There are several reasons to do surveys. You can collect information to help you make the event better next year. You can also learn something about your attendee demographics. Finally, you can use them to collect testimonials and data you can use to advertise next year’s festival.
Some things you might want to learn from attendee surveys:
- Where people heard about the event. This can help you find the best ways to use your advertising dollars in the future.
- Demographic information like age, diet, etc.
- Ratings for different parts of the festival.
- Comments and suggestions attendees have for next year.
- Collect contact info from attendees in order to solicit donations from them.
We do have a few tips for survey desing:
- Don’t offer too many choices for ratings. A lot of surveys allow for ratings from 1-10. Our experience suggests that the vast majority of ratings will be a 1 or 7-10. If you offer fewer choices you’ll get a clearer picture of how people felt. We recommend offering four choices.
- Don’t ask people to give a numeric rating. Some people will get confused about whether 1 or 4 is best, even if you print directions. Use words like “poor”, “fair”, “good”, and “excellent”.
- Don’t ask people whether they are vegan, vegetarian, etc. People will mis-report this. Instead, ask them how often they eat various animal products and use that to determine their diet.
- Keep it as simple as possible. You might be tempted to ask 20 or 30 questions. Don’t do that. People will give up and not fill out the whole thing, or they may simply not return the survey at all.
We also recommend that you do exhibitor and sponsor surveys. Just like with attendees, this can give you useful data for next year, and you might get some positive testimonials for future advertising to exhibitors and sponsors. Keep these even shorter than the attendee survey. Your exhibitors are likely to be very busy people who might balk at filling out a long survey.
For Twin Cities Veg Fest, we offered attendees a print survey at the event. In order to encourage attendees to fill out the survey, we have used surveys as a raffle entry for a post-event raffle where we mail prizes to winners.
We also offered an online survey for attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors. We used SurveyMonkey for this, though Google Forms is also a good option. Survey Monkey has a free plan which may be sufficient for your needs, although that plan only allows ten questions per survey and does not allow you to download the data in Excel format. Google Forms is also free and does not have these limitations.
You can see our surveys online: