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Evaluating Your Town Hall Meeting

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) asks that Town Hall Meeting organizers provide feedback on each event they host. Acquiring this information is important because SAMHSA is accountable to Congress and the public for ensuring that its funding is used for efforts that achieve positive and measurable results. Sharing the results of your event demonstrates the value of Town Hall Meetings in helping your community engage in evidence-based prevention of underage drinking. Your feedback also helps SAMHSA develop materials that can improve the effectiveness of future Town Hall Meetings.

The Importance of Evaluating Your Meeting

Evaluation can help you set—as well as measure—your course by helping you focus on a specific activity. What is your community's top underage drinking prevention priority? Track progress toward this priority, and report on it regularly to your attendees to maintain their interest and involvement. Evaluation will help you measure your success in reaching whatever goals you've set in these areas and guide you toward new goals and accomplishments.

Collecting data and measuring results also may be required by your funding source, advisory board, or members. In addition to fulfilling this requirement, a well-conducted evaluation:

  • Helps to assess the progress of a prevention activity;
  • Identifies what does and does not work in a particular setting;
  • Builds community capacity;
  • Strengthens accountability;
  • Supports sustainability; and
  • Influences decision makers.

SAMHSA provides numerous evaluation and measurement tools through its Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT). Additionally, there are a number of low cost online tools that provide easy interfaces for building surveys and viewing reports including Survey Monkey, Zoomerang, SurveyGizmo, and Poll Daddy.

You also might want to evaluate some of the techniques used to promote your Town Hall Meeting to determine their effectiveness. Did the use of Facebook and Twitter increase attendance? Are these tools supporting continuing engagement and message dissemination? CAPT offers Evaluating Social Media Efforts: One Approach to Consider to help you assess this growing method of outreach.

Organizer Survey

Within one week after the Town Hall Meeting event, event organizers will receive instructions on how to access and complete an online Organizer Survey for each event held. While all organizations are strongly encouraged to complete the survey, organizations that accepted a planning stipend must complete a survey per their agreement in receiving the stipend.

Participant Feedback Form

SAMHSA also will ask a number of randomly selected event organizers to distribute 40 copies of a Participant Feedback Form at their events. If your organization is selected, please distribute the form to attendees and then collect the completed forms, which should be returned to SAMHSA in the stamped, self-addressed envelope. Contact info@stopalcoholabuse.net if you need the feedback form in Spanish.

Complete Your Town Hall Meeting Organizer's Profile

In addition, we'd like to consider your organization to be featured as a Town Hall Meeting success story. Log-in to your Town Hall Meeting event profile section and answer the brief event recap questions. You can also upload promotional materials, meeting videos and photos, and copies of media coverage to illustrate your success.