Objectives and general tips
- Identify concrete financial objectives for your Olympic Festival. The main aim should be to break even. Any financial surplus will be positive but should not be the objective. For more information, see the Before you start chapter.
- Financial viability is very important for ensuring the future of your event. Sound financial management underpinned by detailed monitoring and evaluation is a must. For more information, see the Evaluation and Sustainability chapters.
- Keep in mind the possible significant differences between the summer and the winter editions of the Olympic Festival. The cost of snow and ice technology and the energy costs may be comparatively much higher.
- Make sure that you abide by all legal obligations and rules applicable, among other things, to procurement of goods and services or to the use of public subsidies.
- Bear in mind that some of the procedures may take a long time to complete.
Sound financial management
- Prepare a preliminary budget plan - submit it to the major potential financial partners (it can differ significantly from the final budget).
- Once major financial partners for the project are acquired, compile a budget with a detailed overview of sources of income including in-kind contributions and expenditure.
- Monitor budget expenditure and refine it when necessary, and search for additional sources of income if needed.
- Evaluate and report on finance questions regularly to the overseeing authority (e.g. the Board of your organisation).
- Prepare specialised reports for sponsors and other investors to demonstrate the return on investment.
Diversification of resources
- Diversification of financial resources is crucial for the stability of your financial planning and management, and consequently for the sustainability of your event.
- Public subsidies, if they are part of the financial mix, may not cover all the aspects of the organisation – therefore other types of resources may be needed. The same goes for sponsors’ contribution which will often be “in-kind”.
- Do not forget to include in-kind contribution and the Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) in your financial planning and report them in your earnings.
- Sport infrastructure
- The central hard-surface court was used for 3 sports - judo, tennis, and athletics.
- Sponsors in-kind contribution
- Parasols of EY have been used since for other events of the Belgian NOC.
- Find synergies with the participating organisations in terms of, for example, engaging local staff in the activities (e.g. not necessary to pay for accommodation etc.). For more information, see the Human resources subchapter.
- Assess the costs of the activities together with their perceived value and focus on those where costs would be lower and perceived value higher (e.g. retransmission of live finals on a giant screen with the national team playing).
- Reuse equipment and materials
- For more information, see the Sustainability chapter.
- Consider introducing paid activities and services
- For more information, see Generation of resources with own activities subchapter below.
- Discuss barter possibilities with partners/sponsors and suppliers. For more information, see the External resources- sponsors subchapter.
External financial resources
1. Public subsidies
- Start as soon as possible – it can take a long time to access public funding (e.g. answering to calls for proposals).
- Use the studies and good practice examples from previous editions of OFs (For more information, see the Case studies) to demonstrate to decision makers the benefits of hosting and organising Olympic Festivals in their community/country.
Ministries/ agencies (national level)
- Evaluate the existing possibilities with the relevant Ministry from which your NOC receives subsidies. If possible, try to negotiate a special support, be it financial or in kind (e.g. use of national sport facilities); in any case make use of the regular annual funding schemes.
- Look also beyond the given Ministry/Agency at other governmental sectors – e.g. tourism, health promotion, social inclusion – and discuss with them a potential cooperation. Do not forget to review their political priorities and strategy papers (e.g. on the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity) and present the Olympic Festival as a good way to contribute to achieving the given priorities.
Czech Tourism in OF Brno and Ostrava 2018
- The Czech tourism promotion agency supported the OFs financially.
- It activated its partnership by organising a day dedicated to the 100 years anniversary of Czechoslovakia. Its logo also featured on volunteers’ jackets and on the ice-surfaces (see sub-chapter Human Resources/Volunteers).
Day of the Belgians at the Rio House
- The Belgian federal government organised a specific day dedicated to the promotion of Belgium (goodies, concerts, games…) and contributed to the budget of the Rio House.
- Similarly, the Brussels-Capital Region agreed with the organiser to do a one-day promotion of the Region.
Local authorities (regions and municipalities)
- Check the Organisation and Marketing chapters for “arguments” on how to get local authorities on board.
- When approaching local authorities, be mindful of the period when their budgets for the year in which the Olympic Festival is to take place are being adopted. Focus your efforts just before this period and intensify them throughout.
- Negotiating with the cities/regions which have expressed their interest
- First discuss a bulk figure and present to the decision makers what they would get for their support – provide an account of the benefits of hosting the event (e.g. a great sport event for their community and high media visibility of their city/region).
