Event Technology 101: Combining Your Fundraising & Ticketing Platforms
Each day, I hear about more and more platforms and new technologies that have entered the event ticketing market. These technologies help make our lives easier, improve our business performance, and even take over many of the manual tasks we perform.
However, it can be overwhelming when deciding which platforms or technologies are right for you. With so many options available, more time is needed to research and ultimately choose the right tools.
In today’s world of ever expanding technologies and platforms, the tools that not only make our lives easier but do so by consolidating the most tedious tasks are those that will emerge as leaders.
The fundraising and event spaces are no exception to this challenge, with hundreds of new fundraising and event management platforms surfacing over the last few years. To make your life easier, this post will focus not only on the benefits of mobile fundraising and event management technology but also on the benefits of combining these two functions into one cohesive platform.
The expected results? A better experience for your supporters, more funds raised, and endless hours saved for you and your organization!
Let’s start by discussing the current state of mobile and online fundraising.
Why Event Ticketing?
Online and mobile fundraising tools have become more widespread over the last few years due to their ease of use and effectiveness. Additionally, different tools are available for fundraising needs of all kinds. Some of the most popular online fundraising formats include:
- ● Mobile & Online Silent Auctions
● Online Donation Pages
● Text-to-Give Campaigns
● Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Websites
These fundraising formats have become so popular over the years that it is estimated that 7.6% of all donations in 2017 were made online – a massive 12.1% increase from the year before, with an even larger increase expected looking back at 2018.
But behind this massive shift are also a handful of key benefits that are helping fundraising organizations on a massive scale and allowing them to become more successful. Some of the major benefits of mobile fundraising include:
● Saving Time for the Organizer – Let’s start on your end as the event organizer of a fundraising organization. When manual fundraising means are used (paper-based silent auctions, checks written for donations, physical mail campaigns, etc.), an immense amount of time and resources from your team are required. Switching to a mobile or online platform to raise funds can save massive amounts of time for your team. Whether you are organizing a silent auction or general donation, these initiatives can typically be set up in minutes and require the time of only one team member. Furthermore, online and mobile fundraising tools automatically aggregate donor information, which can be plugged into your donor management tool in order to save even more time as you plan your yearly communication plans with donors.
● Reaching a Larger Audience – One of the biggest benefits of mobile and online fundraising tools is that they can help you reach a larger audience than you would with traditional fundraising means. A standard fundraiser will limit your team to the number of people you can send mail to, call, or invite to a physical event. From an event standpoint, only those present will be able to support your cause. On the flipside, mobile and online fundraising tools allow your cause to reach an audience that is unlimited in size and location. All fundraising platforms allow you to share your cause either via email or socially, creating a viral impact and allowing you to reach supporters around the globe.
● Creating a More Engaging Experience for Your Supporters – In addition to reaching more people, mobile and online fundraising tools allow your team to provide donors with a more engaging experience. No more handwritten bids, donation pamphlets, or check-writing. Instead, your donors enter their bids online or using their mobile devices, and they receive instant confirmations, outbid notifications, and winner confirmations. This immediate acknowledgement will keep your donors engaged, excited, and donating repeatedly.
● Creating a Better Donation Experience – Similarly, mobile and online fundraising tools create a much better (and easier) donation experience for your supporters. Donating can be as simple as sending a text message or entering a donation online. This means that your supporters can now donate from anywhere at any time. Payment and checkout can be done in seconds, avoiding slow and clunky checkout processes. Your supporters want to help your cause; you should make it as easy as possible for them to do so!
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of mobile fundraising, let’s talk about how you can enhance your event by finding the best event ticketing or registration platform, and what to look for when doing your research.
Finding the Right Event Ticketing Provider
As we alluded to before, there are a TON of event ticketing and registration platforms available for you to choose from. Rather than having to do all the research yourself, we figured we would provide you with a few criteria that will make the process easier.
● Customization Options – To start, you’ll want to use a ticketing / registration platform that offers enough customization options to help promote your cause while also collecting valuable data on your attendees. A few things to look out for include:
- Branding Customization – This means being able to add your own logos, messaging, sponsors, etc. These elements will let you more clearly convey your cause’s message and tell your story.
- Information Customization – While you will want a platform that lets you collect your attendees’ names, emails, and phone numbers, there may also be custom data points you are interested in (How did they hear about the event? What is their dinner option selection?).
