Events are often a crucial part of many organizations’ calendars. They’re a common membership benefit and a cornerstone of many new member recruiting campaigns. But to ensure their success, you need insights to help you iterate and improve. That’s where event feedback surveys come in.

With an event feedback survey, organizations can get input from previous attendees to help assess an event’s strengths and weaknesses and improve future ones. One study showed that most event organizers (90%) already rely on feedback to gauge their attendees’ satisfaction

But how can you design a survey that effectively gets to the heart of what your attendees are really thinking? In this post, we’ll take a look at what an event feedback survey is, why it’s important, and 13 key questions to ask.

What is an Event Feedback Survey?

An event feedback survey is a questionnaire organizations deploy after an event to collect input about how it went. The hosts compile a list of questions (multiple choice, rating on a scale of one to five, or write-in comments) to understand how attendees received their event.

Why is an Event Feedback Survey Important?

Why put together an event feedback survey? Organizations often like to gauge the feelings of attendees in order to measure the event’s success. While organizations also lean on typical success metrics like the amount of revenue raised or number of people who showed up, feedback from attendees is also a crucial component of an event post-mortem. After all, you planned the event with that target audience in mind, so it’s a good idea to find out what they thought about it. 

With this important feedback, organizations can review it and then use it to improve future events.

13 Example Feedback Survey Questions to Ask Attendees

Choosing the right questions for your survey can impact whether you get high-impact insights from your attendees. If you don’t ask the right questions, you may not get the answers you need to help improve your next event. In order to help you get the feedback you need, we’ve curated this list of crucial questions:

  1. Please rate the following aspects of the event:
    (Interval scale question from very unsatisfactory to very satisfactory)
    1. Date and time
    2. Location
    3. Speakers
    4. Sessions
    5. Food and beverages
    6. Vendors
  2. What did you like most about the event? (Open-ended question)
  3. What did you like least about the event? (Open-ended question)
  4. How did you hear about the event? (Multiple choice question)
    1. Organization website
    2. Social media
    3. Newspaper ad
    4. Radio ad
    5. From another member (or word of mouth)
    6. Other (fill in the blank)
  5. What activities did you participate in during the event?
    (Multiple choice question based on the types of activities your organization offered)
  6. For a virtual event: Did you have any technical difficulties joining the event or participating in the activities?
    (Yes/no and provide space for attendees to elaborate)
  7. Did you make any networking connections during the event? (Yes/no question)
  8. How do you think this event could have been improved? (Open-ended question)
  9. Was this the first time you attended one of our events? (Yes/no question)
  10. Based on your experience at this event, how likely are you to attend future events? (Provide a scale like below)
    1. Very likely
    2. Somewhat likely
    3. Not sure/Neutral
    4. Probably not
    5. Not likely
  11. What topics would you like to see discussed at future events? (Open-ended)
  12. How likely are you to recommend our events to a friend/colleague? (Provide a scale like the one below)
    1. Very likely
    2. Somewhat likely
    3. Not sure/Neutral
    4. Probably not
    5. Not likely
  13. Do you have any other suggestions or comments to help us improve our future events? (Open-ended question)

It’s important to frame your questions in the right way and use simple language. You don’t want questions to be too confusing or convoluted for people to answer quickly. Keep it sweet and simple. And where possible, pose questions that will give you a good mix of qualitative and quantitative data.

When sending out your survey, you don’t need to ask every question on the list above. Choose the questions that best suit the feedback you’re trying to get from attendees. After all, sending an overly long survey is a surefire way to decrease the number of responses you get.

Tips for Sending Your Event Feedback Survey

Compiling the right questions for your survey is only part of the equation. You’ll also need to be strategic about when, how, and to whom you send your questionnaire.

To guide you as you prep your survey to send, here are a few tips to ensure you get the best responses possible:

  • Send your survey to the right audience. Ensure you’re getting feedback from actual attendees. Consult your list of attendees who checked in at your event or pull your list of those who RSVPed from your membership management database.
  • Incentivize participation. Your attendees’ time is valuable, and they likely receive dozens of emails daily (in addition to your potential survey). Reward people who take the time to respond to your survey with an incentive like a gift card, an entry into a drawing with a larger prize, or a discount code for membership dues.
  • Use the right tool to send your survey. The easiest way (and most convenient for your members) to deploy your survey is via email. Create a simple questionnaire with a tool like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, then use your membership management software to email your survey to all your members who attended your event. You can also send the questionnaire link via your branded social media channels. One recent survey showed that 38% of people already use social media as a feedback mechanism for events.

Incorporate Attendee Feedback into Your Next Event

Now that you have feedback from your attendees, you’ll also need to collect, organize, and implement all that valuable input.

To guide you through the process of gathering and incorporating feedback, here are a few tips to get you started once you’ve received your attendee responses:

  • Vet and organize your feedback. Once you’ve received responses to your survey, sort all the feedback into categories such as feedback on specific aspects (the food, the speaker panel) or suggestions that improve your next event (like changing the venue) versus long term ideas (like turning a successful networking event into a full conference). Note any insights or suggestions that multiple attendees left and try to prioritize those when possible. 
  • Store your feedback in a central place. Leverage your membership management database to capture and bank your insights from attendees. You can tie feedback directly to the members who provide it and also make it easy to search for and find.
  • Lean on the right tools to plan and assess events. Use a platform like MemberClicks that comes complete with event and conference planning features that centralizes your planning, promotion, and assessment activities in one place. Not only does this kind of membership management software make it easy to plan and promote your upcoming event, but you can also quickly (and digitally) check attendees in on-site, upgrade the attendee experience with a customized conference app, and analytics tools that allow you to pull reports on your attendees. Having all these features in one place makes it easier to assess the success of your events.

Moving Forward With Your Own Event Feedback Survey

Now that you’re empowered with the right info to deploy your own event feedback survey, you can start gathering insights from your members and attendees. 

If you want a little extra help planning your next event or conference, check out our complete guide for associations. You can also check out our 8 tips for event planning for additional guidance when organizing any upcoming events for your organization.