Leverage and legacy plan

A Leverage and Legacy Committee leads the development of a leverage and legacy plan for an event and oversees its implementation and monitoring.

Committee focus and goals

The Leverage and Legacy Committee should focus on determining:

  • how to use the event as a platform to generate ideas and action around the event itself
  • how to ensure the event will generate sizeable, direct economic, social and cultural or international exposure benefits — in particular those that align with the objectives of the Government or other funders.

The Committee needs to:

  • agree on a joint strategy and action plan
  • identify dedicated resources to make sure the plan happen
  • determine which organisations will provide these resources
  • develop a process for monitoring and supporting the achievement of the strategy as it is implemented.

Start with a legacy vision

The Committee should start by identifying a legacy vision or set of objectives that align with the vision and objectives of the event itself.

The legacy vision must then be supported by a clear and actionable plan, which should clearly articulate:

  • the specific activities
  • the desired outcomes
  • the personnel and/or organisations responsible for each legacy activity
  • relevant timings
  • key performance indicators or measures.

It's important that the Committee acknowledges:

  • the positive and negative nature of legacies — with a view to maximising positive outcomes and limiting negative outcomes
  • that legacies may be subject to perception, and that stakeholders may take different viewpoints on the same legacy outcome.

A strategic approach to identifying and managing stakeholder objectives is necessary to ensure that legacies can be realised, not only for the host city, but the wider region and nation. As each event stakeholder has their own agenda, they will all need to work cooperatively to achieve the desired legacy outcomes for the event.

Main things to consider

When you are developing a leverage and legacy plan keep in mind these things:

  • consult, engage and enable as many people as possible to contribute
  • secure strong buy-in from the event management board, leadership and operational staff
  • obtain stakeholder support for building a lasting legacy as this is crucial to planning and recruiting resources
  • ensure that the legacy programme fits into a wider national or regional agenda for social and economic development
  • ensure community involvement as this is critical — a legacy programme can kick-start the process but community leaders and citizens will drive lasting social change.

Example leverage and legacy plans

Legacy Plan ITU Triathlon World Championship Grand Final 2012 — detailed [PDF, 256 KB]

Legacy Plan ITU Triathlon World Championship Grand Final 2012 — glossy [PDF, 2 MB]

Legacy Plan OptiWorlds NZ 2011 [XLSX, 31 KB]

Legacy Plan 2011 IPC Athletics World Championship [PDF, 371 KB]

Legacy Plan Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover 2012 [PDF, 3.4 MB]

Implementing the plan

The Committee should implement, monitor and manage the leverage and legacy plan with the same rigour as the event programme.

An effective legacy programme begins with getting buy-in from all interested parties, including political and community leaders. These leaders range from high-ranking central government officials and local government bodies to corporate CEOs and community organisations and clubs.

Ensuring a successful legacy for an event depends on how well a nation or city mobilises its citizens. Here are some tips:

  • Consider involving well-known, effervescent, passionate and energetic local people capable of leading and inspiring those around them.
  • The most effective mobilisation efforts go beyond publicity to actively engaging communities in identifying the social and economic programmes that will have the biggest impact at a local level.
  • It is the local communities that will take these programmes forward to create the lasting legacy.

It's important to actively and continuously promote the legacy vision so the public and other major stakeholders don't lose interest.

Monitoring, measuring and reporting

Careful and thorough monitoring, measurement and reporting of legacy outcomes can provide:

  • accountability and transparency for stakeholders
  • a solid framework to enable parties to work towards achieving meaningful legacy outcomes.

Establishing metrics

The Committee should establish key metrics for each stakeholder group with defined objectives and measures. For example, in the case of a sports organisation, 2 specific legacy objectives may be:

  • increase participation in the sport
  • raise the profile of the sports organisation.

The measures of these objectives could be, respectively:

  • 12% increase in local sports club membership
  • 10 substantial media articles positively promoting the relevant sporting organisation.

Assessment and feedback

The Committee should carry out an economic impact assessment after the event. However, this alone is not enough as this will not capture the intangible and emotional factors that contribute to the success of an event.

Consider gathering feedback from visitors, community groups, sponsors, local businesses, local residents, event organisers and suppliers.

Qualitative feedback around the overall experience is as essential as measuring the economic data. In addition, the stories and comments can be used in a variety of ways after the event.

Examples of legacy evaluations

RWC 2011 Auckland Evaluation — ATEED [PDF, 6.2 MB]

Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover 2012 Legacy Outcomes Summary [PDF, 371 KB]

NZPGA Pro-Am Championship Leverage Report [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Leverage and legacy planning tips

Work on delivering an experience not just an event.
  • To maximise the impact that an event can have on an area, you should consider the overall experience rather than just the event itself.
  • Either organise or link up with a range of complementary events that can play to the strength of the region as a whole.
  • Ensure you organise complementary activities to suit a wide range of visitor types (families, children, day visitors, tourists etc).
  • Remember there are a number of people who, although part of a spectator group, may not have the same level of fanaticism as their friends or family and are happy to head off shopping or sightseeing.
Create an authentic New Zealand experience for visitors.

Here are some ideas:

  • integrate the New Zealand brand into the event along with the particular flavour and charm of the relevant region
  • incorporate cultural performances or scenic opportunities
  • promote local food and beverage suppliers and other authentic New Zealand products.


Through this, you can encourage visitors to spend more, stay longer and leave with some fantastic memories of the best that New Zealand can offer.

Integrate with the local community.
  • Involving the local community from the outset can be crucial to creating the right atmosphere.
  • From the earliest stages involve local community representatives to help plan and shape the event.
  • For local businesses, there can be downsides and disruptions from the event as well as benefits (eg, road closures). You need to discuss both pros and cons with them at an early stage and make expectations clear.
  • Spend the time to collect information and data about the event and then share this with local businesses on a continual basis.
  • As well as providing information about the event, also make suggestions to local businesses on maximising the event for their benefit and work with them to achieve this.
  • Consider attracting a local media partner and integrate this into any other larger media activities and coverage. This will help get the local community excited about the event through local stories and angles.
Build a broad base of support for legacy initiatives.

Successfully hosting a major event and realising true legacy requires strong support and collaboration from a broad range of stakeholders including the public, government, businesses and local sporting, artistic or cultural organisations.

Carefully target the legacy activities to the intended audience.

To successfully integrate an event with a local region and maximise the economic impact, it has to have a “brand fit” and a relevance to the region.