By Quentin Wodon, a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill
For the past four years, I have conducted evaluations of the district conference we hold in District 7620 using surveys administered through the web. This year our conference was different, and some of the things we learned I thought could be valuable to share with Rotary members everywhere.
This year our conference was shorter and cheaper to attend. On the first day, attendees had several opportunities to participate in community service projects with local NGOs. We achieved substantially higher attendance (425 registrations) than previous conferences.
Our conference focused largely on fun and fellowship, with only a few sessions on Rotary matters. And it involved multiple locations with transportation provided from one location to the other. Because the conference was located in an area with several Rotary clubs nearby, many participants were also able to attend without having to book a hotel night.
Did the new format of the conference work? A total of 155 participants responded to the evaluation survey. Almost half of participants rated the conference as better than previous conferences. This is slightly below the results for last year’s conference, where 60 percent of the responses rated it higher than the previous year. But those results are still impressive given that for the two years before that, most respondents rated the conferences about the same as previous experiences.
The survey rated some 25 different sessions, with a criteria of having at least nine respondents per session to pull reliable conclusions. Six of the 25 sessions got 75 percent or more “very good” ratings, and these were two of the service project sessions, the high school Four Way Test speech contest, the Interact session, a Saturday evening dinner with Dean Rohrs our guest speaker, and the subsequent Rock Tenor music performance. So service projects, interactions with youth, and the Saturday capstone events stole the show!
The survey revealed there is still room for improvement. When asked what types of sessions they would like to see more off, respondents said they would want sessions discussing successful projects, and debates/discussions on Rotary and its future. More information on our conference evaluations is available on my blog, Rotarian Economist.
What have you found works at your district conference?