5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Event Fundraising Software

Mark Kelly
March 27, 2018

Find out what questions to ask before your nonprofit purchases event fundraising software.

If there’s one thing that’s true year after year, it’s that event fundraising is a key component of your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. Not only does your team rely on fundraising events to help you reach your campaign goals, but these events are also one of the most important tools in your arsenal that you can leverage to build sustainable relationships with donors, volunteers, and other supporters.

Fundraising Events

Luckily, when you find the right event fundraising software, there’s nothing stopping your nonprofit from getting more from what your fundraising events have to offer. But first, you’ll need to find the best-fit solution for your team!

Consider some of these questions your nonprofit should ask itself before investing in event fundraising software:

  1. What kind of event fundraising software are you looking for?
  2. What kind of goals and metrics matter to your nonprofit?
  3. In what ways do you want to improve your event fundraising strategy?
  4. How will you merge your event fundraising efforts with online fundraising campaigns?
  5. How do you plan to keep up with fundraising event attendees moving forward?

Once your team sits down and figures out the answers to these important questions, you’ll be ready to pick the right event fundraising software solution for your nonprofit.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive into these critical considerations!

What kind of event fundraising software are you looking for?

1. What kind of event fundraising software are you looking for?

Much like fundraising software or donor management software, there are a lot of different event fundraising solutions on the market. However, just because there are a lot of options to choose from, that doesn’t mean your team can pick any old platform.

In fact, it’s rare to find a comprehensive event fundraising software that offers all of the features your team needs while seamlessly integrating with your nonprofit’s other solutions.

Your ideal event fundraising software should include the following must-haves:

  • Event pages. Easily create, customize and share standalone or embedded events pages that inform supporters about the logistics of your fundraising event, its goals, and how they can get involved.
  • Event registration forms. Fundraising event registration software allows supporters to quickly and easily sign up to participate in your nonprofit’s next fundraising event as an attendee or volunteer.
  • Fundraising tools. While most fundraising events occur in person, you’ll still want to have online fundraising tools in place to acquire gifts and pledges before, during, and after the event.
  • Donor management. Keep track of donors and attendees with robust donor management software. This way, you can collect valuable donor data and hone your fundraising events strategy.
  • Marketing tools. With the right marketing tools, your nonprofit can spread the word and get people excited about your upcoming events across email, social media, and other channels.

The bottom line? Whether you’re a large nonprofit with a long history of hosting fundraising events or a smaller organization that's just getting started with event fundraising, a comprehensive solution is always the right choice.

What kind of event fundraising software goals and metrics matter to your nonprofit?

2. What kind of goals and metrics matter to your nonprofit?

Not only does event fundraising software make hosting fundraising events a smoother process for your nonprofit, but it can also push your team closer to your long-term growth, engagement, and fundraising goals.

Before your nonprofit decides which event fundraising software you’ll buy, it’s crucial that you consider your major goals and how the solution will help you reach them.

Ask your team some of these important questions when narrowing down your event fundraising software options:

  • How will the solution help us get closer to our fundraising goals? Will it streamline the giving process, offer supporters more ways to donate, or increase event registration rates?
  • Can the software play a part in boosting donor upgrade rates? Is the solution equipped to help us follow up with past donors and steer them towards upgraded giving?
  • Does the events platform offer peer-to-peer fundraising? How much control would our team and our supporters have in maximizing the peer-to-peer fundraising experience?
  • Are there engagement tools on the platform that would help us maintain more meaningful constituent relationships leading up to and following events?
  • Can we leverage the events software to grow our community? What kind of tools does the platform offer that could help us steer more individuals toward our events?

The bottom line? Think “big picture” when picking your event fundraising software solution. Event fundraising software should be integrated into your overall strategy rather than relegated to just managing the logistics of individual fundraisers.

In what ways do you want to improve your event fundraising strategy with software?

3. In what ways do you want to improve your event fundraising strategy?

Quite often, nonprofits struggle with putting on effective fundraising events. Whether they don’t result in your necessary ROI or fail to be a hit with your constituents, understanding where your events strategy can improve is the first step in identifying what kind of event fundraising software you should invest in.

As your team researches event fundraising options, you should start a dialogue to address what kind of improvements need to be made to your organization’s event fundraising strategy on the whole.

