Your event is over, phew! It was a whirlwind. So much happened, especially leading up to event day. It’s easy at this point to close the book and not think about it until it comes time to ramp up for another year-it’s certainly tempting to do so! After all that work to make the event a success, the last thing you probably want to do is spend more time, but don’t close this chapter just yet.
We put together a brief list of final tasks to wrap up your event on a high note, and to make your next event even better.
Congratulations Are in Order!
That’s right, the first thing to do is give yourself a pat on the back-you did it! Directing an event isn’t easy and it’s no small feat to add to your list of accomplishments, but don’t forget to thank your staff and your volunteers. No one puts on an event alone, and your staff and volunteers will be glad to know that their work was not only appreciated, but an integral part of making the event happen. If your staff and volunteers feel appreciated, they will come back for next year’s events, and they may bring family and friends.
Luckily, thanking volunteers isn’t hard! You can always give volunteers a heartfelt thank you at the end of your event, but it’s also a great idea to send out a personal message before and after the event. If you used an athleteReg platform to register volunteer positions, you can use the ‘Email All Participants’ tool to reach out to your volunteers specifically to say, ‘Thank You’.
Survey and Participant Thank Yous
After you have thanked your staff and volunteers, it’s time to thank your participants. Participants are the bread and butter of your event, so it’s important to reach out and send a thank you, even if it’s quick. This is also an excellent opportunity to send out a short survey to see what people thought, but don’t go nuts! Research has shown that people are much more likely to complete and submit surveys if they are short, and the answer choices are easy, so no more than five questions and multiple choice is preferred. You can always leave room at the bottom for people to write extra thoughts, if they have them.
Take a Break
You may have felt like you were caught in the fray up to and including your event day, but now it’s time to take a breath, and step back for some perspective. Give yourself a few days to decompress before you dive in to analyze how your event went. You’ll come back with fresh eyes.
Once you feel centered and things have returned to normal, it’s time to reflect on how everything went. Catalog the things you think went well in your event and event planning, and the things that didn’t. In the list of things that didn’t go as well as you hoped, make sure you differentiate between things that you could control, and things that you couldn’t. It’s important not to beat yourself up for things out of your control, like weather. Instead, look critically at the things that went wrong that were in your control.
How could the situation or circumstance have been improved?
What could you have done differently?
Make a note and put those thoughts aside for your next event. No event runs snag-free, but looking back at them and reflecting on how to handle them differently will make you better prepared for next year.
Now look at the good! It’s important to make both lists, good and could-have-been better, as you don’t want the few things that went wrong to overshadow all the things that went right. Sure, someone may have had a poor experience, but there were probably many more people who had a good experience. Perform the same exercise on this list of good things that you did to the list of things that didn’t go as planned. On things that went particularly well, why did they go well? Think about how you can put systems, processes, and people in place to make more of those good things happen at your next event.
If you can go through this checklist, believe it or not, you are already started on your next event’s planning phase! Even if you close the book here, you can come back to your next event with perspective, and fresh eyes.