Galas, Luncheons, Happy Hours, Oh My! Make Your Life Easier With The Right Tools
Fundraising events are a great way to engage with your organization’s donors and partners to showcase the impact of your work and thank them for continuing to support your mission. Whether you host one big event every year, or smaller local events throughout the year, you know it’s a ton of work to plan and manage each successful event, even for the most experienced event planners! ECHO wants to ensure your organization provides an engaging, enjoyable experience from the moment the first Save The Date goes out to the moment the last Thank You goes out.
And not just for your attendees, your staff as well! Event planning is an all-hands-on-deck affair and requires involvement from the entire organization. Whether it’s your board members soliciting sponsorships, your program team working with volunteers or clients as event speakers, your operations team pulling impact numbers to highlight, everyone is involved. If it feels like a lot of spinning plates… well, it is. But the good news is that utilizing a technology platform like Salesforce can make everyone’s lives a whole lot easier by centralizing data and business processes for staff to reduce manual work and by providing a technology-forward experience for your donors and partners attending.
We’ve outlined the ways Salesforce and other tools can be leveraged for event management the same way an event is planned: pre-event, day-of event, and post-event.
If you’re going green and want to send electronic invitations, consider using a marketing automation tool like Pardot or Mailchimp. Sync your lists of invited donors, board members and sponsors from Salesforce and create specific templates and messaging for each audience. Then track the open and click-through rates to ensure your invitation is getting the traction and attention it deserves!
Chances are you’re not just going to send one communication about it, this event is a big deal! You’re going to send multiple emails to get your supporters excited. Automate communications using a drip campaign to engage your invitees at the right time. Set up the timing based on your marketing calendar, and let Salesforce and technology do all the sending for you, so you can focus on securing…
Corporate, foundation and individual sponsors are integral to putting on any major event, and it’s a chance for them to publicly support your organization’s mission and the great work you do. Manage these contributions in Salesforce so you can track what’s pledged, what’s secured, and what’s paid. You can also create an online form using Formstack or FormAssembly with the different sponsorship levels and allow your sponsors to select what level they’d like to contribute at.
Your invite is out, and the registrations are rolling in! A tool like Classy that fully integrates with Salesforce is a great option that provides page templates for a branded, seamless experience when your supporters register to attend. If you need to collect finer details for your attendees, an online form using Formstack or FormAssembly will give your admins more customized control to map data back to Salesforce. Now you can manage your list of registrants from Salesforce and send them more personalized info leading up to the event.
The event is about to start, and guests are arriving at the venue. Don’t waste your time (and theirs) flipping through 20 pages of a master guest list trying to find their name. Have mobile devices and tablets available for staff to check in guests on the spot. Your staff can be looking at the same guest list and see updates in real-time. Did an important funder just walk in? Check her in, and automatically have the system notify your Executive Director that she’s in the building.
Still have a stack of envelopes as your table centerpiece? Some donors will always be more comfortable writing a check, but not many people carry around a checkbook these days. Instead, give your guests a mobile-friendly experience and allow them to donate via text message. With tools like MobileCause or Twilio, guests can text a number to donate and complete their donation on the spot. And because you’ve integrated with Salesforce, their donations will be synced to your database, and you don’t have to enter a single check. Have a public fundraising goal for this event? Show your guests real-time progress to the goal to help encourage others to donate.
Everyone has gone home for the evening, but you’re not done yet! No event is complete without a proper Thank You, especially if your guests donated at the event. Use a tool like Conga Composer or Drawloop DocGen to pull data from Salesforce and generate a personalized acknowledgement letter.
Since you’ve tracked everyone who’s attended in Salesforce, you can easily send separate email communications thanking those who made it to the event and those who missed out!
Was your event a success? Calculate ROI and let your staff know how much was raised at the event using your data in Salesforce. Of course, a successful event isn’t just about the money. It’s about the experience. As you follow up and thank your guests for coming, ask them for feedback and recommendations for the next event!
Things to Consider
As you plan your event to utilize technology, make sure there’s adequate wi-fi at the venue. Ideally, you’ll have your own network that your team can privately connect to. Go onsite with your tablet and mobile phone to test functionality. Most event tools will have an offline mode specifically for this reason, so you can continue providing a great user experience for guests without worrying about the tech.
Event management using Salesforce can be as simple or as robust as you want it to be, and there are so many more all-round event management tools that can be found on the AppExchange!