Basic Social Impacts

What are the basic social impacts?

  • Number and profile of volunteers
  • Training and volunteering hours

Skills and volunteering

Light festivals and events can offer diverse opportunities for people to gain valuable experiences, develop personal and community capacity and skills. Benefits of volunteering for the organiser include the provision of cost-effective labour. This is particularly important for light events and festivals, which are generally free to attend, where volunteering can make the difference in events being financially viable.

Anecdotal evidence from cities and wider research suggest that events and festivals can have substantial impacts on community cohesion and empowerment through facilitating community participation. This can be in the form of involving local residents as volunteers, or including educational activities in the event/festival programme.

New cultural opportunities and a wider cultural choice for residents, in particular opportunities to experience and participate in such events, improve the quality of life for people who live and work in the city. Negative impacts such as increase in noise and litter can also occur.

Measuring the impact of volunteering and participation involves gathering the numbers of volunteers used at the event and mapping their engagement with the light festival/event (e.g. training or working at the event).

The event organisers should ensure that they develop and maintain a volunteer database which captures the information needed for impact measurement. The volunteer database should gather the following information:

  • Number of volunteers and number of people that participated in training
  • Training and volunteering hours to calculate cumulative hours of volunteering and training. Using the cumulative hours usually provides a better measure of the overall scale of activity because it allows the duration of the event to be factored in.
  • Profile of volunteers (using similar demographic information as detailed in the economic impact section) in particular if objective of the event is to support local communities or specific sub-groups (e.g. to build capacity of more vulnerable client groups).


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Intermediate Social Impacts