Online and mobile technology is here to stay. Better technology and the increased popularity of social media and other online tools have lead to significant increases in efficiency across all aspects of our lives.
It’s no surprise that these improvements have also affected the realms of event management and fundraising.
Let’s first consider event management and online registration & ticketing. When was the last time you attended an event where you could only purchase physical tickets in person? As you’re probably thinking, this is now a rare occurrence. Instead, online event ticketing and registration tools are becoming the norm as event hosts are eager to reach a larger audience, sell more tickets, and collect information more efficiently. As a result, according to a Google study, 71% of all event tickets are now purchased online.
While slightly behind, the shift to online and mobile may be even more drastic for fundraising initiatives. Fundraising event hosts and organizations are realizing that traditional fundraising methods (paper bid sheets for silent auctions & raffles, in-person / mail solicitations) are costly, clunky, and ineffective. Organizations and fundraising event hosts are now embracing mobile technology for their fundraising efforts, incorporating tools such as:
- Online donation pages
- Mobile & online silent auctions
- Peer-to-peer fundraising websites
- Text-to-give donation appeals
Each of these tools offers a plethora of benefits to both fundraising hosts and users. On the host side, online and mobile technology allow organizations to reach a much larger audience rather than only those who are able to physically attend their events. Online and mobile fundraising tools are also more engaging and efficient in collecting information about the organization’s supporters. On the user side, online and mobile fundraising tools allow for a more accessible and user-friendly channel to donate through. Donors can now support their favorite causes with the click of a button (or the sending of a text)!
In fact, online and mobile donations are growing rapidly. According to the 2017 Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report, 7.6% of all donations that year were done online – a massive 12.1% increase from the year before! Even more interesting – 21% of these online donations were submitted from a mobile device. Clearly, online and mobile donations are here to stay and are increasing at a rapid pace.
Naturally, the benefits of online technology are twofold when used for both event ticketing / registration and fundraising…but is it possible, and does it make sense to use one platform for all your ticketing and fundraising needs? In this post, we will tell you the advantages of combining your ticketing and fundraising platform. To start, we will advise you how to choose the right ticketing vendor, review the benefits of mobile fundraising, and wrap everything up by explaining the benefits of using one platform for both your ticketing and fundraising needs. Enjoy!
Choosing the Right Ticketing Provider
When it comes to finding the right online ticketing or registration provider, you’ll see a ton of options out there! To make your life a little easier in finding the right provider, we’ve put together a few criteria that we would suggest researching as you compare your options.
- Pricing / Fee Structure – To start, we recommend looking at the pricing and fee structure of the ticketing provider. Do they charge a percentage of each ticket sold? A flat rate? Both? What are the credit card or transaction fees associated with their platform? Each of these questions is important when looking at pricing. Along the same lines, try to understand your options for paying the fees. Most ticketing providers will give you flexibility to pass the ticketing fees on to your ticket buyers, making the service free for your organization.
- Customization Options – The ability to customize your event covers many aspects of the ticketing or registration process.
- Branding – To start, let’s focus on branding. An effective ticketing platform will allow you to add your own logos, messaging, and branding to your event page. Creating your own look and feel is essential to selling more tickets and telling your story, so try not to overlook this feature!
- Tickets – Of course, you’ll want to choose a provider that offers custom ticket creation. This means being able to create different ticket tiers, all with their own prices, descriptions, quantities, and dates available for sale.
- Information Collected – Often overlooked, the ability to collect custom information on your ticket buyers may be another important feature for your event. Most platforms will connect name, email, and phone number. But can you collect custom information? Some popular options we’ve seen here are meal selections, T-shirt size, or even preferred table to sit at.
- Check-In Features – Event check-in is almost always a pain. An effective ticketing platform can help make this less stressful for you and your guests. When researching ticketing options, try understand how check-in works. Can staff scan digital and paper tickets from their phones? Is there a backup option to search for guests by name and check them in?
- Customer Service – We all know that running an event can be stressful at times. Having a strong customer support team will go a long way to help you set up and execute your event. Our recommendation would be to find a platform that offers 24/7 support. Support channels may include phone, email, or live chat.
