So many of us shy away from assessing programs because we imagine the way it’s always done- a survey where you circle numbers, or check boxes, and give a lot of information with little return on our time investment. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! When you make it easy for people to share their thoughts and feedback, you will find that their answers are more robust and helpful. Here, I’ll share a few ideas for how you might do that:

THIS OR THAT?

Force people to take a side, and you’ll likely get some strong opinions. Coke or Pepsi. Beyonce or Rihanna. One Direction or 5SOS. The options and forced choices go on and on. How can you operationalize that natural willingness to chime in? At the end of an event, class, or initiative, prompt your participants to share a takeaway or suggestion…and then place it in a bowl or jar. From there, you have the feedback you need…and the overall opinion of the group on some of life’s biggest questions.

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IMAGE CREDIT: Reddit

POST-IT GRAPHS

How did this workshop go, on a scale of terrible to awesome? Yes, you can send an email afterward and hope to capture the thoughts they left in the room, or flip through lots of survey sheets. Or, you can get a great visual representation of the room’s take on a topic. As a bonus, encourage participants to share a critique or bit of feedback, regardless of placement on the graph, to provide additional insight.

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IMAGE CREDIT: Scholastic

COMPARING STUDENT EXPERIENCES, APPLES TO APPLES

We’ve all been there: someone asked us a question, and the words to answer it just didn’t come. But one way to get around this loss for words- provide them! At the close of an event, set up a “photo booth” or encourage selfies be posted to a hashtag. Place out the green (adjective) cards and request participants take a photo while holding the card that answers the question. As an example: “choose one word to describe your experience at this event,” or “choose a word to describe your experience signing up for this event.”

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IMAGE CREDIT: Doris V

Any or all of these three methods could serve as a fun way to find out what people think about your work, while making it fun for them to volunteer the important information that could help you improve. What other methods have you used to get feedback on your events or initiatives?

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