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Survey Says...

Posted on Thu, January 1,2015 @ 16:02 PM

ABC customers come from all corners of the country, vary from Fortune 500 firms to faith-based organizations, and use our online registration software for everything from cooking classes to computer programming. Yet, they all share a common goal – providing a service of value to the registrants of their programs.


Obviously, the registrants’ experience is important enough to each of you that you’ve invested in a registration system to facilitate an easier process for participants. That same system, moreover, offers a simple tool that – when used properly – can help you further increase the value of the programs you deliver.

It’s labeled “Evaluation Form” within ABC Signup. This function allows you to create surveys that can garner feedback from your program participants. You can find specific instruction on how to set up an evaluation form in the Help section or here: Home > Event Set-up > Evaluation Form > Creating an Evaluation Form.

Before you build your evaluation or broader survey, however, consider eight key steps to make the most of the opportunity.
  1. Clearly define the objectives or purpose of your evaluation/survey
  2. Properly introduce the questionnaire and its instructions
  3. Keep it short and focused
  4. Make the questions simple, and closed-ended when possible
  5. Consider your audience
  6. Pre-test your survey
  7. Consider offering an incentive
  8. Don’t spam your constituents
To elaborate on step #1, a good evaluation or survey with good objectives and questions is more likely going to deliver good, actionable results. Ask why you are creating the survey, what you hope to accomplish and what decisions you hope to impact with its results. Per online survey provider Zoomerang, fuzzy goals lead to fuzzy (and often useless) results.

Survey Monkey, another online service, stresses the importance of a good introduction (step #2) that includes:
  • an introduction of the organization conducting the evaluation/survey;
  • confidentiality information and how the survey data will be used;
  • an estimate of how long the survey might take;
  • information on any incentive or prize for taking the survey; and
  • instructions on how to move through the survey.
The KISS principle (perhaps subbing “specific” for “stupid”) applies to surveys and steps #3 and #4 above. Survey service provider QuestionPro suggests limiting a survey’s length to a maximum of five minutes – which equates to roughly 15 questions – or risk greatly diminished participation. Those questions need to be specific, straightforward, relevant, and closed-ended whenever possible. If you use multiple choices or rating scales, keep them consistent throughout, says Zoomerang. Here is a quick run-down on types of survey questions.

Considering your audience (step #5) is mostly a reminder to keep it relevant. Create evaluation or survey questions that make sense to your constituents and elicit useful responses. Also, do note that the closeness of your relationship to the survey audience directly correlates to the response rate you can expect.

One of the most important steps of the survey process is the pre-test (step #6). Send the survey to a few clients or co-workers to evaluate the survey’s wording, ensure the questions mean the same thing to all, get a sense if the results are “actionable” and determine the actual time it takes to complete.

Unfortunately, you can follow steps #1-#6 to perfection and get so few responses that your survey is ineffective. Think about your own experience – how much more likely are you to respond to a survey if there is a prize or incentive offered? Zoomerang says 50% more likely. Consider creative ideas (step #7) to encourage participation. For many ABC Signup customers, it is as simple as including a check box that says participants will not get their certificates (of completion) unless they complete the evaluation.

Finally, don’t just spam your survey to an e-mail or mailing list (step #8), and don’t send surveys to the same audience repeatedly. Make sure your target audience has opted in to receive information from you. If you aren’t sure, ask. And don’t forget to thank participants for their time.

If you have any questions on setting up post-event evaluations or surveys, please contact us.

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