Evaluating your event

Evaluation is an important component of any event.

You have spent countless hours planning your event and ensuring it was a success on the day. But do you really know what people who attended the event thought?

By evaluating your event, you can reflect on the positives and the not so positive elements and consider changes for future events.

This page addresses the various methods and benefits of analysing your event using various forms of evaluation.

Do I really need to evaluate my event?

Evaluating your event provides feedback and opinion on what worked and didn’t work with your event for both those involved in its staging and those who participated or experienced it as spectators.

Everyone, from people involved in planning and implementation of your event, to stallholders, performers, sponsors, staff and the public should be consulted.

One of the most valuable uses for evaluation outcomes is using the data for seeking funding support for future events. Most funding bodies and sponsor organisations will use your evaluation to determine the impact and value of your event to the community. It can be a very powerful tool in demonstrating the success of your event and potential reach into the marketplace for sponsors or financial supporters.

What should be evaluated?

Evaluation should encompass all organisational steps from start to finish. This will help guarantee the accuracy of the findings.

Key elements you should consider evaluating include:

  • The economic impact of the event – were there financial benefits?

  • Media, publicity and advertising – did your event attract positive exposure? Did advertising work?

  • Tourism impact – were non-locals drawn to your event?

  • Local appreciation and enjoyment – did the community value and enjoy your event?

There may be other elements that could be considered for the evaluation of your event, depending on the nature and size of the event. These could include advertising, growth in memberships, sales or education. Again, consider the aims and objectives of your event and tailor your evaluation to suit.

How do I evaluate my event?

Evaluation of any event should be strongly influenced by the event’s aims and objectives. Evaluation should also include a variety of both quantitative and qualitative elements. For example: if the main aim of your event was to attract as many people as possible, a key quantitative evaluation factor would be the number of people the event attracted.

Evaluation should also include a qualitative question such as “did you enjoy the event?” or “would you attend again next year?”. Imagine an event that attracted a large crowd, but few people actually enjoyed themselves. Would they attend the event next year?

Evaluating your event can take many forms. The two main approaches are process evaluation and outcome evaluation.

  • Process evaluation is an ongoing strategy where you assess the regular activities coordinated in the leadup to your event. This can include media coverage, advertising and coordination by your organising group.

  • Outcome evaluation assesses people’s responses to your event and is the most commonly used form of evaluation. Types of outcome evaluation include vox-pops, surveys and post event meetings.

Both of these types of evaluation will provide you with practical feedback and there are advantages for applying either form. If you select only one form of evaluation, however, this will effect the information you receive.

After determining your approach, you need to consider how you are going to conduct your evaluation. Will you develop surveys? Has someone been nominated to collect media and advertising coverage? Are you planning on holding post-event focus sessions?

Who should complete evaluations?

To gain a complete perspective of opinions based on your event, your chosen form or forms of evaluation should encompass as broad a range of people as possible. For a typical public event, evaluation should be conducted with visitors, traders, exhibitors (local and non-local if applicable) and people involved in the organisation and running of the event. When conducting your evaluations, identify which group the person falls into. A visitor will respond differently from a trader.

It is also important for interviews to be random. People selected for interviewing should be picked by asking the next person, asking every tenth person through the gate or asking people at different places at the event. Avoid picking a male and then a female or asking an older person and then a younger one. This will manipulate your findings.

Presenting your evaluation findings

Present your evaluation findings in a report which should include:

  • The event’s aims and objectives – were they met?

  • Aspects of the event that were successful and not successful

  • Responses from organisers, traders, exhibitors and guests

  • A collection of the media your event attracted – print, advertising, radio and TV

  • Photographs of the event

  • Financial statements

  • A copy of the event program and any other publicity or promotional material produced

  • Decisions and ideas for future directions or events.

We have developed a proforma to assist event organisers capture relevant data to present their event evaluation.

Page last updated: Friday, 18 December 2020