does the event have nationally broadcast network TV, cable or webcast affiliated with it? Is the broadcast professionally produced and does it positively highlight the destination?
  • Sponsor Amenities: Are there sponsorship amenities that the event can extend to the RSCVA that provide an opportunity to broaden our own marketing and sales efforts?
  • Attendance: What is the event attendance, including participants (if applicable) and spectators? What percentage of attendance is estimated to be locals versus out-of-market visitors? What is the event capacity?
  • Uniqueness and Appeal: Is the event unique and/or iconic to the destination? Are there similar events in our primary visitor markets? Would the event appeal to potential visitors? 
    Annual Occurance: Does the event have potential for permanency? Is there a term limit regarding the number of years that event can/will be held in the destination?
  • Room Nights: What are the room night projections? Is there a potential for growth in overnight stays with additional marketing efforts?
  • Lodging Partnerships: Will the event establish partnerships with at least two Washoe County lodging properties?
  • Event Dates: Does event occur in a "need" period or during an already busy visitor season?
  • Event Producer/Promoter: Does the event have professional, turnkey management?
  • Financial: Is the event financial stable? Is the funding request less than 25% of the overall event budget? Is the event dependent on RSCVA funding in order to occur?
  • Funding Use: 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?
  • Facility/Venue: 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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