Events connect the great work your nonprofit does to the needs and interests of your community. At your organization’s event, you’ll have the opportunity to teach your attendees more about your nonprofit’s activities and update them on your most recent progress. Interacting with your supporters in-person will inspire them to donate, and you can use nonprofit event management software to facilitate the process for them!
Planning and carrying out an event is a complex undertaking, and your fundraising team needs a way to stay on schedule and maximize giving opportunities. As you work to determine what your next event will be, one of the first steps you’ll take is choosing event management software that suits the specific needs of your nonprofit and the type of event you’re hosting. Before you make your selection, you’ll need to:
- Understand your nonprofit event management software needs.
- Choose nonprofit event management software that gives you multiple ways to generate revenue.
- Partner with a platform that offers your supporters several donation channels.
- Invest in visually appealing event fundraising software.
- Select nonprofit event management software that grows with your organization.
With nonprofit event management software that provides your supporters plenty of giving opportunities, it’s more likely that they will be able to find a method that works well for them and become contributors as a result. The first step in the selection process is determining the unique needs of your event and organization.
1. Understand your nonprofit event management software needs.
Think back to your organization’s last fundraising event and evaluate how well it went. Was registration quick and easy for your supporters? Did they give again after the event was over? Do you still have their information so that you can stay in contact with them?
Nonprofit event management software helps resolve the challenges of hosting fundraising events and promotes lasting connections between your organization and your donors. The first step in choosing the right event management software is recognizing your nonprofit’s unique needs. Before you make your selection, consider:
- Your organization’s size. A larger, more established nonprofit is likely to require more features from its event management software than is an organization that’s just getting started. Before you buy, have an idea of the amount of information your software will have to manage on a regular basis (for instance, how many registrants you expect for each of your events). Just starting out? Choose software that’s capable of growing along with your organization.
- The type of event you are hosting. Registration, donation acceptance, and thank-you receipts are just the beginning of the features that nonprofit event management software can offer. Pay particular attention to ticketing capabilities if you host events with ticketed entrance.
- Your attendees’ preferences. Your supporters are most likely to complete their registration, which confirms their attendance and donation, if the process is as fast and easy as possible. Look for software that guides them through the process and requires that they input only essential information.
While understanding your nonprofit’s needs is central to choosing the right event management software, there are a few features for which every organization should be on the lookout. As you research your options, take note of these features:
- Registration and donation acceptance capabilities. Ensure that you choose a software that makes the registration and donation processes fast and easy for all attendees. The number of required information fields should be limited to the essentials, and donors should not need to create an account just to register.
- Ticketing. If you often require tickets for entry into your events, examine the ticketing capabilities of any software you are considering. You want a system that makes ticket distribution convenient for your attendees and useful as an attendance tracker for your organization.
- Personalized thank-you receipts. Your first chance to thank your supporters occurs directly after they register for your event. They should receive a thank-you personalized with their preferred first name automatically, confirming their registration and their initial donation. Be sure that this note’s function as a receipt is clear so that your donors can save it for their records.
- Connection to your donor database. Your attendees express support for your organization and your mission when they register for your event, so it’s likely they will be interested in supporting your future endeavors! Keep them involved by choosing an event management software that stores their registration information in your donor database so that they will stay on your contact list.
- Multiple giving options. Evaluating past strategies, conducting prospect research, and interviewing donors directly via fundraising feasibility studies are all valuable means of learning your donors’ preferred methods of giving. You’re almost certain to learn that different groups of your donors like to give in different ways, so choose a software that provides enough options to make donating convenient for all your supporters.
Choosing nonprofit event management software that offers multiple giving options is essential to involving the largest possible number of donors in your event and ensuring the event’s impact on your larger fundraising strategy. Whatever the size of your nonprofit or the form of your event, multiple donation options encourage increased giving.
2. Choose nonprofit event management software that gives you multiple ways to generate revenue.
Fundraising events are a great way to reconnect with loyal contributors and introduce new potential donors to the valuable work your organization does in their community. Attendees from both of these groups support your organization when they register for your event, and your goal is to encourage them to maintain this support once the event has ended.
Nonprofit event management software can help your organization generate revenue by facilitating fundraising strategies that you can use to build excitement leading up to the event and continue to use year-round. For nonprofits that use ticketed entry for their events, ticket sales are an additional means by which your event management software can help you generate revenue.
Use your nonprofit event management software to collect your registrants’ initial donations and give them additional opportunities to contribute before, during, and after the event. Look for software that offers:
- Donation processing at the time of registration. You will want to register your attendees and collect their entrance donations with one easy-to-use online form. To help ensure future fundraising success, ensure that their information is stored in your donor database after they register.
