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 an event feedback survey 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 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.

Event feedback survey 101

An event feedback survey is a questionnaire organizations send 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 are event feedback surveys 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.

Pre-event surveys

Pre-event surveys can be send before an event to get an idea of how future attendees are feeling BEFORE an event happens. you can use these surveys to gauge:

  • What sessions they’re exited for
  • How they heard about the event
  • Why they’re attending / what they expect
  • How they found the registration process

Asking these questions in a post-event survey may make the answers less clear, depending on how early people are registering. You can use these questions to investigate how effective your marketing and promoting, and to see if the way you’re talking about your event ahead of time actually connects with prospective attendees.

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 event attendee feedback into the 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 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. 

 MemberClicks is an example of a software that comes complete with event and conference planning features. Centralize your planning, promotion, and assessment activities in one place. This kind of membership management software make it easy to plan and promote your upcoming event as well as track registatiion and communicate with attendees. Having all these features in one place makes it easier to assess the success of your events.

What questions should you include in an event feedback survey?

There are a lot of questions you can and should include in this type of feedback survey. Many of them depend on what type of event you held and what info you’re hoping to gain from your survey. Our complete list of event feedback questions will guide you through this question.

Event feedback surveys: Much needed and high value practice

If a post-event survey isn’t already a staple in your strategy, then it’s time to add it. Not only will it streamline feedback collection for your team, but it will most definitely help you plan better events in the future.