Events calendar will keep you informed

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On March 29th, community partners launched ExploreWilson.com, a community event guide, a long-awaited online community events calendar for Wilson County.

The need for one community calendar where organizations can proactively plan synergistic events, or avoid duplicative scheduling with a major event, has been discussed many times over the years, said Susan Kellum, downtown marketing and communications coordinator.

“Many attempts have been made to create and sustain an inclusive events calendar with limited success,” she said. “Most methods required a single entity to administer the calendar with others sending information to them for entry, or to monitor and approve, resulting in centralized responsibility and liability for information.”

The Wilson Downtown Development Corporation promotions committee was again discussing this need and looking for a solution when new committee member, Cathy Hardison, incoming executive director of the Arts Council of Wilson, recommended an online platform she had used in her prior position in Greenville, Kellum said.

The Promotions Committee, included non-profits, merchants, and other downtown partners, and overseen by Kellum, and committee chair, Drew Barker, evaluated the platform and were extremely excited about not only the community calendar, but also the other services offered including directories, e-newsletters, electronic guestbook and robust marketing options.

With the assistance of Wilson Forward, they then offered the invitation to review and evaluate the platform to all other Wilson County organizations that collect and disseminate information to the public.

The following groups collaborated to offer the calendar services to the public: Wilson Downtown Development, Arts Council of Wilson, Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, Wilson Tourism, Wilson Forward, The Wilson Times, Barton College, Wilson Community College and Wilson Chamber of Commerce.

Each partner has contributed financially to the endeavor so that there is no cost to those entering their events on the calendar. Some partners are also launching other EverWondr services. Wilson Downtown Development will be using the directory and the e-newsletter function.

EverWondr, a North Carolina owned and operated software platform, was developed as a marketing communications hub with a community calendar as its core. Event organizers are responsible for entering their own events and may do so at no charge. With a single upload, those events are then filtered by sponsoring partners according to their organizational mission (i.e., arts-related events for the Arts Council of Wilson; events located within the municipal service district for Wilson Downtown Development) and shared with their audiences instantly on each group’s website. Any changes to events by the organizer are also shared across all partner calendars.

Each partner will have a link to ExploreWilson.com for the full calendar.

Guidelines on what types of events qualify and instructions on how to enter them are found at ExploreWilson.com.