Focus on events and conferences

After working successfully with Elite Event Solutions on a series of forums for market towns based in the West Midlands, the membership charity Action for Market Towns decided earlier this year to get the same company involved in the production of its 11th annual convention.

The event, which will be held in Skipton in North Yorkshire on 1 and 2 October, is quite a challenge for Elite, not least because AMT has decided to run its conference back-to-back with the annual convention for the rural development charity Ruralnet. But Chris Wade, chief executive of AMT, isn't worried about how the company will cope.

"Logistically, it's very complicated," he says. "Essentially, the two charities will be taking over Skipton for four days, holding a range of study tours and workshops in key locations such as Broughton Hall, Skipton Castle and the town hall. On top of that, we have to ensure a range of hotels are available to accommodate delegates from both conferences. But we've collaborated with Elite before, so I believe it will work very well."

For Wade, the success of the relationship between the two organisations primarily results from the fact that Elite's director Anne Buchanan has taken time to get to know AMT and its members very well. "When talking with people about the event, she presents herself as working for AMT rather than referring to us as her client," Wade says. "I think that's really important."

Cost-effectiveness is also a crucial issue for AMT. "It's much better for us to employ Anne rather than to have a full-time worker," says Wade. "The event itself is worth between £90,000 and £100,000, and Elite's management fee is approximately 10 per cent of that."

For her part, Buchanan thinks that providing value for money is a key part of her job. "About 80 per cent of my clients operate in the third sector, so I understand the financial constraints they face," she says.

Client: Action for Market Towns

Company: Elite Event Solutions

Project: To produce a national convention for the charity, which will be held next month.

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