3 Questions to Guide Evaluation and Planning

As Seth Godin recently wrote, the sentiment  “You Can’t Argue With Success…” is a faulty one.  Our summer camp ministry is going very well and impacting many lives for God’s glory, and yet lately we’ve felt burdened that perhaps God is calling us to increase our impact in various ways.  As a result, we recently spent several days in evaluation and strategic planning for our summer camps.  We were blessed with a beautiful, relaxed off-site meeting location, and an effective outside consultant who guided the process before, during, and after the actual retreat.

Perhaps you don’t have the need or resources for such an extensive process (we’re certainly in that boat most of the time), but you can still use the following three simple questions to spur improvements for your event:

What should we KEEP doing?  Think about what your event does well.  Does it satisfy a significant need for your tribe (another Godin term)?  Are you doing/providing something of value that isn’t readily available elsewhere?  Does the format of your event encourage the primary goals for the event?  In what ways are you “wowing” attendees?  By all means, recognize what you’re doing well, and keep it up!

What should we STOP doing?  Think about what isn’t working.  Or, just as important, think about what works well but isn’t perhaps of significant value for attendees.  In order to have the resources and energy to implement your answers to the next question, you’ll likely need to identify some activities you’ll need to stop.  Call it “sacrificing the good for the best”, or “emphasizing effectiveness over efficiency”, but identify aspects of your event that need to go.

What should we START doing?  Often this is the most fun question to consider.  What have you always wanted to do with your event?  What can help your event be more effective due to the changes in your industry or attendees over the years?  While input from your attendees can be useful in answering all three questions, it can be especially helpful when exploring options to initiate.

Whether your event is flying high, battling with inconsistency from year to year, or in a steady decline you wish to reverse, careful reflection on these three questions can provide invaluable information that will improve your event and provide greater value for your attendees.