There is not a way around it -- events are a TON of work. So make sure it is worth the effort you and your team put into it and get these attendees engaged!
Let’s jump ahead into the future. Everybody’s gone, your feet hurt, the staff is celebrating. All went spectacularly well and you had a great turnout. But will you ever see those people again? Talk to them again? Will they volunteer? Donate?
Often we put a great deal of time into the event without a plan for keeping our attendees engaged. Let's change that! Remember, engagement happens before, during and after the event.
Make sure the juice is worth the squeeze!
TIPS to Engage Attendees:
- Plan for post event follow-up before the event. This should be on your task list and timeline for the event. And do as much prep prior as you can -- write emails, record videos, put together mailing lists, etc.
- Communicate immediately after the event (within 24 hours ideally) to attendees. Reach them while they are still excited. Thank them, share photos, ask them to engage on social media.
- Ask for feedback. A short poll or survey is good (favorite part of the event, did they learn more about the organization, what would they like to see changed about the event, etc). This keeps them engaged and gives you helpful insight.
- Invite them to other events. This should happen at the event and afterwards by inviting people to other events, programs, showcases, rallies, etc. Make sure they are saving the dates and know they are welcome.
- Offer ways to stay involved. This too should happen at the event and after. Offer ways they can volunteer, donate, be an ambassador, etc. They want to know how else they can help, so tell them!
- Stay in touch on a regular basis, but keep it short. Make sure to add attendees to your mailing list (sounds obvious but is often overlooked) and keep them up to date with happenings-- but remember, attention spans are short so be concise and use images.
- Debrief with your team while it is still fresh. Successes? Challenges? Run the numbers on time and money spent and discuss if you got good bang for the buck. If not, discuss how to improve.