All event coordinators know how the steps go when planning an off-site event:
- Pick a date
- Choose a speaker
- Get a rockin' band
- Market the event
- Get people to sign up
- Order some fun t-shirts
- Hold the event
- Sleep for a day straight
Now what?! I mean you are the event planner – you planned the event.
You are the event leader – you led the event.
No one said anything about you being the post-event follow up'er!
Well start with getting some feedback. You want to get some constructive advice from attendees by having them fill out an evaluation about their experience. Make sure to give this evaluation sooner than later, or else participants begin forgetting details and 'averaging out' their responses based on a total experience. Also remember, people want to please and tend to give you higher marks than you deserve! People are also busy and don't always take the time to write additional comments unless they are very angry or very happy. So to follow up a written evaluation, do a 'think tank' with some of the attendees. If you are a youth leader, use 15 minutes of the next youth group session to let everyone share and talk about their experiences; of course you will need to play facilitator to keep the conversation focused and off which boys were cutest!
Ok so we got our feedback, going to grow from it, and put on an even better event next time! But have you thought about some spiritual follow up to your event?! Your participants have been on a spiritual high at the event with amped up worship, inspiring speakers, and heart wrenching prayer sessions; now they return home to jobs, families, responsibilities, and ultimately distractions. Have a special service to allow for prayer and testimonials from the event, so your attendees' renewed spirit isn't totally extinguished by life. Doing this at a larger service can even promote your event for next year among those that didn't attend!
Final thing to think about in your role as post-event follow up'er, start promoting and marketing for next year. Yes it is a year away and who cares BUT most events do begin their marketing 9-18 months out – 'the early bird gets the word'. Start by using this year's attendees as walking billboards:
* Shirts or memorabilia they are wearing – Nothing works like exclusivity, only people who attended were able to get this one-of-a-kind cool shirt, etc.
* Social media posts about the event – Retweet and Like your attendees pictures and posts about the event to show just how awesome it was
* Word of Mouth – let the attendees gossip to each other about how great your event was!
Get your dates picked early and have everyone black the dates out so no interferences. Have an early registration discount ore incentive to get attendees committed to next year. And finally never stop talking about the positive experiences that came from the event, this will make people curious to attend to see what all the talk is about!