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A Sample Event Exit Survey

by Bill Morris

These general information facts on event surveys and the below sample of a survey is provided by GMMG Events Research Department, Camp Douglas, WI. GMMG specializes in services to the nonprofit sector and to businesses wishing to conduct business with nonprofit organizations. GMMG has a comprehensive database with name, address, assets, income, type organization, and activity information on 1.4 million nonprofit organizations. Their main activity is custom event exit, mail-out, or telemarketing surveys and general marketing research. They conduct internal staff, board, or volunteer relations surveys as well as event patron, volunteer, membership, customer service, or community satisfaction telemarketing sampling. GMMG also sells address labels and will search download to a disk selected nonprofit organizations with complete asset, income, type, and activity data. GMMG has forty-five pages of criteria available for search and database selection. For information about contacting GMMG see the end of the article.


You are welcome to copy and use any portion of the below sample of an event survey. Every question would not be appropriate for every event. These questions are provided for the purpose of stimulating development of questions appropriate for your event.

If your budget can afford it, I recommend a "turn-key" survey from a professional company. Otherwise, there are many ways to cut costs and still have a viable and informative survey. I do not recommend an event attempt to totally do their own survey unless they have a computer savvy leader who has at least 200 supervisory hours and another 200 to 250 computer hours available to give to the project. Then you will still need someone who understands statistics to format and evaluate the report.

Please note that some survey companies will only bid for a "turn-key" survey. While others, like GMMG, offer various self-help cost savings possibilities while maintaining the integrity of the survey. Areas that a survey company normally will not out-source is the data entry into the computer, data verification, and publication of graphs and a basic report. Typically a company's fee is driven directly by the number of questions and the number of completed survey instruments. For instance, fifteen questions may bring the price down and 500 instruments would bring it back up. The simpler the questions typically the less the fee will tend to be. Additional fees could be transportation, lodging, food, and consultation. Survey costs can range anywhere from $2,500 upwards to $25,000 depending on a lot of variables.

When the budget is tight and a "turn-key" survey is not affordable the biggest variable and most probable cost savings is labor. Therefore, a key question becomes who is to obtain the labor for the survey? Options include volunteers, low-cost labor, or labor obtained by the survey company. Usually the survey company will not accept responsibility for the labor force unless they, the labor company, is represented on-site, during the survey. If the survey company is not to be on-site, then a dedicated volunteer or staffer will need to be assigned as project or committee chairperson. This person should be someone whose only job, during the event, is to supervise the survey activities. This person will be responsible to train, supervise, and follow through on labor coordination and collection of data. The survey company will then train and coordinate all efforts through this person.

When the event is to provide labor, then for a fee the survey company usually will be willing to come to your location and directly train and supervise the collection of data. Typically they will need be on site for two to three days prior to the fair, the four days of the fair, and one day following the event. An option would be to have the survey company representative fly in to give orientation and training only.

(Remember - "The reason volunteers are not paid, is not because they are worthless but because they are priceless.")

Summary of cost options. Here is a sample of a cost proposal recently used by GMMG in a proposal to an event in California. Shown here are the optional costs. These are based on the minimum and maximum involvement of GMMG in a survey that included 250 completed survey instruments during the four day event. As you can see, you can have major cost savings by keeping most of the labor under your jurisdiction. Another major cost savings are restricting GMMG's on site involvement.

Optional Costs

GMMG Consulting Fee (not optional) $500
GMMG Fee for Data Entry and Report Production (not optional) $2,000
GMMG to be present during the Fair (optional): $1,500
Or, To Hire a local on-site Manager (use volunteer/not needed if GMMG is present) $1,000
On site labor for data collection (could use volunteers): $2,500
Transportation estimated for GMMG to fly in: $ unknown
Lodging for GMMG to be present during the Fair: $ unknown
GMMG to present the report in person to December/January Board: $ 400
Transportation estimated for GMMG to fly in: $ unknown
Printing 250 Survey Instruments $50

As you can seen the range for their survey is $2,500 upwards to as much as $15,000 if they buy all the whistles and stops. It could even be more with a deluxe package that included GMMG bringing professionally trained data collection clerks from the home office.


The public is welcome to copy and use this instrument. However, it is not likely that every question would be pertinent to every event. These are samples of questions that have worked for various organizations.

