Designing a community calendar is the easy part. In order for your calendar to be a success, it needs to be brimming with events that are timely, relevant, and interesting to your readers.
Digital publishers often find that there is a fine line between having a community calendar that’s too sparse and having a community calendar that overflowing with too many listings for irrelevant events.
The ideal community calendar is one that includes details for all the most important activities going on in a specific city or region, with functionality that allows visitors to filter out content that doesn’t fit their interests. For example, Layton City’s community calendar includes details about sporting events, concerts, family activities, and restaurant events in and around the city of Layton, Utah. Knowing that the calendar could be overwhelming, Layton City has introduced filtering tools that visitors can use to browse certain types of events, like concerts, classes, or farmers markets.
Where do these event listings come from? Layton City, like many digital publishers, encourages website visitors to add their own events to its community calendar. That’s a great way to learn about events that haven’t been publicized elsewhere, adding significant value to your community calendar. But user submissions alone are unlikely to be enough. That’s why we put together a list of 10 more places you can look to find events to include on your community calendar.
1. School Districts
School district websites are chock full of local event information. In addition to listing the pertinent information about junior high and high school sporting events, you can also find the dates for upcoming school plays, art shows, and other events that community members might be interested in attending.
2. Concert Venues
Venues that host concerts and other performing arts productions have a vested interest in getting the word out about upcoming shows. If you connect with these venues and let them know about your online community calendar, there’s a good chance they will email you directly whenever new shows are added to their roster.
3. Facebook Groups
Most cities have at least one, if not multiple, Facebook groups dedicated to local events. For example, in Northern California’s Shasta County, a Facebook group called “Get Out! Nor Cal” aggregates information about outdoor activities in the region. The group also has a hashtag that local publishers can follow to stay updated on events that they should add to their own community calendars.
4. Recreation Departments
If you think your readers might be interested in classes, programs, and other outdoor-focused events, check out the recreation department in your area for information about events that can be added to your community calendar. Most of these departments send regular emails with the latest event information, which can be automatically funneled into your own community calendar.
5. Local Museums
Local museums are an excellent source of recurring events. In addition to hosting special events and exhibit openings, most museums have monthly discount nights or children’s nights.
6. Nonprofit Organizations
Like concert venues, nonprofit organizations have an interest in spreading the word about their upcoming events. Many groups have outreach coordinators who would be happy to email you directly or submit information to your self-serve portal to have listings added to your online calendar.
7. Tourism Bureaus
Although most tourism bureaus don’t host their own events—at least not on a regular basis—their websites are a fantastic resource for information about festivals, exhibitions, shows, and other upcoming activities that might be of interest to your own readers.
8. Public Libraries
Public libraries host daily events and activities for all generations. Bookmark the websites for any public libraries in your area for details on weekly story times, game nights, and adult education events.
9. Chambers of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce is a collection of businesses aiming to improve the business climate in their communities. It’s not uncommon for the Chamber of Commerce to host its own fundraising events—like golf tournaments—along with educational events that local entrepreneurs can attend.
10. Gardening Clubs
Gardening clubs are growing in popularity. Although club meetings are typically private, many of these organizations host semi-regular plant sales that are open to the public. Larger gardening clubs may host educational events, as well.