Event Evaluation

Easter celebrations are behind us and summer planning is in full swing. Many of these events happen yearly (like vacations, field trips, Vacation Bible School, camp, etc.). This post explains how to save yourself a lot of trouble the next time around. The key to minimizing mounting stress and trouble when planning major events is planning. Yes, for some that is a dirty word, but it doesn't have to be. I tell people I'm organized out of self defense. It's true. I got tired of stressing out because I couldn't find x, y, z or because a project snuck up on me and I had to rush to get everything done sacrificing sleep and sanity in the process. I got tired of discovering I was supposed to be in two places at once because I forgot a prior commitment. I got tired of crashing from exhaustion following an event or project I'd sprinted to prepare. I finally had enough, so I started planning and organizing. You can too. You don't have to be one of those hyper-organized people on YouTube with a pantry that looks like a chest of drawers (though I sometimes envy those with that kind of commitment and discipline). Just take it one step at a time. For example, after one big event this summer (vacation, camp, or whatever), ask yourself four simple questions and write down the answers. Put them with somewhere you know you will see it next time you begin planning that event. CAUTION: Don't hide your notes in "a safe place." We all know that means you'll never see it again. Instead, think about how you started preparing for the event. How did you start? How can you connect your notes with that starting place? Now that you know where to put your notes, here is what you write down.

1. What went well?

What worked well in your planning and preparation process? What went well during the event itself? What positive outcomes came out of this event? What good reactions did you see? This is a chance to remember why you did this in the first place. Save negative comments for later and just focus on the positive.

2. What didn't work well?

This is not a chance for a tirade. Keep it constructive. Did it rain and you weren't prepared? Make a note that you need a rainy day plan and move on. The idea is to find the holes in your planning, preparation, and the event itself. What needs to be fixed or addressed in advance the next time around?

3. What would you do differently next time?

It's time to get practical. Is there something that kind of worked that you'd like to see different next time around? Would there be benefits to seeking a different venue for a similar event? Did someone have an idea that would make the next event even better? Is there something that needs to be omitted next time?

4. What supplies, backup plans, etc. would you like to have next year?

Make a list. What do you need next time you do this event? You can include what you used this time as well as additional items. For example, I got tired of always forgetting something when I travel. So now I have a packing list. Since that list was too long and overwhelming, I created kits to make it easier. I keep all my bathroom items permanently in a travel bag. I just pull out what I need to use each day and then put it back. Now when I travel, I just grab my bathroom bag and I know I have all I need there. Done. I hope this is helpful for you. What tips do you have for families and churches planning events?
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