Nonprofits who regularly plan fundraising events know that donor data is one of their most valuable resources. By using data to better understand your donors, you can plan an event that’s appealing and exceptionally lucrative.
For Salesforce users, having data on-hand during the event planning process couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is work with an event management app that connects to your Salesforce CRM! All your constituent data and event management tools will be available in the same platform, and you’ll be able to get a comprehensive view of your nonprofit, your guests, and your event logistics—all on one screen!
But finding the right event management app is only one piece of the event management puzzle. Here, we’ll walk through 5 other key strategies that can help knock your Salesforce event out of the park.
What’ll we cover? Here’s a sneak peek:
- Use your donor data to plan the right type of Salesforce event.
- Devise a profitable guest list by studying Salesforce data.
- Set the right ticket prices for your event attendees.
- Determine which on-site donation channels will appeal to your guests.
- Communicate with guests to measure event success.
1. Use your donor data to plan the right type of Salesforce event.
With so many different types of fundraisers, your nonprofit may feel a little lost at the beginning stages of event planning.
More than likely, your organization has a limited amount of event planning resources, so you’ll need to be thoughtful when deciding where to allocate them. So how do you find a starting point for your event management process? Look to your Salesforce data!
Your donors will be the guests at your fundraising event, and they’re the ones who’ll determine if the event is a success or a failure. That being the case, you should use donor data stored in Salesforce to inform every aspect of your event and particularly, what type of event you’ll plan.
Within your Salesforce CRM, you should be able to locate all (or at least most) of the following insight into your donors:
- Geographic location. If your donors are all located in a central location, you should obviously plan your event within a reasonable distance. If your constituents are located around the world, you might consider adding an online component to your event to make it more accessible. If that’s the case, consider investing in text-to-give software, hosting a live stream, or adding an online auction to the mix.
- Income level or giving history. Fundraising events are meant to be profitable, but they won’t be if your donors can’t afford to attend. Sort your data by income level or recent giving amounts to determine how you should price your event. For example, if you have a number of major givers you’d like to target, consider a major donor dinner rather than an informal bike ride event.
- Lifestyle. While certainly a broad search point, lifestyle is an extremely important consideration when planning an event. By understanding your event demographic’s interests, age range, and family or marital status, you might learn that they love travel and adventure and would be excited to bid on exotic auction items, or that they’d rather attend a family friendly function. (And those are just a few examples!)
Thankfully, as long as you’re working with an event management application that’s compatible with Salesforce, you won’t have to go back and forth between platforms to see all the information you need. That’s only one benefit of working with a Salesforce event management app, but trust us: there are many more!
2. Devise a profitable guest list by studying Salesforce data.
While you can send out a fundraising event invitation to every supporter in your database, you might see more success by taking a more targeted approach to your guest list.
Depending on your event venue, you probably have some sort of a cap on attendees. To bring in the most funds, you’ll want to outline a guest list that targets donors who are likely to give big.
Sound familiar? That’s because if your organization has ever participated in prospect research before, you’re probably well-versed in what it means to segment your donor database to target potential major donors.
Using your Salesforce data, determine your guest list by searching for the following criteria:
- Giving history at your organization. Which of your donors have made a major gift already? Be careful here: you don’t want to disrespect a donor who’s very recently given by asking them to make a major gift again (but you can offer them an invitation to your event at a discounted rate, anyway!).
- Giving affinity. Not only can you study your supporters’ giving history within your nonprofit, but you can use your prospect research tools to find out if they’ve given to other charitable causes, too. Individuals who’ve made major contributions to nonprofits before are likely to give again.
- Giving ability. Search your database by income level, if you have that data on hand, or use your Salesforce prospect research tools to find out which individuals in your database are likely able to make major contributions. By knowing which supporters are able to give, you’ll be in a good position to make asks that are relevant and well-suited for success.
Once you’ve devised an ideal guest list, start reaching out! Send one-on-one communications inviting these donors to your event, highlighting how their attendance and involvement can impact your cause. Emails are a convenient way to tackle these invites, but don’t be afraid to make a phone call to show donors a more personal touch.
And don’t forget: if you want your major donors to feel really special at your fundraiser, set up a VIP section or offer them other perks, such as extended bidding time, free raffle tickets, or an exclusive appreciation gift.
In need of prospect research tools to help you tailor your guest list? DonorSearch integrates with Salesforce to make prospect research easy and effective, whether you’re planning an event or not.
3. Set the right ticket prices for your event attendees.
With the right event management app, you should be able to set custom ticket prices to give your guests as many options as they could ever want.
Offering more than one option to your guests allows them to contribute to your cause in a way that’s comfortable for them and helps you maximize revenue at the same time.
For example, if a donor wants to attend your event but can’t afford a steep ticket price, a low-cost general admission will still allow them to donate and attend. However, a donor who has a greater ability to give might prefer a VIP ticket with all its added perks.
To make both supporters feel welcome at your event, offer registration options that accommodate them in a way that’s respectful and profitable.
Here are just a few examples of the ticket options you can provide:
- General admission tickets.
- Early bird tickets.
- Members-only tickets.
- VIP tickets.
