Dave Hawksworth organises the #RunForJo – a community-based run dedicated to the memory of Jo Cox MP. In light of our Social Value of Community Events research and our recent webinar ‘Evaluating Community Events’, he gives us tips on how to put the learning into practice.

Initially, we set up the event as volunteers and didn’t really think about evaluation. The way we measured it was just from the vibe on the day, which was incredibly positive – the general atmosphere, with people laughing and dancing and enjoying themselves. We did receive a few emails telling us how good it was and hoping we’d do it again, including one from the leader of the Council, so we knew the event had been widely regarded as a success.


We decided to look at a more structured approach in the future, hearsay is good, but if you want to run the event in the future and need funding, especially from councils and or community groups, you do need to demonstrate that it is / was worthwhile. Here are my top tips for how you can do that with evaluations.


Use your volunteers

run for jo cox

This is my favourite because you have a group who want to give their feedback. They see the event from a wider perspective and are likely to be keen to tell you their thoughts, they can also relay their experience and conversations they’ve had with attendees, and are almost always happy to do so. Without doubt this is the easiest and quickest way to evaluate the event.


Distribute an on-the-day questionnaire

run for jo cox

These should be no more than half a dozen questions, if people are enjoying the day (or not) they will usually be happy to tell you.

Questions such as who are you? why have you’ve come? where from? on a scale of 1 to 5, how much have you enjoyed it, and would you come again? It’s brief and not too onerous, so again you can ask volunteers to help collect results.

Have clear aims

run for jo cox

With regard to aims, again, when we started our event we were just aiming to put on an event to bring the community together to honour and remember our friend Jo, who was a keen runner.

As mentioned above, if you want to repeat the event in the future, it’s useful to think about this and perhaps take a more professional approach to reassure those who you are asking to fund it.

So the top tip is get your organisers to sit down together and write down what you all see as the aims.


Never underestimate your volunteers

run for jo cox

Get to know them, they may be just acquaintances or people you are meeting for the first time. They are more than one dimensional and haven’t just turned up for the hi viz and walkie talkie (though who doesn’t love a walkie talkie).

You will have people with varied real world experience, some may be experts in report writing and evaluating, if you get to know people they are usually happy to be asked for their help or to share their experience. But if you don’t they may assume you are already an expert and not want to interfere.

Read more top tips in our Social Value of Community Events toolkit