- When a general agreement is reached, you can start detailed negotiation on the final amount, what the amount would exactly cover and what the ROI would be.
- When all details are settled, a contract can be signed. Make sure that the contract is “bullet proof” for both sides. It will help you avoid any possible misunderstanding and/or problems should there be changes in the political leadership following, for example, local elections.
- Consider organising an event around the signing of the contract to mediatise the concluded partnership and promote the event (e.g. press conference, launch event).
- Long-term hosting agreements with cities could help with strategy, planning and commercialisation of your Festival.
European Union – Erasmus+
- Member States of the European Union and organisations based therein have access to two basic types of subsidies: decentralised (European Structural and Investment Funds) and centrally-managed.
- The likelihood of receiving a substantial financial support from the decentralised funds and programmes to support the organisation of the OF is rather small, but some possibilities exist especially in the framework of the centralised programme Erasmus+.
- These funds and programmes are managed directly by the European Commission and its Executive Agencies (however, parts of some programmes such as Erasmus + are co-implemented at national level by local agencies). Information and calls for proposals are published on the respective websites of the European Commission.
- Keep in mind that all the projects have to have an international dimension and produce an “EU-added value”.
- The most relevant programme is Erasmus +; in particular its “Sport” chapter.
- The EU Health Programme can also be consulted, for example for possibilities on the promotion of healthy lifestyles; however, contacting your national Ministry responsible for health would bring, in most cases, better results.
Examples of activities which could be co-funded from the Erasmus + Programme
- International cooperation among Olympic Festival organisers, including the sharing of good practices, organisation of common activities, training of volunteers and staff, exchange of staff etc.
- Support to the organisation/production of the events and its side activities provided that a network of Olympic Festivals ensures that at least 10 EU countries are represented among visitors (support to not-for-profit sport events).
- Social inclusion-, integration-, and gender-equality related aspects of the Festivals.
- European Olympic Committees’ EU Office and/or contact the Office directly.
2. Sponsors/ Partners
Check the Marketing chapter for details on strategy and negotiation with sponsors/partners.
Partners/ Sponsors of the National Olympic Committee/ Team
- When you organise your first Olympic Festival, its financial and organisational aspects will be, most likely, above and beyond the contractual obligations stated in the multiannual (quadrennial) agreements with the NOC Partners/Sponsors.
- Therefore, it is of outmost importance to be able to persuade Partners/Sponsors that the Olympic Festival is a special project, which, in return for their support, will bring them a high nation-wide visibility and activation potential beyond the scope of their current sponsorship contract. For arguments, refer to the Marketing chapter.
- Consider thoroughly the amount (cash and/or kind kind) you would propose to the sponsor in return for its activation.
Olympic Festivals Brno + Ostrava 2018
We tried to find a reasonable amount/fee that we felt was possible for the given sponsor to accept beyond its general contractual obligations. The important thing in the negotiation was the fact that we could offer turn-key sport facilities – we took care of the production - where the sponsors would just need to put their ‘stand’.
Source: Marketing department, Czech NOC
- Ideally, prepare a partnership agreement/contract template which you will use as a basis for all sponsor partnership agreements/contracts.
- If the timing is right and/or if it is not the first edition of the OF that you organise, consider whether to include a clause on the participation in the Olympic Festivals in the general quadrennial partnership contracts with you partners/sponsors.
The Czech NOC used this documents as a basis for its contracts with partners/sponsors. Even though, most of the provisions are generally applicable, bear in mind that the text it is based on the legal framework of the Czech Republic and therefore not everything will necessarily apply to your case.
It will be generally easier for the organisation – the level of the support will be predetermined,
Certain flexibility may be lost in terms of finding other possibilities and resources within the given company
- In many cases, TOP partners are not NOC partners at the same time. Therefore, it is advised to explore the potential of a possibly more costly form of activation with the respective TOP partners.
- At the same time, keep in mind that there must be a balance between the NOC and TOP partners/sponsors. They all need to be satisfied with their involvement.
Third parties – local sponsors and suppliers of the Olympic Festival
- The involvement of local partners may bring some challenges (for the specific rules, check the Marketing chapter), but also opportunities in particular in terms of barter-based cooperation with technical partners/suppliers and local media.
- Map the situation in terms of your production and communications needs.
- Assess the scope and content of the services provided by the NOC/TOP sponsors/partners and by institutional partners.
