As an event manager, at times you feel like preparing event reports is a waste of time, especially if your stakeholders aren’t reading them.
We’ve got good news, it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s real purpose in preparing regular event reports and ways in which you can engage your stakeholders to ensure they’re not only reading them but also providing feedback.
In this post we’ll help you write effective and efficient event reports that both you, your team AND your committee will use and benefit from.
There’s nothing more frustrating than getting an ‘urgent’ email from a committee member, or your manager coming over and asking for event numbers and financials ASAP.
What’s worse is if you’re not using event software to track event data, you’ll have to telly up spreadsheets and calculate financials. This is a time sucker and takes you away from what you really need to be doing – organising an awesome event!
There is something you can do to stop this happening, or at the very least reduce it. Set up a weekly reporting schedule, share the reports with stakeholders and ask for feedback (more on this later).
We recommend on a Friday setting aside 20 minutes to complete your event report (template below). Circulating the event report to your stakeholders on a Friday afternoon means they’ll have fresh numbers to work with come Monday morning.
Here’s a secret, if you set aside 10 minutes on a Wednesday morning to do a snapshot report to circulate, you’re less likely to be asked for updates on an ad hoc basis. Put this into practice early (though it’s never too late to start) and communicate with stakeholders that they’ll receive a report twice a week with the most up-to-date information for their convenience.
Prior to setting up your reporting flow, it’s important to consult with stakeholders and discuss with them how they’ll receive weekly reports. ‘Discuss’ is the keyword here, you need to get them onboard with report delivery. Rather than telling them how it will be, ask them what they need within the report and discuss which days are best for delivery – it’s always good to have a fresh report prepared in time for key meetings.
What’s the benefit of reporting?
As mentioned above, providing regular reporting means less disruption in your day with requests for ‘quick updates’, but there’s more to it than this.
Reporting gives direction, helps keep everyone on track and shows what is working, and what’s not. Analysing report data gives vital clues about where energy needs to be spent and helps identify gaps in the market. On the flip side, reporting shows positive data such as registration increases after a marketing campaign.
Use report data to identify opportunities and challenges, and where your team’s effort should be spend to achieve the event goals.
Keep event reports simple
Weekly reports are high-level overviews – one page maximum. If further detail is required, add it as an attachment e.g. full delegate reports and financials.
If you’re planning on reporting twice a week, your mid-week report only needs to include key numbers and not a lot of detail (see template below).
The aim of reporting is to give stakeholders a quick update and sense of where things are at. You also don’t want to spend all day preparing a complex report!
Set aside time in your calendar for reporting, and stick to it. If you need information from colleagues to complete reports, mark time in their calendar to compile their part, set deadlines and send reminders. Creating this as a habit for everyone will save a heap of time.
Make reporting easy (for both you and your readers)
Create report templates – it’s much easier to fill in sections then starting with afresh each time. Templates ensure consistency in reporting and therefore makes it easy to see changes in numbers week-on-week.
Use software that lets you create a report and collaboration with stakeholders. Two-way reporting is key, if you provide a report to stakeholders feedback should be welcomed. Creating a shared reporting system that gives stakeholders access to what they need will save you time and reduces incoming information requests.
Tools to do this include: shared files on a company drive, Google Docs or software such as Trello or Asana that lets teams collaborate, create and store information. We’ve created a team Trello board for event reporting below:
What should my event reports include?
The key to writing weekly event reports is to keep them brief and easy to digest. Here’s what to include:
- Event Summary: Two – three sentence summary on key areas/activities (Mid-week and Friday report)
- Key Numbers (Mid-week and Friday report) e.g.:
- Total registrations
- Total abstract submissions
- Key financials: Keep this section to the key financials and direct stakeholders to the attachments for a full reports (Mid-week and Friday report)
- Short sponsorship update (Friday report)
- Short marketing update (Friday report)
- Discussion points (Mid-week and Friday report)
- Attachments e.g. full reports for registrations, abstracts and reconciliation reports
In conclusion, these are the key points to remember when preparing event reports:
- Regular reporting is essential for decision-making.
- Set good habits for event reporting early on and get everyone onboard.
- Automate where possible and create a culture where reporting becomes about collaboration.
- Keep reports short and sharp.
- Align reporting with key meetings so your events team always has the latest figures on hand.
Ready to create and effective weekly report? Download our ready to use templates:
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