Sharp fall in attendance at voluntary sector events

Georgina Lock

The numbers of people attending events organised by the non-profit sector plummeted by 80 per cent between 2003 and 2004, a survey of UK conferences has shown.

The UK Conference Market Survey 2005, published last week by The Right Solution and the Meetings Industry Association, included responses from 300 non-profit organisations.

It found that the average number of delegates attending organisations' annual conferences fell from 396 in 2003 to 342 in 2004, but the number of people attending other, more regular, events such as fundraising seminars slumped dramatically, from 320 to 68 last year.

Sally Greenhill, director of The Right Solution, suggested that the drop could be a blip caused by more events being held in 2004, but added that it could also be explained by the increasing demands on people's time.

Jane Dacosta, a marketing consultant specialising in conferences, agreed: "Time pressures are so great that people will prioritise and sometimes even commit to attending, but on the day realise that the event has to be dropped as something else takes precedence."

- See Feature, page 26.

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