Just as it's important to get all the details right before your event, it's also equally important to collect feedback, evaluate the planning process, investigate the attendees' experience, and reconnect with planning partners after the event.
Give your team a day or two to recoup, but while the event is fresh on your mind, schedule a 1-1.5 hour debriefing meeting a day or two after your event. This amount of time should be enough to fully evaluate the event without over thinking it.
Every volunteer event planner should keep these 3 simple steps for conducting an event debriefing meeting on hand.
1. Start with a summary
Your team will want to hear the results of the event—the very thing they’ve worked so hard on—so begin your meeting with a presentation of the event itself.
Here are some of the things you should prepare in advance to share:
- A video or a slideshow of photos
- The final numbers—how many people attended, total staff, and how many people served as volunteers
- Total funds generated
- General feedback from attendees (Remember to send out an online post-event survey to all attendees!)
- A few exciting or moving stories about the event—anecdotes are OK! You may even want to consider opening up the floor for team members to share.
2. Move to the review
Here's where the rubber meets the road.
During this time, ask and answer specific questions about the event and all its granular details. Taking time to analyze the answers will help you know how to do things better in the future. Also, use this time to look over aggregate answers from post-event attendee evaluations.
Try out—or tailor—one of these debriefing templates and checklists to fit your specific event:
Here are a few other questions to ask your team:
- What were our original event objectives? Were they met?
- Were there any problems encountered before, during, or after the event? If so, what were they? (Think registration, tech, budget constraints, goals, marketing, food, etc.)
- Did those problems get solved? How? Was the provided solution effective?
- Was your individual role in the event production process clear to you from the outset?
- What were some triumphs at our event? Who or what was responsible for them? How can we replicate that success in the future?
- How effective and efficient was our registration process?
- How did we utilize technology at this event? Was the tech we used easy to use?
- What would you like to see happen next year at this event?
Here are more tips from eventmanagerblog.com that will help you to better debrief your event.
3. End with a plan
You've reviewed the event from start to finish. You understand what went well and what needs improvement. It's vital that this GREAT information is incorporated into next year's event.
To make sure this happens, write up a detailed account of everything discussed and put the document in a place where all team members can access it—Google Docs is a great option. It should be filed in a way that's easily found so that it can be referenced during the planning process for next year's event.
This is also the time to make your timeline for next year—before everyone leaves set a date for your first planning meeting for next year's event.
One more thought: delight your team
Your planning committee was vital in pulling off the event, so remember to say thank you! Being a volunteer yourself, you understand how vital their time, energy, and assistance is to the success of the event. You can never thank a volunteer too much.