Event Evaluation Review Makes Planning Stress-Free 1

One of THE best ways to create successful place-making events is by looking closely at an old event and being honest with yourself about it’s success (or failure). Known as event evaluations, every planning group must look at the time and energy it takes to plan, market and produce an event. It’s time to start planning for summer event season so make planning stress-free by reviewing event evaluations.

Pre-event evaluations will help you prepare for the upcoming event but the best way to look at how an event did is to evaluate it immediately after the event, within one to two weeks! Ask for an evaluation from all planning committee members, ask sponsors, volunteers, paid consultants, entertainers and vendors. Summarize these insider evaluations and review this valuable information before starting again next year.

BAM Street Fair Guide template

Event evaluation questions

At the first event planning meeting, review your previous event outline (the who, what & whys) as well as your budget to actual expenses and consider how your event fits into the bigger picture of your organization.  Look at your event as part of an overall annual planning calendar. Consider all your events and activities together, then consider their relevance to mission, importance, success, etc. Talk with one another about how this event fits into your calendar and make a priorities list for 2018. Those that don’t meet your mission, are duplicative or still need baby steps to grow, need to be scheduled accordingly, sometimes even round-filing into the trash can.

Try to step back and look at your event from an outsider perspective, focusing on how your event is perceived not how to plan or produce it. If you can comfortably gather information from past attendees, try to let their eyes show you something you may have easily missed. Obvious sights and smells like over-flowing trash cans might get missed by volunteers but you can bet a pedestrian who has to take a wide berth, will let you know.

Make events successful over the long term by looking at the details of the planning process, how seamless your activities fit into a timeline. Consider how many volunteers will be needed for each tasks and seek quotes from paid providers when holes appear. There are always opportunities for improvement!

I love to help Main Street associations build community through events, especially using stress-free tools like event evaluations.

About Bridget Bayer

Bridget Bayer is an author and community organizer working to create vibrant main street business districts that support local economies. Bridget believes shared activities are a catalyst for positive change. Her professional work fosters community involvement by creating shared events that enhance communication, develop shared interests and support existing and start-up non-profit organizations. At home, Bridget focuses on innovative ecological practices, hates waste and dependably finds ways to eliminate it. After 25 years in the restaurant industry, she still loves to cook especially with locally sourced veggies including those homegrown from her garden. Bridget, the first mate on Ama Natura, lives on a floating home on the Columbia River in Portland with Peter Wilcox, instigator of the Inside Passage Decarbonization Project, and the lovely Luna, her favorite cat.

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One thought on “Event Evaluation Review Makes Planning Stress-Free

  • Moira Green

    Thanks for this great article, Bridget. I’ve found that asking past attendees for their evaluations was particularly helpful. Often, through this feedback, we learned about relatively little tweaks that made a big difference to our events. There’s a lot of great advice here about how to make an event the best it can possibly be and for me, it requires being open to constructive criticism. Sometimes that’s a challenge.