PCMA’s Catalyst community offers members a platform to ask each other questions, share ideas, or, as the website says, “communicate and collaborate.” Here’s a sampling from two recent Catalyst discussions.
“How are your teams increasing post-session survey response rates?” asked Jennifer Mammele, manager, conference & events, Merchant Advisory Group in the PCMA Catalyst forum. “After each session at our conference, we ask attendees to rate the session topic, speakers, length of session, etc. While we find this information extremely helpful for agenda planning for future conferences, we are not getting many responses. Open to any or all ideas you have!”
We struggle with this issue as well. We use Survey Monkey and have been sending it out immediately after the session ends. Next year, we are sending it out 30 minutes before the session ends. Our session scripts already mention that they will receive the survey and to please fill it out.
I also think it depends on the role/demographic of your audience. At our recent marketing & sales conference, the audience was comprised of marketing directors and above. This group gave us a whopping 62-percent response rate, which was incredible. This audience understands the importance of such data and cooperated with our request very easily.
However, the plant managers at our summer training session barely responded to our numerous requests. So, we went back to paper forms for the October conference and had them fill it out each day at the end of each session. It was a pain to process but we got near 100 percent each day of the workshop. This was a workshop of under 45 so it was easier to manage. I would not do paper for a larger group. The downside was processing all those sheets manually, but we got it done in less than three days. I’d still rather do electronic, though.
— Charles Papa, Senior Director Education and Events, Eventive Solutions LLC
“What are some budget-friendly ways to celebrate a big milestone like an association’s anniversary?” Stephanie Dumey, director of meetings at the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), posed that question to the Catalyst community in advance of AAA’s 35th anniversary this year. “We’ve talked about some typical ideas — balloon arch, cake, ice sculpture, etc. We may do a photo booth with fun props but wanted to see what else the association community has done.”
Dig up those old photos and post them where they can be seen! At [a former association] we posted them on the columns in the exhibit hall.
— Anne Carey, Association Meeting & Event Professional
When I was employed with the American Psychological Association (APA), we celebrated 125 years of being in business in the form of an outdoor block party. We partnered with food trucks that sold food to the employees as well as provided free popcorn and ice cream. We also rented life-size adult games like Jenga and tic-tac-toe and had a live jazz band to set the mood. We involved our CEO who said a few words to the crowd midway through the event. The Anniversary Block Party was well received and well attended.
— Carolyn Patterson-Kemper, M.S., CMP, DES, Vice President, Head of Events, Chevy Chase Trust