Illahee Lectures Survey Summary

We surveyed Illahee attendees, to see how they think we’re doing and to guide us as we close in on next season’s topic and speakers.  Here’s a brief summary of the seventy-eight responses we received earlier this summer:

Thirty-six percent of attendees have been coming to the Illahee Lectures for five or more years.  The rest are split pretty evenly between one, two three, and four year attendees.

Sixty percent of responses came from season ticket holders, twenty percent from patrons, fifteen percent from reserved ticket holders, and a handful from sponsors.

Illahee’s highest-rated season was clearly the 2006 Oil & Water series (an average of nine on a scale of ten), with the following four seasons (including this past season) each scoring about eight out of ten.

All the speakers from this season were uniformly rated between seven and ten out of ten, with no clear favorite.  Each speaker got a few poor ratings.  So over all it looks like the speakers were “good” this year, but not excellent as a group.

For the most part, people like Illahee’s venue, the First Congregational Church, and rate the Gerding Theater just about as highly. The Newmark and the Baptist Church are clearly second, and the Bagdad and Schnitzer Auditorium – not so much.

We had a lot of great answers for “the one thing” people like/dislike about the Illahee Lectures. Among the “one things” that people like about the Illahee Lectures are intellectual stimulation, cohesive themes, speakers, and a sense of community. The top one thing that bugs people is clearly the question and answer session, with too many self-indulgent, long-winded questions (despite our stern warnings at the outset of each event).  Production issues like starting on time, sound, and amenities are also up there.

Topics people would like to see us address include, well, everything. Energy systems, climate change and human behavior led the pack, but not by much.  Basically, it looks like Illahee attendees are interested in a wide range of issues that touch upon environment and the future of civilization.

Things people would like to see Illahee do in the future include more solution-oriented themes and speakers, more ideas into action, more community partnerships, and more point-counter point.

Things we could do better include basic production and marketing, streamlining ticketing, and offering more events, and of course striving for the best quality line up we can possibly bring to Portland.

Finally, sixty percent of this season’s attendees said they’re highly likely to attend next year, twenty percent said they’ll probably attend, twenty percent said it depends on the topic, and one respondent won’t be back.

So there you have it.  We have our work cut out for us next season – plenty of areas for improvement.  We look forward to meeting that challenge.

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