Webinar Series Semi-Annual Evaluation

From July 17 to August 3, 2018, we invited feedback from our webinar distribution network about the Economic Development Webinar Series sessions to date in 2018. There were 24 completed responses on the survey. This is a summary of our key takeaways from the feedback we received, and how we are responding.

Providing earlier notice of webinars will likely increase attendance

Respondents cited being unaware of the sessions in time to plan to attend them as a major reason they did not participate in webinars.

  • We have created an Upcoming Webinars page here on our website, and emailed notices of all fall 2018 topics and dates to our list.

Schedule sessions during the workday morning

Our audience prefers scheduling the sessions for one hour in the mornings on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, instead of at lunchtimes on Tuesday or Thursday.

  • For fall 2018, our sessions will be run from 10-11am Pacific Time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Use a variety of channels to promote webinars

Emails are the most common way respondents heard about the webinars, but over half of the responses indicated that those emails came to them through colleagues or from partners like BC Economic Development Association (BCEDA), or the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

  • We are reaching out to a broader number of partners in the field to distribute our webinar promotions. We have provided our entire fall 2018 schedule to Regional Managers in the Regional Economic Operations Branch, BCEDA, BC Rural Centre, Cando, the regional economic trusts, Local Government Management Association, and CivicInfo BC.

Ratings of Proposed Topics

We presented a list of 20 potential webinar topics and asked survey respondents to indicate high, moderate, or low Interest.

  • The three highest interest scores were earned by connectivity in rural communities, entrepreneurship supports in small communities, and developing communication plans. We ran a session on connectivity on September 27, and the other two topics are in development for early 2019.
  • Other topics that received strong interest have already been included in our fall 2018 sessions:
  • We are also responding to strong interest by developing webinars in 2019 addressing First Nations community planning, governance, and partnerships with local governments; and resident attraction (as part of communication plans).

Additional Topics Suggested

Respondents were invited to write in suggestions for topics. For those ideas which fit the mandate of this webinar series, we will do deeper research and test the topics for interest from the broader webinar audience on our January survey. The suggested ideas that fit our mandate are:

  • Effective marketing, specifically to Millennials (this may be included in a 2019 session on resident attraction/communication plans);
  • Helping resource-based communities adapt their workforces to fluctuations or downturns in their traditional industries;
  • Cultural awareness in working with First Nations; and
  • Super clusters and the digital economy.

Webinars create opportunities for community-based collaboration

One respondent pointed out that they “assist in getting others to attend these webinars in order to try and build up the ‘team’ in our community.”

  • In the email blast promoting the fall 2018 sessions, and in future emails, we will be raising awareness of this benefit of the webinars and encouraging communities to bring stakeholders together for “webinar viewing get-togethers.”
  • We will work with webinar speakers to identify follow-up questions that attendees can explore with their colleagues, somewhat akin to a book club.

Survey at different times

To increase the response on future surveys, we will run them in January and June to avoid the vacation slump, and we will give more notice of the survey time period. When we release the results of this survey to our audience, we will invite them to write in their feedback to us in case they missed the survey in the summer.