- Reflect the environmental and social sustainability considerations in the choice of your providers (e.g. short distance for the transport of materials, engagement of local workforce). Fore more information, see the Sustainability chapter.
- Based on this assessment enter into cooperation with those local partners which will be best able to “fill the gaps”.
- The 2017-2020 generation of the Olympic Solidarity programmes does not include any support targeted directly to Olympic Festivals. However, several sub-programmes can be used to co-finance various aspect of the Olympic Festivals’ organisation.
- World Programmes → Promotion of Olympic values
- Sport for Social Development (Organisation of sport for all events, encouraging physical activity and the practice of sport among young people and the general public.)
- Sustainabilty in Sport (Projects aimed at developing sustainability standards for sports events.)
- Olympic Education, Culture and Legacy (Cultural activities such as Olympic art exhibitions or competitions, engaging young people and the general public in activities blending sport and artistic expression.)
- Continental Programme (Europe) → Special projects and activities in favour of NOCs
- E.g. Sport for all activities, promotion of sport activities and Olympic values within schools and colleges.
- Keep in mind, though, that you will need to prioritise the OF over other types of eligible activities under the Continental Programme.
- The programme is managed by the European Olympic Committees which, after a due examination of the request, will decide on the allocation and amount of the respective grants.
- Make sure that you do not apply for funding for the same activity under both the World and the Continental Programme unless the applications are complementar.
Generation of resources with own activities
Having low entry fee in place (Czech Republic) or not having any fee at all (France and Slovenia) seems not to have made any difference in the general visitors’ satisfaction.
Source: Pilot Comparative Study of the OFs 2018 (For more information, see the study in the Evaluation chapter).
- Assess whether the introduction of an entry fee would fit the type and nature of your Olympic Festival. If the answer is positive, set a fee which would be low enough not to discourage visitors from coming, but which would, at the same time, generate enough resources to cover the costs connected with its introduction, and which would bring additional income to your budget.
- Ticket pricing needs to be adapted to national circumstances and to the needs of the host city/region.
- Should you use an entry fee, do not forget to provide special conditions and/or social programmes for schools, people with physical or mental impairment and those coming from a disadvantaged environment.
- Consider offering to visitors the possibility to exchange the ticket for particular services/sport activities or negotiate with sponsors/partners their possible involvement.
Entry fee overview
Yes → Olympic Park Sochi-Letna 2014 (2 EUR), Olympic Experience 2016 (Adults – 10 EUR, 4-18 y/o – 5 EUR, until 4 y/o free entrance), OFs Brno and Ostrava (2 EUR)
No → Olympic Park Rio-Lipno 2016, Rio House 2016, OF Rogla, OF Grenoble, OF Pristina
2. Reservations and rentals
- Payment for (an early) booking of a sports facility/activity. For more information about reservation systems, see the Organisation chapter.
- Payment for some type of activities, in particular those which are relatively costly in terms of both equipment and well-trained instructors (e.g. yachting).
- Rental of sport equipment
- Negotiate with the service/equipment provider the conditions which would bring an added value to the Olympic Festival – splitting the revenue, offering the equipment to a pre-defined group of visitors (schools, physically disabled visitors etc.) for free etc.
3. Food and beverages
- For details on the set-up and organisation of catering, go to the Organisation chapter.
- Try to negotiate with beverage/food industry partners/sponsors (e.g. Coca-Cola) an in-kind supply to the Olympic Festival. You can then set prices in such a way which would permit you to generate some revenue.
- Commercial format →establish prices of the products together with the suppliers.
- Fixed fee - no risk
- Share of benefits - shared risk
4. Merchandising – National Olympic Team collection
Source: Pilot Comparative Study of the OFs 2018 (For more information, see the study in the Evaluation chapter)
The Czech NOC and Alpine Pro (sports apparel partner of the NOC) shared the revenue from the merchandising sale 50/50.
The NOC carried the risk in case the items were not to be sold.
The French NOC presented its new “Allez les bleus” clothing and souvenirs line at the Olympic Festival,
the sale of which is to support the French sport movement. However, as it was the first official presentation
of the apparel articles, the organiser’s aim was not to make profit but rather to test the market and promote the brand.
After having decided on the set-up and activities of your Olympic Festival, think about how many people you will need to “run the show”.
- Make an overview of which human resources for which activities will be ensured by other stakeholders (event agency, sport federation, host city etc.) and then define which positions and tasks you will need to fill internally, which externally, and which will be ensured by volunteers.
