6 Great Software Solutions for Your Fundraising Event

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Posted on May 28, 2019 by Harbor Compliance in Fundraising and Grants.

When running a fundraising event, there can be a lot to keep track of: planning the fundraiser, booking venues or speakers, and more. This means you have to take advantage of all the resources available to you. In terms of manpower, these might include licensing consultants for your organization, volunteers, and other industry experts. However, there’s also a technological element that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Some of the most valuable resources available for running your fundraiser will be software-related. Without investing in the right solutions, you’ll be taking on more work for yourself and increasing the risk for error.

There are several types of must-know software out there that you should be incorporating into your organization’s strategy. In this article, we’ll cover the following software solutions:

  1. Online giving pages
  2. CRM database
  3. Peer-to-peer fundraising
  4. Charity auction tools
  5. Text-to-give software
  6. Event management tools

Are you ready to explore the excellent software solutions available to you? Building out a toolkit that addresses each of these key areas is a great way to cover your bases now and for any future campaigns you conduct. Let’s take a look!

1. Online giving pages

Online giving pages are one of the most important places for donors to contribute to your fundraiser. If you want to start off by making a good impression on your donors, it’s important that your online giving pages are up to par.

How do you do this?

Invest in a powerful fundraising solution that offers embeddable forms and customizable options. More specifically, your online giving page should:

  • Allow you to customize your form. Select the fields and questions you want your donors to answer. This is important because if you ask too many questions, your donors may abandon the form. Full customization lets you capture the data you need and not waste your donors’ time with what you don’t.
  • Embed into your website. Establish and maintain trust with your donors by having the donation form embed directly into your website. This will reassure donors that their contribution is indeed going to your fundraiser and not through a third-party website.
  • Engage donors. If your software includes gamification techniques (like fundraising thermometers) or social media sharing tools, you can easily tie this into your fundraiser and encourage donors to participate.
  • Easily report revenue. Gather insights into how much revenue your fundraiser has raised. Strong online giving tools typically come with built-in analytics tools and easy data export options.

Offering a customized giving form with these capabilities will help your fundraiser reach its goal and keep donors engaged simultaneously. Whether you’re planning a physical event or an online-only fundraiser, your online giving form will be there to collect contributions and help you achieve your mission!

2. CRM database

One of the most important tools that any fundraising organization should have is a CRM. Investing in a powerful CRM (or donor database), such as Salesforce, NeonCRM, Blackbaud, or Bloomerang, can help you track invaluable donor data, keep accurate records, maintain donor relationships, and continue to obtain donations in the most efficient way possible.

If your CRM integrates with your fundraising software, you’ll be able to:

  • Seamlessly track data and reports. Move your donor data between your fundraising software and your CRM.
  • Record all of your contributions. If you’re running an auction, for example, you can track all your transactions, ticket sales, and donations.
  • Learn what works and what doesn’t. Analyze your event’s results and identify areas for improvement.

A CRM database that integrates with your fundraising software is the key to putting on a fundraising event that works both by raising money now and providing invaluable insights into the future. Plan more engaging events, raise more revenue, and learn more from your data.

3. Peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful tool you can use to spread awareness of your cause. It’s an excellent lead-up to a major fundraising event, though it works well in many other scenarios, too.

Essentially, peer-to-peer fundraising works by empowering your supporters and volunteers to fundraise on your organization’s behalf. It follows this general process:

  • The nonprofit sets a fundraising goal and creates a main campaign page.
  • The nonprofit recruits volunteer fundraisers to create their own individual fundraising pages.
  • The nonprofit provides resources and helps the volunteer fundraisers get ready to launch their fundraising pages.
  • The volunteer fundraisers share their pages with friends and family and promote them online to their social media contacts.
  • The nonprofit tracks the ongoing progress and offers continued support to the volunteer fundraisers.

Investing in the right peer-to-peer fundraising software is important for a few reasons: You want to have the right features that allow you to track your progress, and you also want to successfully engage all your supporters. For instance, use a fundraising thermometer or encourage some friendly competition among your fundraisers to get on the leaderboard!

As mentioned before, peer-to-peer fundraising is a great lead-up to an event. Whether you’re planning a bikeathon or a gala, you can use peer-to-peer fundraising to increase both participation and fundraising for your event. You can even add to the hype by incorporating plenty of additional engagement opportunities, like custom merch, contests, gamification, and special online-only events like live streams.