- Online giving capabilities. A well-designed online giving page will benefit your organization long after your fundraising event is finished, but an event is a great way to introduce a redesigned donation page or remind your supporters that you accept online donations.
- Peer-to-peer fundraising campaign pages. Transform your most dedicated supporters into volunteer fundraisers and make collecting donations exciting with a little friendly competition. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are a wonderful way to build excitement and increase donations in the time leading up to your event!
- Mobile giving capabilities and text-to-give service. Convenience encourages new donors to give and current donors to give more frequently, so provide them with multiple opportunities to do so by expanding your mobile giving options. Mobile giving and text-to-give service allow supporters to contribute before, during, and after your event.
Options like these, which make giving convenient and easy, encourage more of your supporters to contribute and to make donations more regularly. Nonprofit event management software also makes collecting donations and gathering donor information easier for your organization, making your event planning more efficient and strengthening your future fundraising strategies.
Depending upon the structure of your organization and the type of event you are hosting, you may require that your attendees have tickets to enter. Choose a platform that makes receiving the tickets easy for your donors and gathering ticket information easy for your organization.
This means looking for nonprofit event management software that provides your donors with their tickets after they make their contribution and that stores ticket buyers’ registration information in your donor database. Supporters who have bought a ticket from your organization are likely to want to contribute again, so ensure that you stay connected with attendees of these events.
Whether your event is coming up, happening right now, or has just finished, your nonprofit event management software should keep working to ensure that your organization stays in touch with supporters and encourages them to continue their donations. The best motivator your software can provide is convenience, so prioritize multiple donation channels in your software search.
3. Partner with a platform that offers your supporters several donation channels.
The best fundraising events introduce many new donors to your organization, and it’s highly likely that these individuals will want to donate in different ways. Choose a nonprofit event management software that offers multiple ways to donate so that different groups of donors will find the process convenient and enjoyable.
Online Fundraising Pages
Online giving is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to donate. It’s convenient, easy, and especially successful among younger donors accustomed to making transactions online. Your event is a great opportunity to renew your supporters’ interest in online giving, so choose software to help you create an online fundraising page that is:
- Easy to access and use. Online giving should be one of the quickest ways to donate. Limit the number of required fields your donors have to complete and offer preset donation amounts to help them make their decision. Be sure to include a custom amount option for donors who have already made up their minds.
- Customized to your organization. Consistent branding builds familiarity and trust, both of which are particularly important to donors who are happy to support your organization but don’t have much experience giving online. Your organization’s name and logo should appear on your donation page, as should any familiar colors or images associated with your brand.
- Connected to social media. Online donors tend to be on social media as well, and these popular platforms are a great place to share updates on your progress and interact more personally with your supporters. Provide links to your online donation page on all of your social media profiles so that your followers always know where to give.
If your organization has many online and social media-savvy donors and would like to maximize their involvement in your organization, choose a nonprofit event management software that offers the customizable pages necessary to creating a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Pages
Want to provide donors with additional motivation to give in the time leading up to an event? Consider a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Structured similarly to crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising turns your loyal supporters into fundraisers by providing them with individual pages that they can customize and share with their family, friends, and social media followers. Here’s how it works:
- Your organization reaches out to volunteer fundraisers. Strong candidates include donors who have made large or repeated gifts to your organization, as well as individuals who have volunteered for your organization.
- Your volunteer fundraisers customize and share their pages. Your nonprofit event management software provides the pages, but it’s up to your volunteer fundraisers to customize them, demonstrating their individual reasons for supporting your organization and encouraging their networks of connections to donate to your cause.
- Your organization encourages friendly competition. Your peer-to-peer fundraising platform will provide gamification elements, such as badges and fundraising thermometers, to encourage competition among your volunteer fundraisers and create a sense of urgency as the date of your event approaches.
- On the day of the event, announce your winning volunteer fundraiser and see how much your organization raised! Your social media profiles are great places for public announcements of the winning volunteer fundraiser and the grand total raised before the event.
Peer-to-peer fundraisers strengthen your relationships with your supporters and get even more donors motivated to give as your event approaches. However, the donations don’t have to stop once the big day arrives! With text-to-give service, you can accept donations throughout your event and after it ends.
Text-to-give service is one of the most convenient forms of donation and is a favorite of supporters who already have their smartphones with them wherever they go! Inspired donors can give before, during, and after your event. Once you’re ready to get started, you’ll follow these steps:
- Your organization receives a dedicated text-to-give number and a keyword to share with your supporters. Share the number and keyword on signs posted throughout your event, and on social media before and after the big day to keep this donation option open year-round.