- Ticketing Customization – Finally, you will want a platform that allows you to create custom ticket types. These could include different-priced tickets (VIP, General Admission, etc.) or different ticket types (single admission, sponsorship, table, etc.)
● Check-In Features – Event check-in can make or break your event. To avoid long check-in lines, we suggest finding a platform that has an integrated check-in solution. This means using a platform that allows staff members and volunteers to scan digital and paper tickets from their phones while also being able to search for guests by name and check them in.
● Customer Service – Of course, customer support can be one of the most important factors in choosing an online ticketing provider. We suggest finding a provider that offers 24/7 support so that you will have someone to help even during the busiest times of your event.
● Pricing – From a pricing standpoint, make sure you understand all components of a ticketing provider’s pricing. Common pricing elements include:
- Flat fee per ticket
- Percentage per ticket
- Credit card processing fee
Additionally, it’s important to understand the options available to your organization when paying the ticketing fees. For example, is your organization responsible for absorbing the fees? Can you pass them on to your ticket buyers?
● Integration and Supplemental Features – Last but not least, we recommend finding a ticketing platform that offers integration or supplemental features that will allow you to consolidate the number of providers you are using – this is the whole point of today’s post! In terms of a fundraising event, an ideal online ticketing platform will either integrate with or offer fundraising features or components…more on this in the next part of this post!
Why You Should Combine Your Event Ticketing and Mobile Fundraising Tools
Now that we’ve covered the basics of mobile fundraising and event ticketing/registration, it’s time to explain why combining the two functions can be extremely beneficial both for your organization and for your supporters.
While many of you may be interested in only the ticketing or the fundraising side, we have a hunch that many are also in need of both functions and are currently using two different platforms to cover both your ticketing and fundraising needs. Using multiple platforms creates more work for the event organizer and can lead to a disjointed experience for your guests and supporters.
On the other hand, you’ll enjoy some major benefits when selecting a platform that offers both online ticketing and mobile fundraising capabilities. You can find the major benefits below:
The first (and most obvious) benefit of combining your event ticketing and fundraising platform is that you will be able to create an end-to-end connected experience for your supporters. Rather than having to buy a ticket and then create another profile to donate or bid in your mobile auction, your guests will be able to use one account for everything.
Once a user purchases tickets to your event, the platform will automatically store their user and payment information. When the user then tries to donate, bid, or text to give, all their information will already be populated, removing an additional step for your supporters and making a perfectly seamless experience from ticket purchase to donation.
Combining your event ticketing and fundraising platforms will also lead to a natural increase in donations. Look at the example image below. As you can tell, the hosting organization now has one unified web page for ticket sales, silent auction item viewing/bidding, and donations.
As traffic is driven to the site to encourage ticket sales, users can also start bidding or donating, leading to a natural increase in donations and funds raised.
More Engaging Experience
In addition to helping you raise more money, combining your fundraising and ticketing platforms will provide a more engaging experience for your guests. The two major ways that we’ve seen improvement in engagement include:
● Event Promotion – Because you will be able to collect your attendees’ contact information when they purchase tickets, you can use that information to provide them with email updates about your event. Any email you send that drives users back to your main fundraising page will remember the user’s profile and payment information, making their donation experience as easy as ever. For example, you may send your ticket buyers an email promoting your high-value auction items, including a link to your auction. Users can click the link and begin bidding in seconds without having to create a new profile.
● Event Check-In Text Message – When combining your ticketing and silent auction platform, you will be able to create an amazingly smooth bidding experience for your guests. Using an integrated ticketing and fundraising platform, you can set up your event to send an automatic push notification to your guests when they are checked in to an event. Immediately upon check-in, they will receive a text message prompting them to donate or bid by clicking on your fundraising webpage link (included in the text). This can help drive massive increases in engagement, bids, and donations!
Time Savings & Simplicity – Finally, combining your event ticketing and mobile fundraising platforms will help save YOU time and will make things simpler. Rather than aggregating user information from two different platforms, all user info will be in one location, allowing you to market to your guests and collecting donation data and analytics all in one central location. Selling tickets, encouraging donations, and monitoring checkout can all be executed in one platform, making your life easier and saving loads of time.
After learning about the benefits of combining your event ticketing and fundraising solutions, we hope that you’ll be able to realize significant time savings and increases in funds raised. Good luck!
Guest Post by Zach Hagopian