One way to identify where your nonprofit needs to make improvements is by hiring a nonprofit consultant. With a consultant, you may work through an event fundraising strategy assessment to single out areas of improvement to address.

After the assessment, the nonprofit consultant might determine that:

  • Your CRM doesn’t contain the right kind of donor, volunteer, and event attendee data.
  • Your fundraising events aren’t garnering the necessary attendance numbers to reach your goals.
  • Your current software configuration is ill equipped to serve the needs of your organization.

Bonus! Looking for a consulting partner to help elevate your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy? Check out DonorSearch’s list of the top nonprofit fundraising consultants to help get you started on your search.

Promoting Matching Gifts

Fundraising events are a great way to get to know your donors better, so consider using your fundraising events as a platform for promoting matching gifts. Corporate giving opportunities are often overlooked by nonprofits, so this can be a great starting point for improving your event fundraising strategy as a whole!

Matching gifts programs also work well with online fundraisers, because some corporations have structured philanthropy programs in place for matching donations made to a crowdfunding campaign or a peer-to-peer fundraiser.

The bottom line? Just like with determining your nonprofit event fundraising goals, identifying problems with your current strategy is a necessary step into figuring out the kind of solution your team should adopt.

What kind of software will you need to merge your event fundraising efforts with online fundraising campaigns?

4. How will you merge your event fundraising efforts with online fundraising campaigns?

One of the most pervasive misconceptions about event fundraising software is that these tools can only benefit your events on the day they occur, or during the planning process.

In fact, event fundraising software is at its best when it’s perfectly integrated with your other online fundraising tools, like your peer-to-peer fundraising solution.

Since fundraising events are a great motivator for your peer-to-peer fundraising volunteers, it’s no wonder that finding a platform that works seamlessly alongside your peer-to-peer fundraising tools can make fundraising so much easier on nonprofits.

Luckily, there are many comprehensive event fundraising software platforms that include peer-to-peer fundraising tools as part of their solution.

Find a comprehensive events solution that offers key peer-to-peer fundraising functionalities, including:

  • Customizable event pages that integrate with your ongoing peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.
  • Individual or team fundraising pages that give your volunteer fundraisers total control over how they raise money.
  • Mobile apps so your volunteers can manage their fundraising pages wherever they are, whenever they want.
  • Dashboard analytics that give your team a bird’s eye view over your ongoing peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.

Dashboard analytics are an especially important feature for your event fundraising software and can help your team hone its peer-to-peer fundraising events strategy.

For an example of features like these in action, take a look at Salsa's event registration software analytics tools:

The bottom line? Successful fundraising events work because they don’t limit their fundraising opportunities to the day of the fundraiser. Choose an event fundraising software that allows your team to extend the reach of your event with online fundraising solutions like peer-to-peer fundraising.

How do you plan to keep up with fundraising event attendees moving forward?

5. How do you plan to keep up with fundraising event attendees moving forward?

If your event fundraising strategy doesn’t have a plan in place for maintaining relationships with attendees after the event is over, your team is truly missing out!

Fundraising events are one of the top places for your nonprofits to convert supporters into donors and build a lasting relationship that you can count on from campaign to campaign.

When you choose your event fundraising software, be sure that your platform offers robust stewardship tools. This way, once the event ends your team can stay connected with supporters and begin laying the groundwork to solicit your next gift or invite them to the next event.

Your event fundraising software should enable:

  • Automated acknowledgements. Find a solution that lets your team draft gift and attendance acknowledgements as well as schedule them to be sent at the appropriate time once the event ends.
  • Attendee list segmentation. Be sure to choose a software that helps your nonprofit segment lists of event attendees by factors like event type, donor status, affiliations, and other important factors.
  • Engagement tools. Your event fundraising software should offer the ability to engage with your event attendees across channels including email, social media, direct mail, and more.

The bottom line? Don’t let your event attendees get lost in the shuffle! Make sure your event fundraising software makes it easy to keep up with them once the event ends so you can steward them for your next fundraiser.

There’s a lot your nonprofit needs to know about your event fundraising needs before choosing a software solution. With these key factors in mind, your team is ready to make an informed choice and start putting on more impactful fundraising events!

If you want to find out more about event fundraising, check out these additional resources:

Peer to Peer Fundraising Salsa Demo

Topics: Fundraising
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