Getting bums on seats seems to be getting harder. But how do you know it’s down to what you are offering and providing, or whether it’s down to the general habit and appetite of the public at large? SGA undertook some research to find out the experiences of Local Governments with attendance at community events and what they are doing to improve numbers at their events. 

The survey was sent to 29 Local Councils which SGA works closely with. From those 16 responses were received, giving a response rate of 55%.  The full report can be found here. ATTENDANCE Survey Results (1)

But the key findings are (of those responding) –

  • 69% had noticed a drop off in registrations for online community education events (37% experienced a significant drop off, 31% a little)
  • 56% noticed a drop-off in registrations for face-to-face community education events, (25% noticing a significant drop off and 31% a little).
  • the reasons behind this were identified as predominately –
    • Lack of interest in webinars (63%)
    • Too busy to engage (50%)
    • Nervous about attending face to face events (25%)
  • 88% of respondents identified a drop in registration numbers to attendance numbers as being 40 – 60%.
  • 81% had not contacted those that had not turned up to events to find out why, so reasons behind this are speculative.
  • 69% had tried incentives and giveaways at community events, with the majority saying that it was some what or very effective.
  • In the future –
    • 56% of respondents will deliver events in partnership with neighboring Councils;
    • 75% with local community groups in their area;
    • 69% will link into other initiatives such as Backyard Bird Count.

The report makes several recommendations, the key ones being –

  • A drop off of 40% should be added to the events capacity in ticket booking systems. Materials and catering should be provided at a level of 40% of the number of bookings to reduce waste.
  • Send an event follow up email and send to all who register to –
    • Ask for feedback.
    • Thank them for a wonderful evening and identify key learning or highlight.
    • Make a comment about the giveaway (i.e. don’t forget to send in photos of your free indigenous plants in their new home)
    • Embed a photo of the giveaway / activity that took place with happy attendees in the shot.
  • Run community education events with community groups to support their calendar of events and access an established network and audience.
  • To reach those hard-to-reach audiences, consider partnering with other types of community groups focused on culture, the arts, sports, recreation and interest clubs as well as facilities such as neighbourhood houses, sports pavilions, childcare centres and playgroups.
  • Run hands-on sessions at other community events, open days, fetes, clean ups, festivals
  • If there is any gardening topic that you are interested in organising but can’t find, then get in touch with SGA who can develop new sessions you may want.

We very much hope you find this article interesting. If you have any stories to share or questions to ask, please contact us on