REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY
How MyCommunityCalendar.ca Impacts and Improves Our Community Footprint for Residents, Non-Profits, Businesses and all levels of Government
MyCommunityCalendar is all about giving back to the community; a social investment. The Seniors Information Centre, over 60 participating organizations and eight volunteers understand, after almost 5 years of investment, what we can do to make our communities better places to live, work and visit. Our impact on the community and its footprint, a United Kingdom model, is the sum of all our actions in the social and economic impact we have engaged upon; people and their health and happiness, adding to their quality of life amenities and making an impact on the financial return for businesses and event and activity organizers in our community through increased participation. The better a business or non-profit community footprint, the better its impact will improve the lives of people, our social spaces and the overall economy. MyCommunityCalendar is aligned upon proactive actions and making a positive difference in “our” community footprint.
MyCommunityCalendar is free for everyone and was made possible by community leaders, community organizations, many thousands of volunteer hours and financially by a charity foundation. After product development and market investment, MyCommunityCalendar.ca has brought many event organizers and community activity organizations to work together as a single entity to promote greater active social interaction within Greater Moncton and surrounding communities. All residents, businesses and governments benefit from the MyCommunityCalendar initiative. Residents better enjoy more choices in their free time by knowing, in greater volume and in one place, what the community offers to help them stay active, promote social interaction and improve their overall health and wellness. Businesses enjoy increased sales activity by those out and about active people as a result. Governments enjoy an increased sense of inclusiveness for its citizens and healthy lifestyle options. That’s what MyCommunityCalendar’s “footprint” is all about.
We don’t believe we invented a community calendar, we just took a leadership role to deploy one successfully. A few numbers on the activity that our site has generated speaks for its value and usefulness. As of August,2017 over 16,000 visitors searched over 34,000 events and activities (page views) in the previous 30 days on MyCommunityCalendar. Over 98% of the visitors have been from Canada. Further, 1400 events and activities are listed on a monthly basis and MyCommunityCalendar is on the first page results of the search engines when looking for things to do in Greater Moncton. Although we offer a bilingual service, less than 3% of its users use a French version of their browser to access our site.
MyCommunityCalendar was all simply a matter of good planning and a good business plan. By undertaking a leadership role to engage event and activity organizers together with local people and businesses to help us, we significantly impacted and engaged the entire southeastern NB community. We created new and “free” spaces for social and participatory networks to grow for each community individually. By being an aggregated repository of events and activities and actively engaging the entire community, we contributed to each community and activity sector its own identity. In other words we did what the market asked us to do…..build a calendar of calendars but manage it under one web site and leadership. Instead of our communities acting separately in information silos, MyCommunityCalendar worked very hard to engage the stakeholders in a project of a single community mindset of event and activity opportunities for the benefit of all its residents and stakeholders.
A wealth of social interaction takes place on MyCommunityCalendar. However its potential benefits to communities and businesses alike go largely untapped. MyCommunityCalendar listened to the needs of the communities and did exactly what they wanted. A sort of everything to everyone and in one place!
Convincing more support of MyCommunityCalendar from stakeholders both financially and promotionally going forward is our goal. Just as we do not have one room school houses any longer we also are at a point that we cannot continue to support and manage one room or one focus web calendars for every community and every event category. We are a non-profit and as such we do not have the typical ROI on our investment that a business would have. Our ROI is the positive and meaningful social improvement of all of our residents by our actions and services.
By expanding MyCommunityCalendars’ social impact with the financial support of local and provincial governments and businesses, MyCommunityCalendar believes it can continue to build a well-accepted portal of shared opportunities available for active and inclusive living in our communities. Having a visitor stay an extra night in our hotels after finding additional resources of things to do in one community web portal speaks for itself in ROI for governments and businesses. By providing its “smart” event listing services by community and activity category type, we build even stronger community links. With now over 60 community organizations using our service, our event organizers and businesses of southeastern NB will benefit from improved participation through increased access and sales activity from the participants.
Government and business encouragement, promotion and support of MyCommunityCalendar could further incentivise participation in community events and activities. Events and activities in a community are very profitable to businesses as active people are also active consumers and a future healthier community for governments is very valuable to combat raising healthcare costs of inactivity by its residents. All levels of government and local businesses in southeastern NB need to consider the vision, investment to date and the value of an initiative such as MyCommunityCalendar has in order to build their positive community footprint easier. MyCommunityCalendar can build on it success to date to further become a community hub and add greater shared value with residents, event and activity organizers and the business community as a whole with their support.
MyCommunityCalendar is the foundation for boosting community engagement. We will push forward with initiatives to help improve our community footprint in health and wellness, inclusiveness and promote more things to do for a visitor to perhaps stay a little longer in our area.
The following are our objectives for the next year of our operations:
- Communicating and connecting continuously with event and activity stakeholders in southeastern NB to place their content on MycommunityCalendar.ca to reach their audience.
- Other communities can benefit from our experiences and success. We will continue to solicit other communities in NB to establish a version of MyCommunityCalendars’ overall plan for their success in local community engagement. We will provide our software and expertise to assist any other community partner in New Brunswick at no upfront cost.
- Further attempt to engage all levels of government and businesses to support and encourage the event and activity organizer community that they both financially enjoy profits and ROI. To encourage them to take a leadership role to promote a healthier, more active and inclusive community using MyCommunityCalendar as the portal to boost community engagement.
- To solicit all levels of government and businesses to support the growth of the event stakeholders’ marketing through small allotments of funding to promote and support MyCommunityCalendar.ca by advertising on the site or promotional and operational grants.
- To engage community leaders and interested stakeholders to join our volunteer committee to further enhance our foundation and develop more connections and usefulness to all residents.
Should you have any questions or would like to become involved to help us with our calendar please don’t hesitate to contact us. We thank you in advance for reading this document and your present and future help to make our communities a much more enjoyable and active place to live and visit.
Report Date: Augest 9, 2017
Author: Tony Hebert, Volunteer Lead Organizer