With grant funding totaling $7,500 to help pay for the study, SFF hired Portland-based Dean Runyan Associates to conduct the survey. SFF staff members helped create the questionnaire that was sent out via email to everyone who purchased a ticket for the 2014 Festival. The survey went out last week and responses are coming in. “We’re curious to find out how much of an economic benefit the Festival has in Central Oregon and of course, Sisters Country,” said Development Director Katy Yoder.
Sisters Folk Festival Inc. (SFF) has been producing events, providing arts education in the public schools and providing scholarships for almost two decades. In that time, staff and board members have wondered just how much of an economic impact the non-profit was having on the local community. But economic impact studies are expensive, and the organization wasn’t able to swing it alone. Through grant awards from the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners’ discretionary grant program and The Ford Family Foundation they finally have the resources to find out.
The survey is also a great way to get to know Festival ticket-buyers better. Staff will know where audience members come from, where they stay and how they spend their money while in town. “This will be a big benefit for local businesses as well,” said Yoder. “They’ll have invaluable information that can help them plan for and respond to their customers’ needs.”
The survey results will be analyzed and presented to SFF in early November. The final report will be used to plan for future events and will be available for other non-profits, businesses and the general public. “We know we have a big impact on the community,” said Yoder. “This will provide us with an official report that gives us specific and useful data.”
The Ford Family Foundation was established in 1957 by Kenneth W. and Hallie E. Ford. Its mission is “Successful citizens and vital rural communities in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California.” The Foundation is located in Roseburg, Oregon, with a scholarship office in Eugene.
Through the Deschutes County Discretionary Grant Program, each of the three Deschutes County Commissioners is authorized to recommend approval of discretionary grants to qualified non-profit agencies for projects or activities that benefit the community. Discretionary grants are made available through the Video Lottery Fund, which is supported by state lottery proceeds.
To learn more about SFF, buy tickets or make a donation contact the office at 541-549-4979 or visit their web site: www.sistersfolkfestival.org