For exit surveys - Departure date/time _________________

1. Is this your first visit to our annual event? __Yes __ No

2. What time did you arrive at the event today? ____ a.m. ____ p.m.

3. Which days of the event have you or will you attend?__ Thurs __ Fri __ Sat __ Sun __ Mon __ Tue __ Wed__ 2nd Thurs __ 2nd Fri __ 2nd Sat __ 2nd Sun

4. Was there one specific activity at the event today that influenced your decision to come? (Yes/No + explain).

5. Using a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being not important and 5 being very important, how did the following activities influence your decision to come to the event:

__ To see animals
__ To go on the midway
__ To eat different foods
__ To see Coliseum entertainment
__ To be with friends/family
__ Watching judging
__ To expose children to farm animals
__ To see commercial exhibits
__ To do people watching

6. How far in advance did you plan your trip to the Event?

__ Today
__ Yesterday
__ Within past week
__ Within past month
__ Within past 3 months
__ Within past 6 months
__ Six months or more

7. How did you find out about the Event?

__ Newspaper
__ Billboards
__ Radio
__ Friends/family
__ TV
__ Always knew
__ Area resident

8. Who made the decision to attend the Event today?

__ Spouse/partner
__ Children
__ Joint decision

9. Was the event the primary destination for your trip from home?

___ Yes (skip to question 10)
___ No (If not what was your destination ______________

10. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent, please rate the following aspects of the Event, the . . .

__ Availability of parking
__ Ability to move around the grounds
__ Variety of Event entertainment
__ Number of restrooms at the Event
__ Cleanliness of Event restrooms
__ Event admission price
__ Ease of finding restrooms
__ Cleanliness of the Event grounds
__ Rides and games on the Midway
__ Food on the Midway
__ Food on Event grounds but not on Midway
__ The Auto Show
__ The Boat Show
__ Pig Races
__ Patio Stage Entertainment

11. Did you buy food at a Coliseum concession stand? (If this question is used, it would probably be a good idea to get the food contractor's concurrence?)

__ No (skip to question 12)
__ Yes - using the same scale rate
__ The food
__ The selection
__ The staff

12. Do you feel the Event has a good selection of commercial exhibits?

__Yes (skip to question 13)
__ No - Please explain what you would like to see added

13. Overall, how would you describe your visit to the Event?

__ Poor
__ Fair
__ Good
__ Very Good
__ Excellent

14. Which gate did you use to enter the Event grounds?

____ Gate 1
____ Gate 2
____ Main Walk-in____ Midway Walk-in
____ Gate Zero
____ (list all other choices if any)

15. What is your zip code? _____________

16. What is your state and county of residence? __________________________.

17. Will you stay overnight in the area on this trip?

__ No (skip to question 18)
__ Yes _________ nights. (Answer 17a & b and do not answer 18 - skip to 19).

17a. If 17 is yes - Type of overnight accommodations?

__ Motel/hotel
__ Friend/relative
__ Campground
__ Bed & Breakfast
__ Other ______________________

17b. If 17 is yes - Think about you stay in the Beaumont area now. Please estimate the dollars that you have already spent or plan to spend today on ..

________ Lodging/camping
________ Convenience Stores
________ Food and drink at area restaurants & bars
________ Other area entertainment admission fees.
________ Auto related
________ Souvenirs, gifts, and clothing
________ Other

18. Please estimate the dollars that you have already spent at the event today on . . .

_________________ Admission
_________________ Midway
_________________ Food and drink
_________________ Souvenirs, gifts, & clothing
_________________ Other Event purchases

19. Other spending in the (name the city, county, region) area relative to your visiting the Event:

______________ Convenience stores
______________ Food and drink at area restaurants & bars
______________ Other area entertainment admission fees______________ Auto related (gas, repairs, other parking)
______________ Souvenirs, gifts & clothing
______________ Other

20. What other (enter name of city, county or region) area activities will you participate in while on this trip to the Event?

____ City Museum
____ Art Museum
____ List whatever

21. Are you . . .

__ Alone
__ With friends
__ With family
__ With an organized group
__ Other ______________________

22. How did you get to the Event today?

__ Personal Automobile
__ Bicycle
__ Walked
__ Public transportation
__ Motorcycle

23. Including yourself, how many people are in your immediate party? __________________. Of that number, how many are:

_____ Five years old or less.
_____ 6 - 11
_____ 12 - 20
_____ 21 - 39
_____ 40 - 59
_____ 60+24. Respondent's age: ________________.

25. How many members of your party are: ____ Male ____ Female

26. How many members of your party are:

_______ Black
_______ Hispanic
_______ Oriental
_______ American Indian_______ Caucasian (non Hispanic)
_______ Other __________________

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About the Author:

Sample provided by:

Bill Morris of the

Event Research Dept.
14323 Funnel Road
Camp Douglas, WI 54618
Tel: 608-427-3494

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