Tupelo CVB has grant money available

By Carlie Kollath Wells/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau is now accepting grant applications for organizations seeking funds to market an event.
Stephanie Moody Coomer, deputy director of the CVB, said the city’s tourism bureau will give up to $15,000 per event. The application deadline is Oct. 15.
The goal of the program, the CVB said, is to help fund the promotion of special events and festivals that attract overnight visitors to Tupelo. It’s part of the CVB’s overall goal to extend visitors’ stays, thus increasing the amount of money they spend while in Tupelo.
The city’s tourism sales tax revenues fund the program, Coomer said. The revenues come from a 2 percent tax on hotels, motels and restaurants in Tupelo.
Organizations can apply if they have significant city ties; are established primarily to produce cultural programs, festivals or special events; use private sector and/or community financial support and have volunteers in addition to any paid staff.
The event must be held between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013.
Funds only can be used for marketing purposes. The money can’t be used for event production expenses such as fencing or staging.
The CVB requires a 30 percent financial match for each grant. For example, if an organization plans to spend $10,000 to market an event, it can request no more than $7,000 from the CVB.
To apply, organizations must write to Tupelo CVB, Funding Request, P.O. Drawer 47, Tupelo, MS 38802. The application must include the name of the organization; the name, dates and location of the event; description of the event; summary of marketing plan that shows at least 80 percent of the plan is geared to recruit visitors outside of a 50-mile radius; and methods of tracking event success.
The money isn’t a rebate. The guidelines say organizations will get the money before they have to spend it.
Approved organizations are required to file a final report within 30 days of the event. The report must include attendance figures, a copy of the executed marketing plan clearly stating where the granted money was spent and samples of all marketing materials, including ad tearsheets, website promotions, printed materials, video promotions or other collateral materials.
For more information, contact Coomer at scoomer@tupelo.net or 800-533-0611.
The grant guidelines are posted at bizbuzz.djournal.com and tupelo.net.
carlie.wells@journalinc.com