- Your supporters text the keyword to the number. This initiates their donation. In return, they’ll receive a link to send an email confirming their donation.
- To complete their donation, your supporters just have to send the email! New donors will have to input some basic payment and personal information first, but returning donors don’t have to repeat this process.
As with online donation, your fundraising team may wish to introduce text-to-give service in the context of an event and then continue using it as a regular donation method.
Whether they reach your organization through your online donation page, a friend’s peer-to-peer fundraising page, or their own smartphone, your donors want to give to an organization they value and trust. Build your online trustworthiness and encourage donations by ensuring that your event management software features attractive and engaging pages.
4. Invest in visually appealing event fundraising software.
Event fundraising software does more than facilitate giving. It also helps tell your organization’s story and encourage your donors to give by making the process fun and trustworthy. The ideal fundraising software design captures your donors’ attention and reminds them of the good work your organization does every day.
Branding and Customization
Your event fundraising software should build on associations between your organization and the good work it does in your community by using your organization’s familiar branding in the design of its pages. Consistent branding builds familiarity with your organization and trust in its online presence, especially among supporters who are less experienced donating online.
What does it mean to have consistent branding? Ensure that your organization’s name and logo are on each page that your donors will visit, especially the one on which they register for your event and make their donation. If your organization has a familiar color scheme, maintain this on all of your pages.
To build trust in your online donation form, it should appear consistent with the rest of your website as well as consistent with your organization’s brand. Your supporters should know that they’re entering their payment information in a safe location.
Want to make fundraising for your organization as enjoyable as it is trustworthy? Take advantage of your event fundraising software’s gamification tools, especially within peer-to-peer campaigns, to motivate your donors and keep them focused on your event and organization.
Fundraising Gamification Tools
An exciting element of any peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, fundraising gamification tools come with your event fundraising software and encourage your volunteer fundraisers to compete to raise the most money. Fundraising gamification tools create a sense of excitement and urgency among volunteer fundraisers and donors in the time leading up to your event.
Gamification tools like badges help your volunteer fundraisers feel accomplished and rewarded for their valuable work. Leaderboards foster competition, especially as the event gets closer. Want to motivate your volunteer fundraisers to increase their efforts? Update your organization’s social media followers on the rankings throughout your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Want to make sure your donors and volunteer fundraisers are keeping your goal amount in mind? Incorporating fundraising thermometers onto your donation and peer-to-peer fundraising pages provides a visual representation of your organization’s distance from your goal.
Donors who see a fundraising thermometer that is close to its goal amount may be inspired to give more to help your organization achieve its goal faster. Alternatively, if a fundraising thermometer is just getting started and hasn’t yet “heated up,” donors may give extra to get your fundraiser going!
Excited about the features that nonprofit event management software offers, but not sure what platform is right for your nonprofit? Considering your organization’s needs and the types of events you typically hold are central to making this decision, but don’t limit yourself to software that will only serve your immediate needs.
5. Select nonprofit event management software that grows with your nonprofit.
Nonprofits that are just starting out may prioritize forming your team and securing initial funding over choosing the right nonprofit event management software, especially if your organization has not yet hosted many events! However, nonprofit event management software is a necessary component of a strong fundraising strategy, and small nonprofits can and do benefit from it.
Your nonprofit wants to choose software that suits your current stage of development, but does not require you to start over with a completely new platform as you grow and expand. That’s the benefit of a system that allows you to upgrade your plan when you need it. Small nonprofits can save money while they are starting out and upgrade to gain additional features as they grow.
Whatever the size of your organization, nonprofit event management software maximizes the benefits you’ll receive from hosting fundraising events, encouraging donations and providing your organization with the opportunity to stay in contact with your supporters.
With the right nonprofit event management software, your organization is sure to succeed in attracting new donors and refreshing relationships with past supporters before, during, and after your next big event.
For more helpful information, check out the following additional resources:
- Mobile Giving: The Effective (and Actionable) Guide: Expand your donors’ mobile giving opportunities by learning more about text-to-give and mobile-responsive online donation pages.
- 6 Tips for Writing a Perfect Nonprofit Mission Statement: A well-crafted mission statement is an essential component of a strong fundraising strategy, and creating one is a skill that every new nonprofit needs to develop.
- re:Charity’s List of the Best Text-to-Give Providers for Nonprofits: Text-to-give is a useful feature that any size nonprofit can take advantage of at any time of the year.
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