- Group registration.
Depending on your event management tool, you might even be able to set completely custom prices for specific lists or individuals. For example, if a donor has given in the past month, you might offer them an exclusive discount. Alternatively, if a donor regularly makes large contributions, you might charge them a higher price for a VIP seat, since you already know their comfort level.
On your registration form, you can also offer extra donation options, whether that be through making an additional gift on its own or purchasing an item from your eCommerce store.
The more options you have, the more likely a supporter will find one that fits their needs. That means more guests at your event and more money for your cause!
4. Determine which on-site donation channels will appeal to your guests.
Speaking of offering as many giving options as possible, don’t forget about using your donor data to determine which giving channels you should implement at your event.
Ticket sales are a great start, but your event fundraising potential shouldn’t stop there! Expand your revenue opportunities by offering a variety of on-site giving channels that your guests can take advantage of during the event.
Needless to say, we at Snowball are all about making giving simple, and the same goes for accepting donations at your fundraiser. The best way to ensure donating is simple and convenient for guests? Use your Salesforce data to devise an on-site giving strategy that plays into your donors’ preferences!
Let’s look at three examples of how you might do this:
- Text-to-give. Texting is practically universal at this point, so donors of all ages will likely be good candidates for participating in text giving. Especially, younger supporters or those who have used mobile giving channels before are your best targets for getting on board with text-to-give!
- Donation kiosks. If your donors aren’t a fan of mobile giving (or simply aren’t fans of carrying cash!), consider implementing a giving kiosk at your event! Donors can swipe their card and instantly complete their donation, so supporters who like to give quickly and easily will love this option.
- Mobile bidding. For auction events, mobile bidding tools present a digital alternative to writing down bids on a paper bid sheet. If your donors have given big at silent auctions in the past (or are receptive to mobile giving in other forms), consider adding a twist to your next auction by adding mobile bidding.
To make sure your donors will be excited about the mobile giving options you unveil at your event, check out how they’ve given in the past.
And if you’re not sure if supporters will be receptive, remember that you can always share information about your event’s giving options in your marketing materials so that donors understand how the new methods work in advance. When you show them how easy these channels are, they’ll be happy to try out a new way of giving!
Best of all, if you’re using online giving methods that integrate with your Salesforce CRM, you’ll be able to transfer all the new donor data to your constituent profiles. That way you’ll also gain updated information as well as donations!
Alternatively, if you use fundraising tools that don’t integrate, you’ll have to manually transfer information which can take quite a lot of time. As a result, your team will have less time to follow-up with guests after the event.
Looking for the best Salesforce apps that you can use to collect donations for your event? Check out this list of expert tools!
5. Communicate with guests to measure event success.
Whether this is your first event or five-hundredth, you should always seek to improve with each fundraiser you host.
You can implement a number of metrics to track event success (or lack thereof), but at the end of the day, only one metric really matters: how much your guests enjoyed themselves!
Guests who have a good time at your event not only will donate more, but they’ll also be more likely to come back for future events and continue to stay engaged with your nonprofit in other ways (such as joining your membership program, volunteering, advocating, or sharing your cause with friends).
One of the best ways to find out if your guests enjoyed your event is to communicate with them by sending pre- and post-show surveys to gauge their interest in your event and find out what stood out to them about your fundraiser.
Here are some examples of questions you might include on your post-event survey:
- Have you ever attended an event supporting our nonprofit before?
- What giving channels did you utilize at this event?
- On a scale of 1-7, rank how appealing you found the auction items.
- Have you ever donated to our nonprofit before?
- Did you meet your peer-to-peer campaign goals?
- Would you consider coming back to an event held by our nonprofit?
Of course, the questions you ask will depend on the data you’d like to collect, so each organization’s survey will be a little different! Use any gaps in your Salesforce data to guide your questions, and make sure to keep the surveys as brief as possible to reduce abandonment.
Some Salesforce event management apps come with built-in surveying tools so that you can send out your questionnaires within your CRM; then, the data you collect will be seamlessly filed into your database so you can use it to inform all future events you plan.
Of course, this is the case if you’re using a native Salesforce app. Native apps are built directly in Salesforce and work seamlessly with your CRM, so there is no need to migrate information between programs.
On the other hand, with non-native apps, your data will be stored outside of Salesforce. If you decide to conduct a survey, your information must be transferred before you can analyze the data properly.
Takeaway: Determining the success of your fundraising event relies heavily on your guests’ experience. Conduct a survey using your event management software to get a better understanding of how your donors feel.
For Salesforce fundraisers, event management just got a little bit easier!
Use these tips to plan an event that your donors won’t be able to forget, and use your Salesforce data to make sure your future events always line up with your guests. You’ll be on your way to Salesforce event success in no time!
For more on event management, check out these additional resources:
- Read Double the Donation’s list of top Salesforce partners for event planning to discover which tools can help supercharge your next fundraiser.
- Take a look at Fonteva’s guide to Salesforce event management to learn all the basics (and much more!) of planning an event using your Salesforce CRM.
- If you’re planning an event on a budget, our list of free nonprofit software can help you find resources to plan, market, host, and analyze your event without breaking the bank!