Take full advantage of this software, develop a smart peer-to-peer strategy, and you’ll be on your way to meeting your goals in no time.

4. Charity auction tools

Clearly, there are many ways to incorporate software into your fundraising event. One of the most impactful tools you can use is charity auction software. With this software, you can streamline your auction events, raise more revenue, and increase participation.

This happens to be our area of expertise, so explore the exhaustive OneCause guide to charity auctions for a deep dive. For a quick overview of how these events can help your organization, though, consider the three types of auctions:

  • Silent auctions
  • Live auctions
  • Online auctions.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

Silent Auctions

Traditionally, silent auctions involve items and packages of items displayed on tables with a sheet of paper beside them for bidding. Today, silent auctions are supplemented and streamlined with mobile bidding tools, where guests bid right from their mobile devices. This can help you better manage your event and receive more bids.

Live Auctions

Live auctions generally entail an auctioneer announcing auction items and moderating the bidding process. Attendees bid by shouting out amounts or raising paddles, for example. This type of auction is advantageous because there’s some friendly competition involved, and the overall event is more engaging.

Again, using charity auction software to help plan and manage the event is a smart move. It saves your team time, letting you focus on finding the perfect items, creating an amazing experience, and raising more money.

Online Auctions

Online auctions are a cost-effective and flexible way to run an auction for your fundraiser. This event can run longer than a live auction (even as part of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign), and many people can participate from anywhere at any time. Many organizations even choose to open up online bidding alongside their live events in order to reach wider audiences.

With online auctions, your auction software can connect to your nonprofit CRM, which will allow you to more easily collect donor data and payment information.

Planning a charity auction can be daunting, but using charity auction software is a great way to keep track of your donors, obtain more bids, and increase your revenue and flexibility with your fundraiser.

5. Text-to-give software

Along with auction software, another great way to raise funds for your fundraiser is through text-to-give. Text-to-give is an efficient paperless method, as well, and can be used to collect donations from a variety of places.

Here’s how it works:

  • You set up a keyword for your campaign.
  • You promote your keyword and encourage individuals to donate.
  • Donors can text that keyword to make a donation with their credit or debit card.
  • You can then thank your donors for their contribution.

Pinpointing preferred channels of communication is one of the most effective ways to increase donations, so by incorporating text-to-give software into your giving methods, you can reach a brand new audience that you might not have found before.

According to these recent statistics, donations completed through mobile devices increased by 50% last year, so it’s important to focus on developing mobile fundraising strategies. Convenience is key, so be sure to make it easy for your donors to give.

6. Event management tools

When putting on a fundraising event, of course, event management software is a core investment that can streamline your process from start to finish. Some benefits of using dedicated event management software include:

  • Ticketing capabilities. Create custom ticket packages and allow attendees to make specific requests. You can even add an option to make a donation when purchasing a ticket.
  • Registration. Streamline the registration process and eliminate lines at your event.
  • Table and seating arrangements. Easily assign tables at your event and determine a headcount. You can even group tables based on sponsors, etc.
  • Donor management. Keep track of donations, communicate with donors, and acknowledge them.
  • Social media sharing. Allow donors to share parts of your event on social media, like when they’ve made a donation. Sharing capabilities can also boost engagement and widen your event’s outreach.
  • Reporting capabilities. Track data before, during, and after your event to continually refine your event strategies.

By incorporating event management software into the planning and execution of your fundraiser, you can easily track the data you need and make your entire process smoother. This software allows you to manage each part of your fundraising event without spreading yourself too thin, so it’s definitely worth the investment.

If you want to put on a successful fundraiser, these software solutions should form the foundation of your toolkit. When investing in new tools, always try to find solutions that can address multiple needs at once. Charity auction software that can also support planning the auction event itself is a good example. This will help keep your efforts more centralized and focused on your big-picture goals.

Take advantage of online and mobile giving, as well as social giving to spread awareness, and you’ll be on your way to hosting a successful event!

Joshua Meyer brings over 14 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the Director of Marketing for OneCause. Currently, as a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Josh manages all of the firm’s marketing efforts. He has a passion for helping to create positive change and loves that his current role allows him to help nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.