Paddle Round The Pier
In 1996, a group of Brighton surfers organised a Paddle Round the Pier event to raise funds for the charity Surfers Against Sewage. Today Paddle Round the Pier, which unpaid volunteers still run, is Europe’s biggest free beach festival.
In 2019, Paddle Round the Pier attracted circa 60,000 visitors and over the last few years has raised over £300,000 for local community groups.
Here’s how we did it.
How to manage a continually evolving event
As Paddle Round the Pier has grown, so has the number of fundraising activities it hosts during the festival. From offshore races to land-based activities, music, shopping and food.
But that’s not all. Today the event has expanded the number of charities it supports. And besides raising money, the event also aims to promote amateur watersports participation and educate people about water safety and lifesaving techniques.
How to make it easy for volunteers to plan and execute the event
Volunteers have limited time. As the event grew, so did the amount of organisation required.
Spreadsheets, sending numerous emails, taking phone calls, all take-up time.
Consequently, the organisers realised they needed a much easier way of disseminating information—also, a reliable booking and registration system.
How to manage Paddle Round the Pier’s brand identity
Every year, Paddle Round the Pier created a new logo to promote the event.
Getting the logo designed and approved by the trustees and board took considerable time and cost money. The organisers knew there must be a better way to build the festival’s identity, while at the same time keeping the event fresh and relevant.
How to attract new attendees, engage them and keep them coming back
The number one priority for Paddle Round the Pier is to create a fantastic festival-goer experience, before, during and after the event.
Long queues and handwritten registration processes did not encourage visitors to share positive experiences, spend money on registering for events, or persuade them to return.
Making it easy for people to sign up to your events is crucial to converting website visitors into paying attendees.
With mobile searches overtaking desktop, more people use smartphones to search for event information and to book tickets.
Modern event websites and apps offer convenience to both organisers and attendees.
A good event website and app cut out administration. No longer do attendees need to make phone calls. Everything they need to know about the event (line up, timings, location, travel information, FAQs and more) is available at their fingertips.
What’s more, a seamless booking system makes it easy for the potential attendee to sign up.
Fortunately for the organisers, they met Paddle Round The Pier enthusiast Tim, a Director at Piernine. He got agreement from his team to support Paddle Round The Pier on a pro bono basis.
New look and feel connects Paddle Round the Pier to its growing audience
Rebranding helped Paddle Round The Pier to reflect the evolving event. Moreover, it helps it to reach out to and connect with new audiences.
Overhauled website enhanced fundraising efforts
Piernine updated the organiser’s existing website to make it easy to find in the search engines. Also, to look good and work well. Finally and most importantly, to make it easy for visitors to enter events and make payments.
Eye-catching images capture potential visitors’ attention
People process images faster than they can read.
So Piernine used high-quality images of people enjoying attending Paddle Round the Pier because they’re an effective way of encouraging people to join in the fun.
Huge spikes in website traffic
When Piernine completed its work, leading up to and after the 2019 event, over 25,000 people visited the overhauled Paddle Round the Pier website.
Better still, during the event, the Paddle Round the Pier website had 13,000 visitors.
An event app resulted in the biggest attendance since the event began
Attendees tend to register for events 2-6 months before they take place.
Undoubtedly, giving festival-goers the ability to locate event details, register and pay for them using an app that formed part of the event registration software, added to Paddle Round the Pier’s big attendance.
Equally important to the event’s smooth running was organisers’ ability to use the app on their phones to check-in participants on the day.
Easy collection of monies
Not only can festival attendees book tickets immediately, but Paddle Round the Pier organisers also receive immediate payments. No more queuing on the lawns. Or indeed sitting through phone bookings or chasing up late payments.
Significant cost savings from the elimination of paper
A modern website and an event app reduced Paddle Round the Pier’s reliance on paper-based registrations. And meant no more printing programmes. “I highly recommend Piernine’s services for sure. Their attention to detail is brilliant. Also, they’re always proactive in suggesting ways in which we can interact with the public.”
I highly recommend Piernine’s services for sure. Their attention to detail is brilliant. Also, they’re always proactive in suggesting ways in which we can interact with the public.