- Time is an important factor. Take into consideration the time you will have for preparation of the event when deciding on the number of people that need to work on it. Less time requires more people for the same task.
- Make sure that you engage competent people and that you train them for their roles.
- As highlighted in the Organisation chapter, the leadership of the Organising Committee should always be in the hands of the main organiser – the NOC.
- Training is an essential part of the management of human resources. It helps to ensure that all positions are filled with able and competent people. On the job training should also form a mandatory part volunteers’ engagement and experience.
- Identify the training needs of your staff, collaborators and volunteers.
- Based on the specific needs, prepare a general training programme or sessions which would apply to all those involved and then tailor-make the training according to the needs of the various roles and positions.
General training – main elements
- The Olympic Festival concept and the aims and values of the Olympic movement and how they should translate into activities, attitude, as well as the behaviour of all those involved (e.g. relationship with customers/visitors, communications with colleagues).
- Structure of the Organising Committee, departments’ leads and reporting lines.
- Daily schedule and organisation of the programme.
- Occupational health and safety.
- Consider making use of events which you or your partners organise to train your staff and volunteers prior to the OF.
- E.g. Test the planning scheme for volunteers at an Olympic Day event to see whether the processes in place should be adjusted and whether any additional training and instructions would be necessary for the volunteers. (Such system proved very effective in preparation of the European University Games Zagreb-Rijeka 2016)
- Refer to the Organisation chapter for information on the structure of the Organising committee and the positions therein as well as on its management aspects (Organisation chapter).
- Code of Ethics of the International Olympic Committee should be respected by everyone involved in the organisation and delivery of the Olympic Festival.
Rio House 2016Once you have identified tasks that need to be done, the number of people you need for each task and the skills that they need to have to be able to complete their tasks successfully, you may start recruiting candidates.
The Belgian NOC concluded a specific deal with Addeco for the supply of interim workforce whenever there was a need for more people to ensure the activities.
- Identify available and appropriate internal resources, discuss with the management their possible relocation from other tasks, and assign them to the project.
- For roles which you cannot fill internally, make a good use of your networks and consider collaborators with whom you have worked in the past and whose work you were satisfied with.
- Do not forget to negotiate with the host city/region and with local sport organisations the involvement of their staff in the production of the event.
- An efficient internal communication among all persons involved is a pre-requisite for the success of your Olympic Festival.
- Make sure that you have a good mechanism in place for both types of internal communication:
- Managerial – vertical from top to team managers and back
- Operational - horizontal from team managers to team members and back
- Recommended internal communications tools and platforms: Workplace by Facebook, WhatsApp group chat, Basecamp.
Volunteers are the “face” of the event, their involvement has a big impact on visitors’ experience. Every satisfied volunteer will also be a good ambassador of the Olympic Festival.
- Ideally, you should aim for a long-term cooperation with volunteers within your organisation:
- Volunteers will have learnt skills and gained knowledge which they can use in more “senior” volunteer positions. You can then engage them as, for example, volunteer coordinators in the future.
- Volunteers will get more social benefits in terms of building new networks, contacts and friendships in a long-term manner.
- An NOC volunteer community/platform can be created and activated for any future NOC event → An easier communications with, and recruitment of, volunteers.
- Dedicate an appropriate time and resources to the training of volunteers (for general tips, see the section above).
- Treat your volunteers well and with respect. They have decided to dedicate their time and energy to helping you make the event a success.
Source: The volunteer legacy of a major sport event, Alison Doherty
- Keep in mind national laws and regulations in terms of insurance for volunteers and make sure that you have made all the necessary steps.
- Formal engagement of volunteers
- It can take the form of an agreement, contract, letter of intent etc. Check your national laws and regulations to choose the applicable version.
Formalisation of the relationship with volunteers is especially important for insurance purposes.
- It will provide both parties with a clear definition of rights and obligations which is especially important for insurance purposes.
- It can take the form of an agreement, contract, letter of intent etc. Check your national laws and regulations to choose the applicable version.
- If you organise a longer-term Olympic Festival (more than a couple of days), establish a minimum length of involvement which would guarantee the volunteer the right to receive tangible benefits (specially clothing articles) and the volunteer status.
- Do not forget to account for all the volunteers-related expenses in your budget.
Management and planning
GA 2017 – Volunteer planning matrix
The volunteer planning tool was developed by the Czech NOC for a smooth organisation of the large number of volunteers which were involved in the organisation of the biggest annual Olympic family congress – the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Commitees.
