Making The Difference: Mobile Fundraising
It’s midnight, and 500 of your special event guests just left the ballroom. They spent the evening enjoying a festive cocktail hour; supported your organization through silent and live auctions; purchased raffle tickets or wine pulls, diamond drops and other variations; enjoyed an elegant gourmet dinner; mingled; and danced. Guests smile as they exit while the development team exhales and begins to wonder: “How did we really do tonight? How much money was raised? Did our guests walk away with a better understanding of our impact? Did we add new donors to our rolls? How are we going to sort through all details and information and have a solid report and opportunity to analyze for the future?”
The answer is long before your special event kicks off. Add mobile fundraising technology to your special event toolkit, and you’ll quickly see how you will make a difference in gaining more revenue at your event. Mobile technology offers an efficient process, helping your staff stay on top of the many moving parts and allow your guests a more streamlined experience donating to your cause.
Technology has become increasingly user-friendly. Donors from Baby Boomers and Gen X to Gen Y and Millennials have become more digital-centric. The smartphone has become an indispensable part of everyday life, making it completely normal to use as a tool during a special event rather than struggling to keep track of old-fashioned paper and pen bid sheets. There is no special software to download or device to manage.
Most of your guests are accustomed to looking at their phones and find it useful to receive a text alert when an item they bid on has been upped, with a chance to click a button to increase their bid or move onto another item without moving away from the engaging conversation with other guests. It is important to ensure all of your guests have a positive experience at your fundraising event.
Technology streamlines the development teams many tasks starting with guest management. Rather than tie up a dozen volunteers dedicated to checking in guests busy flipping through multiple spreadsheets and checklists, mobile technology offers a simple solution—advance registration. Capturing mobile phone numbers in advance of the event makes registration a breeze. Guests simply receive a text inviting them to register and follow the prompt, filling in proper contact and credit card information. The system is capable of securing advance auction bids, donations and, of course, table assignments. The result is an organized, streamlined arrival process helping your guests feel they, too, are special at your special event.
Optimize your revenue stream. The ability to give from anywhere allows you to increase revenue potential beyond your guest list. It can be a lifesaver if you’re holding an outdoor event, and Mother Nature is not cooperating, capturing donors who may not have braved the elements.
Top tips to increase funds raised at every event include:
- Advance planning. Understand your audience and go for quality over quantity auction items. Sometimes less is better than more. Focus on items that connect with your mission or support your organization’s impact. Add unique experiences that are difficult to “purchase” on their own.
- Open your auction early. Create buzz leading up to your event and drive bids up on key items. Electronic bidding and donating enables your entire community of supporters to participate.
- Know your donors. Examine your guest list, and strategize key players that you can tap into during your event to bid certain point priming the audience to be comfortable to donate more.
- Thank your donors quickly. Mobile fundraising technology platforms provide quick access to immediate reports on who participated, what they gave, top prizes and more at the close of your event. Tap into the power of a timely, tailored “thank you” to your top donors. No need to wait for weeks of tracking down guests who left without paying, delivering auction prizes and other time drags.
It's time to dive into the digital era where mobile technology is the focus. Nonprofits will save time and gain more revenue at each special event by embracing technology and focus in-person energy on making and building long-lasting relationships with guests and donors. Nonprofits that choose to steadfastly stick with old-fashioned methods will be left behind leaving opportunities for monetization on the table at every event. Let technology support your efforts and help you make a bigger difference to your constituency.
Jim Alvarez is the founder and CEO of full-service fundraising technology company Gesture By Community Brands. Gesture has helped nonprofits across the country raise over $500 million since 2011 through the use of technology. Alvarez is the recipient of the Chicago Innovation Award and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award for his innovative idea and launch of Gesture. He is an avid speaker and author helping nonprofits to embrace mobile fundraising technology to increase fundraising efforts. Alvarez drives the growing company to make hope happen for nonprofits developing innovative ideas that embrace technology.