3 Common Problems in Nonprofit Event Planning
With in-person events forced to move to virtual, the nonprofit industry has seen a complete change in operations over the last two years. Now, hybrid events are thriving as a way to provide the best of both worlds. During this transition, nonprofits are turning to new event software and tools to create the best experience for their audiences.
Regardless of whether the event is online, hybrid or in-person, implementing new technology can cause challenges that prevent nonprofits from providing the ultimate audience experience. Here are some of the most common issues in nonprofit event management to keep in mind when preparing for an event.
1. Challenging User Experience
Since an event can't take place without participants, attendee registration is the most crucial piece of event preparation. Registration can seem simple, yet it can make or break an event, disrupting the overall experience as a result.
Most nonprofits house important event information on their websites and online registration forms. They also use these pages to collect attendee information and receive payments during registration. However, a strenuous and challenging registration process will deter prospects from signing up. From registration to post-event feedback, nonprofits should ensure all steps in the event experience are efficient and straightforward.
For a positive user experience, all event details need to be on your landing page. Be sure to request everything required from a potential attendee during registration. A few essential items to include on your landing page are:
- Event date, time and location
- An outline and overview of the event with any crucial information, such as session schedules, speakers, and driving and parking information
- Options for special tickets or waitlisting (for example, member/non-member rates or virtual versus in-person options)
- Accepted payment methods and pricing information
- Registration questions, including name, contact information and any additional information for post-event follow-up communications
Pre-built event page templates save effort, money and time; guarantee the user experience starts on the right course; and eliminates the need to code or design forms and pages.
2. Lack of Data Accessibility and Collection
Data accessibility and collection are essential to events. Registration form data directs attendees to important information and keeps them engaged from registration through follow-ups after the event. Nonprofits can ensure instant communication, like updates and schedule changes, with email and SMS reminders. They can easily share surveys and other upcoming events when they have access to attendees’ email addresses or phone numbers.
Nonprofit event organizers miss out on critical information without proper data collection. With the ability to access event data instantly within their CRM platform, event organizers can get a full view of all prospects and customers' interactions and communications, enabling them to tailor and customize ongoing communications. For example, imagine a nonprofit asking registrants to choose a specific interest from a registration question form. The organization can use that data to automatically add the registrants to relevant marketing paths based on those interests. Using existing automation integrations — even outside of events — enhances the entire customer experience.
Additionally, proper data collection can help nonprofit event organizers report event success more efficiently. Management expects event teams to show their return on investment. Metrics, such as number of people in attendance, attendees' job titles and industries, can inform future event strategies. CRM tools can track these crucial event metrics. Teams can then record attendance information to their CRM tool to show how the events impact significant goals, including fundraising benchmarks or volunteer quotas.
3. Wasting Time on Post-Event Work
The last thing nonprofit event managers want to do when an event ends is spend additional time on it. However, most event teams spend an enormous amount of time gathering additional data, sending follow-up emails and pulling together reports. Using your existing CRM and automation platforms to complete post-event tasks can save hours of wasted time. Technology devoted to streamlining nonprofit event processes allows an organization to tie its event and attendee records to contacts, leads and opportunities.
Nonprofits can also streamline operations for recurring events by implementing software with recurring event features and cloning software to create similar event experiences and pages. Instead of manually recreating event pages, which requires setting up necessary integration and critical details, they can save hours of work by using existing assets. Nonprofits can take that existing information, such as the previous event’s attendance list or marketing initiatives to update events in the current pipeline.
As this new era of events evolves, so will the nonprofit software, tools and strategies that organizations use to ensure event success. Recognizing and preventing common problems will best equip nonprofits to plan and successfully execute their next event.
Chris Federspiel began his career at a young age, coding websites in middle school, followed by Perl and CGI scripts in high school. He later moved into sales and marketing for Internet Creations and Silverline. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found Plative as a Salesforce Systems Integrator (SI), followed by Brainiac. Chris’s latest venture, Blackthorn.io, was established in 2015 and has seen exponential growth and success since then, having received multiple Salesforce.org Partner of the Year awards.