- Evaluate how many volunteers you will need for each position/sport venue and make your planning accordingly. Rely on your experience from other events and the experience of your partners (in particular sport organisations) to determine the exact number of volunteers that will be necessary.
- Ensure effective scheduling.
- Consider the work to be done carefully and prepare an effective scheduling which would avoid tasks overload as well as underload.
- Try to reflect volunteers’ expectations, wishes and skills in the tasks’ allocation as much as possible.
- Appoint coordinators amongst volunteers who will have either time-bound or sector-bound responsibilities.
- Use social media to ensure efficient communication with, and among, volunteers.
Source: The volunteer legacy of a major sport event, Alison Doherty
- You should ideally start well in advance. Some volunteers will need to ask for a leave from work and arrange their time so that they can take part.
- General approach – use your website and social media to announce the call for volunteers.
- Targeted approach
- Social media – e.g. Facebook groups gathering sport event volunteers in your country.
- Universities and high schools in the host city/region
- Both teachers and students may be interested.
- Focus on schools which could provide you with volunteers with specific skills (technical, communications, foreign languages etc.).
- Contact the person who is responsible for communications at the given school.
- Where an obligatory internship is a part of the study programme, schools/universities could accept the volunteering experience at the OF as such internship. Discuss the particular conditions with the management of the school.
- Sponsors/ partners
- Discuss with the sponsors/partners of the Olympic Festival, but also with local businesses, the possibility of involving their staff in the OF as volunteers as part of their CSR activities.
- If you manage to reach any such agreements, do not forget about the communications dimension of such a cooperation (positive CSR).
- Sport clubs and (local) federations
- Besides their possible involvement in running their own sport activities at the Olympic Festival, you can try to reach out to other local clubs and inform them about the call for volunteers.
- Host city/ region
- Discuss with the host city/region the involvement of their employees as volunteers.
- Inquire about the possibility to activate networks of volunteers with whom the city/region has worked in the past (during the organisation of other events).
- Make use of free online registration forms or software such Google Docs (applicable in particular for large-scale Olympic Festivals).
In 2015, the City of Paris has created a network of volunteers “Volontaires de Paris” which are to help the City to “revalue its historical heritage”. The mission of the young volunteers (16-25 years of age) is to guide visitors to general places of interest, and to promote certain undervalued and unusual sights which are currently of the beaten track.
The City of Paris was an official partner of the French NOC in organising the Olympic Day 2017. It mobilised over 500 of “Volontaires de Paris” to support the implementation of the activities. The volunteers were present throughout the day to welcome, inform and guide the public.
Services and equipment for volunteers
- The extent of services provided and the amount/type of equipment offered will depend on the size and length of your Olympic Festival. However, the categories below should always be respected. (In some countries the services and equipment needed to be provided is defined by the law.)
- Provide an appropriate meeting and rest space for volunteers, including a secured area for their belongings, fridge, coffee/tea machine etc.
Olympic Festivals Brno + Ostrava 2018
Czech Tourism (governmental agency) activated its partnership by supporting the purchase of jackets for volunteers. Its logo and the reference to the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Czechoslovakia was displayed on the back of the jackets.
- Provide sufficient amount of quality food and beverages
- Work with local suppliers and/or partners/sponsors which can provide food and beverages as part of their sponsorship agreement (in-kind contribution – e.g. Coca-Cola).
- Provide volunteers with meal vouchers should the catering option be unavailable or too complicated to organise.
- Provide appropriate clothing
- Take into account the number of days the volunteers will be working and adjust the number of pieces accordingly.
- T-shirts or jackets should feature a clear designation (e.g. staff, volunteer, “May I help you?”)
- Discuss with sport apparel sponsors/partners and with other partners the possibility of an in-kind contribution in the form of clothing provision for volunteers. For example, volunteers’ jackets can be used as prime space to feature the logo of the given sponsor/partner.
Motivating volunteers – incentives
- Besides social benefits (experience, new friends and networks…) which all volunteers will have the opportunity to acquire, and the above specified services and equipment, consider providing the volunteers with:
- The chance to personally meet Olympians and other personalities.
- Symbolic (e.g. signed by the NOC President).
- Formal (part of a certification system such as the European Credit Transfer System - ECTS - for students or non-formal/informal education learning-related certification).
- Final “party” for all volunteers.
- Free public transportation in the city should the public authority support you in this regard.
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