The Benefits of Mobile Fundraising
Now that we’ve covered the event ticketing and registration side, let’s quickly review the benefits of online fundraising. As we mentioned earlier, online fundraising can take many forms, the most popular being online donation pages, online/mobile silent auctions, peer-to-peer campaigns, and text-to-give campaigns.
No matter which mobile fundraising tool you decide is best for your organization, you should be able to raise more money than ever based on the benefits listed below:
- Reach a larger audience – Embracing mobile and online fundraising will allow your organization to reach a significantly larger audience. Social media and email campaigns make it easy to share the web page for an online fundraiser or donation page. Of course, you will no longer be limited to physical means of raising money, or to only those who attend your fundraising event.
- Provide a more engaging experience for your donors – Rather than relying on paper bid sheets or manual donation entry forms or letters, online fundraising tools provide a more engaging experience for your supporters. Fundraising web pages provide automatic updates on donation progress (or bids for silent auctions), and users can even receive instant notifications via text message for things such as silent auctions or text-to-give campaigns.
- Easier donation process – Using mobile fundraising tools makes the donation process simpler and more accessible. Supporters can donate from anywhere, at any time, through your online or text message–based fundraiser. Furthermore, checkout can be done in seconds using credit card processing tools that are directly on your users’ mobile devices.
- Easier for you! – Finally, mobile fundraising tools save you time and stress. Setup can all take place in the same location, aggregating your event info and collecting information on donors and their payments in real time. All contact information is stored, allowing you to easily follow up with your supporters.
Why You Should Combing Your Ticketing and Fundraising Platform
Taking all this information in mind, it’s time to move to the cutting edge of technology for events and fundraising…combining the two under one platform. While many readers may simply be interested in the ticketing or the fundraising side, many who are in need of both functions are currently using two different platforms to cover both their ticketing and fundraising needs. Using multiple platforms, of course, creates more work for the event organizer while leading to a disjointed experience for your guests and supporters.
Instead, we recommend using a platform that offers both online ticketing and mobile fundraising capabilities. Here’s why:
- Continuity of experience – Let’s face it, no one likes creating a user profile in multiple locations. When you sell tickets using a different platform than your mobile fundraising provider, you will be asking your users to do just that. Alternatively, selecting a platform that offers both ticketing and fundraising tools will allow you to offer a seamless experience for your users, from ticket purchase to donation. Here, the platform will collect and (securely) store your users’ information at the point of ticket purchase or registration. When the user then attempts to donate, bid, or text to give, the system will remember their user and payment information, meaning they will not need to create a new account. This positive experience will be met with much appreciation (and hopefully additional contributions) from your donors!
- Increased donations and participation – Another benefit of having your ticketing and fundraising under one platform is that you will have the tools to increase support and proceeds for your event. An effective platform will allow you to host all your ticketing and fundraising initiatives on an optimized web page (example below). You will already be driving traffic to this page in order to sell tickets – now you can encourage your ticket buyers to support your cause by donating, or browsing and bidding on your silent auction items. With everything in the same place, donating will be a breeze!
- Improved and more engaging experience – Finally, the combination of ticketing and fundraising under one platform will create a more engaging experience for your guests. Again, because their information will be collected at the point of ticket purchase, you will now have the ability to engage your supporters more effectively. A couple of examples include:
- Create email campaigns – This will allow you to update your supporters prior to your event. Here, you could send updates on ticket sales, attractions at the event, or even send through your mobile silent auction URL in order to attract donations.
- Check in to the event – The best ticketing and fundraising platforms will automatically create a continuous experience for your guests. For example, when your guests check in to your event, they can now receive an automatic push notification welcoming them to the event, along with a link to donate or bid. This provides a seamless experience for your guests and results in higher participation and proceeds for your organization.
After reading our overview of ticketing, mobile fundraising, and the integration of the two, we hope that you will feel as passionately as we do about the possibilities of using these two forms of technology in tandem. While the experience may be new for you, we are confident that you and your guests / supporters will have a better experience!