The Right Shoe Can Change Your Life, and So Can the Right Nonprofit Fundraising Software
How It Had “Always Been Done.”
When I started my nonprofit fundraising career a decade ago, all I knew were spreadsheets, paper bid sheets, and manually charging sales for each guest at a fundraising event. Truthfully, that was what I was taught, because that was how it had “always been done.”
Like my small nonprofit in those days, many similar nonprofits have a hard time prioritizing new technologies and tools as expense line items in their already tight annual budgets, not realizing the vast support and increased income that actually comes from having a full-service event software that can process your sales and keep track of your donors.
I’ve used and seen several event softwares in my decade of experience, especially after joining the ranks of STUDIO 4Forty and supporting nonprofit organizations all over the country with their fundraising events, and there has consistently been a software I prefer most for reliability and robust services, and that is Greater Giving. With this nonprofit fundraising software, in particular, I thought it would be helpful to break down the ways in which Greater Giving transformed my previous nonprofit’s event support and how I have seen it support many more across the country.
Perhaps the most obvious, and really the most important, use for an event software system is that if used correctly, it can keep all financial aspects of the event organized and easily accessible. No matter what report you need to pull, what metrics you are looking for, or what support you are looking for in association with a sale, you can find all of that information within Greater Giving.
Nonprofit Fundraising Support
One of my favorite pieces of Greater Giving is that they have a robust Help section with a plethora of articles, instructions, and tutorial videos to teach new and experienced users alike the correct way to set up each of the elements in the software to best support your unique event. If you still can’t figure something out, then there is also a quick and helpful support chat or phone line to call and talk to a representative, who can guide you through even the most complex problems.
Integration with Donor Software
Many of our nonprofit fundraising partners ask if Greater Giving integrates with their donor software system. Greater Giving has a section in each supporter’s profile that will allow you to put the donor’s unique ID from your donor software system, so when you import the event information into your donor software system post-event, you’ll be sure those donor profiles line up.
I’ve had a few teams ask if they should be entering their donor information into both their donor software and Greater Giving pre-event. The short answer to that is no. It’s more time efficient to keep all event details inside Greater Giving, then export that information once the event is closed into your donor database.
There are wonderful automations within Greater Giving to eliminate many instances of human error. When tracking with paper or spreadsheets, there are many instances where manual entries could be mistyped or needed information could be missed. When set up correctly, things like ticket sales, sponsorships, and even online auctions are all automated within the system for accurate tracking. You’ll even have the ability for your guests to enter their own contact information for you so that you can email or text them event information directly.
Improved Guest Experience
When running my own event without a software system, the checkout lines were so long! Guests were frustrated that it was taking so long. Volunteers and staff members were beyond stressed trying to figure out the correct amount to charge the person in front of them and which auction lots they were meant to take home (from a tiny, shared Excel spreadsheet). It was a nightmare! Lesson learned and the next year we implemented Greater Giving!
With an event software system like Greater Giving, you can have expedited registration by allowing guests to pre-register. Registration itself is usually a quick process if you have all of the guest names already in the system, as the only big steps are assigning a bid number for each guest (crucial!), confirming contact information, and adding a credit card to their guest profile. The entire process can land anywhere between 30 seconds – 3 minutes per guest, depending upon the amount of information needed and what has already been input.
During the event, with an assigned bid number, any revenue activation like a raffle entry or auction bid would only require the guest’s bid number to add their sale. This eliminates the hesitation for many guests to enter, as it is an easy and streamlined process. No more pulling out a credit card for every point of sale in your event space!
At checkout, a guest can provide either their name or bid number and all of their purchases would show, including their previous payments and what is now owed. From the checkout page, you can charge a card or record a different payment method, then email a receipt. The longest part of checkout is finding their purchased auction items, but that can be streamlined, too, with the right volunteers and plan in place.
Improved Donor Retention
A big purpose in a nonprofit fundraising event is not just the fund-raising, but the friend-raising. All of those guests you finally got in a room to learn about your organization shouldn’t be one-time donors. Let’s make them organizational friends and longtime supporters!
With the data collected in Greater Giving and then imported into your donor database, you now have a record to refer to for future events, for year end appeals and capital campaigns, or even to join your volunteer ranks. Be sure to connect with those attendees throughout the year with a thank you, opportunities to engage with your organization, and additional ways to donate to support your mission.
As stated above, an event software system typically helps to eliminate some common errors in charging for the revenue items, which ultimately helps your bottom line. The fewer errors and opportunities for miscommunications, the easier it will be to correctly process all payments post-event.
With each registration and bid number assigned through the system, you’ll also have the opportunity to swipe and hold a credit card on file. That way, any associated sales during the event linked to a guest’s bid number or name will be ready for a full batch out post-event (or can be charged one-by-one).
Gone are the days of having to track down each bidder individually to get their credit card information to plug in one-by-one on an office credit card processing machine. Greater Giving helps to process all online and event day sales with an easy, full batch out process with the push of a few buttons.
Efficient Software Solutions for Your Nonprofit Fundraising Team
As you’re considering how to best capture all of the ticket sales, sponsorship sales, seating allocations, event day sales, and transferring those into your nonprofit bank account, there’s no better nonprofit fundraising system than Greater Giving to offer a comprehensive, secure, and efficient event software solution.