SCC2013 - What's the true cost of free?


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Presentation from "What's the true cost of free?" at the 2013 Science Communication Conference organised by the British Science Association - slides by Savita Custead, Jamie Gallagher and Debbie Syrop

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SCC2013 - What's the true cost of free?

  1. 1. What’s the true cost of free?Savita Custead Debbie Syrop Jamie Gallagher
  2. 2. Story of a free festivalSavita CusteadDirector, Bristol Natural History
  3. 3. -Science festival based on biological sciences/environment/ natural sciences- Produced by BNHC partners through 10 year partnership (rather than boardof individuals)- Outdoor, free, drop in, city centre- 25,000 – 30,000 visitors- celebrating our 10thyear!- Bristol “Tourism Event of the Year 2011-2012”
  4. 4. Wider Context-One of small number ofscience festivals that arecompletely free- Last free festival in Bristolrun by a charity- Only festival in Bristol witha primary school programme
  5. 5. Benefits- Confirmed income / noreliance on box office- Transparency with funders- Marketing messages- Marketing support- Competition with otherattractions + events- Less admin functions
  6. 6. Tricky Bits- Lost opportunity forincome?- gifts / benefits for sponsors- Using “alternativemarketing”- Data capture- Perception of value?
  7. 7. What’s the true cost of free?Debbie
  8. 8. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?o High drop out rateo Lack of support from schoolo Disruptive audienceso Low perceived value
  9. 9. SOME SUGGESTIONSo Nominal chargingo Payment in kind e.g. feedbacko Special offers or discountso Build closer relationships
  10. 10. What’s the true cost of free?Jamie Gallagher@jamiebgall
  11. 11. Experience Vs ExploitationThe path to paid communicationHow do free events impact on presenters andfacilitators involved?How does voluntary working effect full timecommunicators?
  12. 12. Who am I?
  13. 13. My experience
  14. 14. Gaining Experience•Build skills•CV experience•Networking•Flexible hours•Choice of events•Flexibility•Little support•Hard work•Net loss of money•Career development?•Lack of respect•Two tiersThe Good The Bad
  15. 15. Fighting your corner•Compete against free workers•When do you have “enough” experience•The guilt trip•Volunteers- the easy route•Lack of respect to the industry?•The friend’s wedding
  16. 16. What’s the true cost of free?Savita Custead Debbie Syrop Jamie Gallagher