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Event evaluation and reporting

The final stage of events management is the evaluation of the events outcomes and the processes employed to achieve set outcomes. The fundamental purpose of event evaluation is to identify positive and negative practices with a view to improving future performance, whether this is in terms of financial performance, environmental impacts or the overall operation of the event.

If specific aims and objectives were set at the outset of the planning process, then evaluation will also seek to establish whether those targets have been met and if not then why? The other purpose of evaluation is a reporting mechanism, to gather data to allow feedback to different stakeholders involved in the event relative to their interests. For example, the local council and retailers association may be interested in the number of people who attended the event and where they came from i.e. the proportion from the local community and those from further afield.

One key issue to remember is that evaluation is not something which happens at the end of the event, it must be incorporated into the planning of the event, so resources are allocated, the correct questions are asked and data collected. Key questions you should ask include what data is needed e.g. visitor numbers, financial data, satisfaction, motivations, etc? Related to the events objectives what are the key performance indicators? How, when and by who is the data to be gathered e.g. observation, surveys, questionnaires, before, during or after? How is it to be analysed e.g. by themes or issues or statistical analysis? What format will be used in the final reporting, for example debriefing meetings or a final report covering all areas? You also need to consider who will be interested in the event and its outcomes? For example the venue, sponsors, Monmouthshire Council, Visit Wales, media – local/national, special interest?

Once you have answered the above questions you can begin to collect the appropriate data and feed it into your subsequent analysis. Examples of factual data you may collect include:

  • Sales figures – tickets, merchandise, catering, auction, raffle, etc.
  • Timing of sales
  • Number and value of sponsors
  • Number of flyers, adverts, posters, press releases and PR, media utilised, etc.
  • Accidents, complaints, etc. reported.
  • Adherence to schedules (event planning, implementation and promotion).
  • No. of exhibitors / retailers / concessions.
  • Financial reports and accounts.
  • Visitor and participant statistics – attendance, profiles (exit surveys, tickets collected, etc).

As evaluation is also about process and more subjective elements you can also gather data from the following:

  • Questionnaires and exit surveys - see example attendee, volunteertemporary vendor and local business questionnaires.
  • Focus groups and interviews
  • De-briefing sessions – venue, staff, contractors
  • Performer feedback
  • Venue feedback
  • Observation and word of mouth
  • Media reports and publicity
  • Social networking and interest websites

Evaluation may take a fairly basic form comparing key facts and figures on this years event with last years or it could involve a much more complex analysis of impacts arising from the event. Such is the potential complexity of event evaluation it is advisable to seek specialist advice on this matter perhaps through a consultancy or university research department. A wealth of information on event evaluation in terms of areas to evaluate and methods of evaluation can be found on the Events Impacts website -

Whatever form your evaluation takes and the measures you choose to focus upon you should always seek to generate some outcomes from the evaluation process which could encompass some or all of the following.

  • Report/s on event outcomes for distribution to stakeholders.
  • Report to the media on outcomes and achievements.
  • Recommendations for refinements and improvements to be carried forward to next event.
  • Thanks to staff, participants and other stakeholders for support.

Events Management Toolkit Contents

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