Live events have the power to bring a community closer together and inspire people. But if you’re not gathering feedback from people who attend your community events, even your best efforts might not be resonating with your audience.  

Gathering attendee feedback in a survey is the best way to understand the community you serve — and how your events can bring them closer together.

Read on to learn how to ask the right questions and use the best feedback collection methods to improve your community events.

Ask the right questions to gather helpful feedback

The key to gathering valuable insight from your community is in your survey questions. Ask the right ones, and you’ll learn exactly what needs to be done. Don’t and you’ll miss out on opportunities to improve your events.

To ask the right questions, let’s look at the different types of questions and how to use them.

Open-ended questions

Open-ended questions ask respondents to answer in their own words. Although these questions can help you gain deep insight into your attendees’ thoughts and feelings, the effort required to answer them is more significant than a multiple choice question.

These questions are also harder to analyze, as their answers can’t be easily turned into charts or graphs. But if you’re worried about missing out on qualitative feedback, here are two tips for asking open-ended questions in your survey:

  • Provide a comment box at the end of the survey for any other thoughts your respondents want to share.
  • Include “other” as a choice on multiple choice questions. This allows respondents to write in custom answers.

Multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions have a determined set of answers and allow respondents to choose multiple answers or just one answer. With a limited choice of answers (“Pick three”), respondents can provide feedback more easily — which will ultimately increase the number of people who complete the survey.

While this question type seems straightforward, there are some best practices you need to know before adding them to your survey:

  • Remind respondents if they must select “one” or if they can select “all that apply”
  • Always include a “none apply” option so respondents don’t get stuck with no options
  • Avoid list answers and dropdowns as they can be overwhelming
  • Randomize the order of multiple choice responses so that respondents aren’t biased to pick the first option

Interval scale questions

An interval scale is one of four types of scale questions. It asks respondents to rate how likely they are to do something on a scale of one to ten, with one being extremely unlikely and ten being extremely likely.

The Net Promoter Score is a common example of an interval scale question. It asks attendees “Between 0 and 10, how likely are you to recommend this event to someone else?”

  • Those who respond with 9 or 10 are your “promoters” — those who are most likely to tell others to come to your next event.
  • Attendees who give you a 7 or an 8 are your “passive respondents”— people who are fairly indifferent about your event.
  • Those who give you a 6 or below are considered your “detractors” — the people who are least likely to tell others to come to your next event.

Your event’s Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. This gives you a clear numerical value you can aim to improve on next time.

Choose the best survey method

How you gather feedback is just as important as the questions you ask. Let’s briefly evaluate two ways to survey attendees and demonstrate which is best for your community event.

In-person surveys

Recruiting staff or volunteers to directly ask for feedback during your community events is a simple, easy way to survey attendees. If the community you serve is not tech-savvy, this method is preferable to online surveys. Keep in mind that respondents may be hesitant to provide negative feedback face-to-face, so you may not get the critical feedback you need to improve.

Online surveys

Online survey tools like SurveyMonkey help you gather feedback more easily than in-person surveys. Since they’re online, you can send out your survey when their experience is still fresh in people’s minds and are still engaged enough to motivate them to participate. And because they can be answered anonymously, you’re more likely to get honest feedback from your community.

No matter which method you use, follow these tips to increase response rates and capture useful insights from your surveys:

  • Send it quickly: To get the best possible response rate, you need to act fast. Send your survey within 24 hours of the end of the event.
  • Keep it short: While you want to obtain feedback that’s specific enough to be useful, you don’t want to scare off respondents with too many questions.
  • Create a narrative: The questions in your survey should follow a natural order, leading respondents through your survey — much like the plot of a story.  

Combine survey results with your event data

When your survey results are combined with your event data, you’ll gain more actionable insights.

Say your Net Promoter Score dropped significantly since your last event. Analyzing the scores of new and returning attendees separately might tell you that returning community members were less enthusiastic than newer ones. Seeing this, you may want to evaluate recent changes to your community event or send a second survey to better understand their dissatisfaction.

Although this may seem like more work, it doesn’t have to be. If your ticketing platform integrates with other technologies this process can be streamlined. For example, Eventbrite offers a built-in extension to SurveyMonkey, letting you get feedback fast. In one click, you can easily gather and analyze attendee feedback.

Test it out for yourself by setting your next community event up on Eventbrite.

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