Article Published: January 8, 2016
Article Published: January 8, 2016
By Blake Groves, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Salsa | Ignite Action. Fuel Change.
Our smartphones tell us the weather, remind us to call our mothers, and help us figure out who that one guy from that one movie is. Cars can self-park. And you can rent and watch a movie, all without getting off your couch.
Technology makes our lives easier and more efficient. It can do the same thing for fundraising events; you just have to learn its best uses.
Make sure all the right technology gets a “save the date” with these three tips for better fundraising.
Before we delve in, check out a collection of fundraising event ideas. You can’t optimize technology for an event that hasn’t been put on the calendar yet.
And if you’d like to familiarize yourself more with the tech industry, attending conferences and the like is always a great opportunity.
With the assistance of your CRM software, you should have no issue:
Emailing out invitations to your guests.
Storing registration data.
Life is easier when all of your necessary data is funneled into one location. The information goes straight from your RSVPs to your database.
Responses will not get lost in the mail. Interns won’t have to spend hours copying contact information into Excel. Instead, your fundraisers, volunteers, and event planners have access to an accurate treasure trove of attendee information.
You can then leverage the pre-event data to do some research on your attendees. Learn more about who’s who and who knows whom. When the day or night of your big event rolls around, your fundraisers will already know which prospects they should spend additional time with.
At a fundraising event, the staff on site is going to have very little extra time. This use of technology helps those fundraisers make the most of their tight schedules.
Has your organization taken advantage of crowdfunding yet? Crowdfunding, sometimes called peer-to-peer fundraising, builds from the grassroots nature at the heart of fundraising and couples it with impressive technology.
Your organization can start a crowdfunding campaign on a crowdfunding platform. You can then ask participants to register their own subpages and fundraise on your behalf.
Crowdfunding campaigns can be virtual events within themselves, but they also pair well with a whole group of fundraising events.
If gathering pledges is involved, crowdfunding technology often proves useful. Walk-a-thons, bowl-a-thons, dance-a-thons, and any other “a-thons” you can think of commonly make use of crowdfunding platforms. Using peer-to-peer fundraising, participants collect donations and secure pledges.
Arguably, the greatest benefit of crowdfunding is the exposure it affords the hosting organization. Usually, your promotions reach your network and others within the specific channels that you market through. When you let the power of peer-to-peer fundraising take over, you’ll find donors you would have never otherwise reached.
Crowdfunding feeds off of the shareable nature of the internet, particularly social media, and grows organically.
Imagine setting up a crowdfunding platform as a supplement to your Winter Wonderland Road Race.
A loyal participant and regular volunteer, Susan, creates her own page through the platform. She shares her page with her social media network and email contact list. Susan’s former roommate, Becky, sees one of Susan’s posts, decides to join in. Then Becky’s dentist gets a promotional email from Becky, and joins the fun, as well. And so on, and so on.
Your organization will have to market these events, undoubtedly. They will, however, get help from a group of engaged participants.
So, someone has made it to your auction or your gala or your field day, and that attendee is ready to donate. Have you made it as easy as possible to do so? Technology to the rescue!
How technology makes donating onsite easier is up to your nonprofit and the event in question, but you could employ many different solutions, including:
Optimizing online giving for mobile users. If someone wants to take out their phone and make a quick donation when a rousing speech from your event chair inspires them, make sure that the attendee has the ability to do so.
Pre-authorizing participants for your auctions.
Using credit card swipe devices. The card swipers are compatible with various devices from laptops to cell phones.
You can bet that the tech you want for a field day is going to drastically differ from the tech you want at a gala. As with any of these technological tips, striking a balance between event need, attendee need, and organizational need is of the utmost importance.
When it comes to new fundraising technology, nonprofits need to hop on board sooner than later. Your supporters live in a tech-heavy world and will expect the same from the organizations that they choose to give to and volunteer with.
With more than 20 years in technology solutions and consulting, Blake comes equipped with hands-on knowledge of sales, consulting, product management and marketing. For the last 10 years, he has narrowed his focus to how Internet technologies can help nonprofit organizations, and prior to joining Salsa, he held positions at Convio and Charity Dynamics. Before his work with nonprofit organizations, Blake held consulting and product management positions at IBM’s eBusiness Unit, Netscape, Sun Microsystems and America Online. He graduated with a B.S. in Marketing from Texas A&M and his M.B.A. from The American Graduate School of International Management.