7.3. Event Follow-up
Survey your attendees to improve offline events and sustain online contributions to your project.
Design a survey around your event to help plan next steps for your project
Plans for convening and facilitating a face-to-face event in support of your project
An internet-connected computer, an online survey tool, access to your GitHub project repo
- Organizing for Action After an Event
- Survey Examples
- Assignment: Create Your Survey and Plan for Delivery and Review
Organizing for Action After an Event
When you organize attendees as part of an event or after it ends, you help contributors and community members find ways to remain engaged with the project and continue its work.
Organizing people to contribute to your project happens before, during, and after the event, but it’s especially important to take what you learn from events and other interactions with contributors to improve the ways you work together. Organizing is equal parts project-management, relationship-management, and delegation. Organizing in the open lets you and your community come to consensus on who should do what according to their capacities, interests, and skills. By paying attention to your community members as an organizer, you can observe their strengths and craft invitations for them to use those talents in “best fit” ways to help the project.
Observing contributors at in-person, or face-to-face (F2F), events is a great way to learn how they self-organize, learn, and relate to others. It can also give you a sense of their prefered workflows, lines of communication, and ways to be recognized for their work. The more you learn about how your community functions, the better able you’ll be to organize people for action through your project.
Heading out of your event, here are questions you can use as a checklist for organizing contributors and next steps.
- How will you track work coming out of the event?
- How will you gather feedback on the event itself?
- How can you help attendees stay in touch to continue their face-to-face collaboration online?
- How can you make the work of the event accessible to people who did not attend?
- How will you recognize contributions made at the event?
- How will make sure that you collect feedback in an accessible and inclusive way?
- How will you accommodate participants’ privacy decisions in collecting survey data?
Your post-event survey should have three main goals:
- Find out what people learned or did not learn.
- Discover ways to improve future events.
- Determine next steps for your project.
You can find sample surveys below.
Feel free to design and hack on your questions offline before picking an online platform for delivering your survey. You want to find a polling or survey platform that lets respondents make their own choices about how much information to give you in addition to their answers. It’s better to err on the side of privacy and security than to require too much personal information. Just be sure to include an email address or other communications channel somewhere in the survey so people who want to make specific requests - like to manage part of the project - have a way to contact you directly.
Also in your survey, be clear about things like whether or not people can see one another’s responses or whether or not they can see to whom else you sent the survey. Your community needs to know, in an open way, who sees what so that individuals can make their own decisions about privacy and participation.
Finally, set a deadline for responses so you can move ahead in planning or organizing next steps of your project. It’s a good idea to schedule a reminder email or two before that deadline, as well.
Here’s part of a survey shared to participants at the end of a web literacy training for the National Afterschool Alliance. You can visit the survey online and make a copy to remix it.
Notice that it mixes and matches question types. As you develop your questions and survey, think about which questions are answerable with multiple-choice or a scale. Make the survey as short and easy as possible to complete to encourage people to finish it. Ask just a few, essential, open ended questions with text boxes so recipients aren’t overwhelmed by the survey.
Here’s another example, from a GitHub training, that mixes and matches scales with text boxes for comments on each answer. This is another survey you can copy in Google Drive and remix for your event.
Assignment: Create Your Survey and Plan for Delivery and Review
After you have the chance to debrief on your event and see participants’ survey responses, make a checklist of next steps as a GitHub issue others can comment on in the open. List the tasks that people have suggested or self-selected and cc or @ contributors alongside the particular pieces of work that interest them. Assign yourself as the organizer for the ticket, encourage everyone involved to comment on work being done or work that’s complete, keep the checklist up-to-date, and close the issue when all its goals are met.
Create separate GitHub issues for especially complex or multi-step follow-up tasks, as well as for tasks that you want to delegate to community members. Assign yourself as an organizer for “unclaimed” work, but assign volunteer contributors as organizers for work delegated to them. Help those volunteer organizers manage the issues by asking for updates through comments and asking people at work on the issue to share their progress and to keep the checklist up to date.
However, if you wind up with 50 issues and only 5 or 6 contributors working on them at any given time, you and your team might feel overwhelmed by the work ahead. As project lead, take time to prioritize issues and help contributors find manageable tasks they can complete. Help them feel good about the work and its progress while you work through the best way to manage the total number of issues active at once and how to solve the trickiest ones together.
Encourage organizers to close these issues once their tasks have been completed.
Of course, you don’t need to spin up a huge checklist with a million sub-issues ticketed for small events or discrete tasks. In this case, coming up with a checklist like this might be just the thing to keep event follow-up manageable and encourage volunteers to take on discrete tasks they can quickly complete for the community.
* [ ] Draft survey. * [ ] Get feedback on survey - ask which questions are unnecessary and if any are missing. * [ ] Revise survey. * [ ] Send survey to mailing list from the event. * [ ] Tally results. * [ ] Double check results to remove any private information. * [ ] Report aggregate results on a GH issue in this repo. * Close the loop: cite your results and use them when you plan your next event.next: Documenting & Reporting