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Here are some guidelines for evaluation of events to help you assess what worked, what didn’t work and where improvements can be made.

Opportunities for evaluation

There are many places or moments during and after events when you can collect feedback.  Here’s a couple of examples.

1. Survey at an event

  • Conduct a survey or provide feedback forms during the event. Ask people what they liked about your event and what they think could be improved.
  • If you do intend to conduct a survey, the venue or landowner should be consulted prior to the event.
  • Ask people attending the event if they know who the sponsors are. If large numbers of people associate the sponsor with the event, this will prove valuable when renegotiating sponsorships for the following year.

2. Debriefing

Casual debriefing:

  • You can engage in debriefing very casually at an event or in meeting places or walking home from an event.
  • What is in fact a debriefing may appear to the participant simply a conversation and exchange of ideas.

More formal debriefing:

  • To be of benefit, debrief as soon after the events as possible.
  • For a debrief meeting include as many people as possible who were involved in the event. This might include staff, regulatory authorities, volunteers, emergency services, etc.
  • Invite participants to the debrief meeting well in advance of the proposed date so people have the date in their diaries.
  • Circulate an agenda that covers the key areas for discussion (even if there are only a few questions).
  • If you send the agenda/questions beforehand, people can prepare their feedback for the meeting.

3. Evaluation sheet to all key stakeholders

  • You could send out an evaluation sheet to all key stakeholders (especially those who can’t attend the debrief).
  • You could seek feedback from suppliers, performers, venue managers and security guards as well as those directly involved with coordinating the event.

Guidelines for debriefing

These guidelines are relevant regardless of the size of the group or project/participants. The same approach can be applied to a small project involving only three or four people or a project involving a large number of people and multiple projects.

Facilitator role:

  • There should be a facilitator—someone who leads the discussion (not the organiser).
  • The facilitator or Australia Day organiser prepares a set of questions.
  • The task of facilitator is not to present his/her own opinion but to create a possibility for all participants to contribute their ideas and feelings.
  • The facilitator needs to make acceptable practice clear (e.g. to make sure there are no personal attacks on people).
  • The facilitator has to ‘keep an eye open’ to make sure individuals are not sitting passively and not getting off the track.
  • The facilitator should acknowledge time constraints while also assuring group that their contributions are important.

Key questions

Two key questions can be very effective in structuring a debriefing:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go well?

Within each key question you can ask:

  • Why did things happen?
  • What will we do differently and better next time?
  • How can we use this information?

Guidelines for reports

You may like to consider writing a formal report about your Australia Day celebrations. This will be particularly useful if you are required to report back to your local council, sponsors or supporters. Each community and event is different, so every Australia Day report will be different. Here is a suggestion of how you might lay out a report, and a sample report. However, it is up to you to decide what elements you think we be most useful for you to include.

 

Australia Day Report template

 

1. OVERVIEW

Focuses on context and organisation; on the ‘nuts and bolts’ features.

  • Australia Day Organiser’s objectives
  • Governance
  • Australia Day Program
  • Budget and sponsorship

 

2. PROGRAMS

Details programs and initiatives of the states or territories or the National Australia Day body.

List and give a brief account of programs, for example

  • Sports awards
  • Local Government Awards
  • Ambassadors Program

 

3. EVENTS

Describes the local Australia Day events-name, place, time, atmosphere, scale. It describes the events that bring people together at the local level.

Events specific to this community

  • Citizenship and Flag Raising
  • Australia Day lunch
  • List a brief account of event.

 

4. RECOMMENDATIONS

This section records the successes, changes and suggestions for future events and programs. List between 5 and 15 recommendations, depending on the scale of your event.