Evaluation and Review
While you are planning, it is important to think about how you will know whether it has been a success or not, this is called evaluating your activity or event. An evaluation is important for reporting to a board, funding body and, importantly, so that you know whether or not there are ways that you can improve.
Most evaluations rely on some sort of counting, for example, counting how many participants came or counting how many people were involved. When creating the evaluation questions it is important to think carefully about the purpose or goal of your activity or event. For example, if you were aiming to make the community healthier by getting them involved in a sport, you should count how many people actually participated, not just how many attended. If you are aiming to reduce alcohol consumption by running a drug and alcohol free concert, you should think about how you can tell if there was less alcohol consumed. This might mean asking the participants whether they would normally be drinking or not. If you are aiming to reduce crime, you could ask police if there was less crime while you were running your activity or event.
For many of these activities and events, you won’t be able to measure success by simply counting the number of people who attend and it is important that you are consistent in the way that you conduct your observations. If you want to see whether there are more (or fewer) people involved, it is important to remember to count in the same way each time. For example, if you run an after school group every day, count the number of people at the same time each week. That way, you won’t be comparing attendance at 3.30pm one day (when some kids haven’t left school) with attendance at 5pm other days. You might also notice different days of the week are busier than others.
Feedback from Clients
During your activity or event, it is important that you take some time to get relevant feedback from the participants to gauge their experience. When sourcing feedback it is important that you have more than just a chat with the participants. This will often result in good feedback but it is not a real indicator of how most of the participants felt about the activity or event. They are more likely to give honest feedback if they have the chance to give it anonymously which will require written or electronic feedback forms.
A feedback form is useful for reporting to funding bodies or boards and will also help you find out if there are any disputes or problems with your activity or event. Often people will complain to each other or to their parents before they will let the organisers know there is a problem. Asking for feedback makes it more likely that you discover issues as soon as possible so and the problem can then be resolved.
The disadvantage of written feedback forms is that very few people use them unless you strongly encourage them to do so and often people have trouble filling them in. Asking a volunteer to help people fill out the form will result in more responses and will help them to get more involved.
This sample activity evaluation is ready for you to give to clients after an activity or event.
Activity Evaluation Form (61 KB)