[GUEST POST] Successfully Manage Your Event Attendee List: 6 Components
Your organization has planned a wonderful event and your attendees are already getting excited about it. You’ve invited all of your dedicated long-term supporters and are expecting some new guests as well. The success of your initial outreach has your team looking forward to the event, but it has also created a lengthy and complex attendee list.
An extensive event attendee list is a good problem for your organization to have, but only if you can make sense of and use all of that valuable information! You can make the process efficient by embracing new trends in nonprofit fundraising technology that make it easier and less hectic to plan and carry out events.
However, you’ll want to make sure that the new software solutions you adopt can build upon your current systems. You’ll also want to be able to make use of the comprehensive data that you already have stored from past events and giving. Today, we’re taking a look at how you can use your software solutions to:
- Automatically store attendee information in your CRM.
- Ensure that you can segment your event attendee list.
- View attendees according to their selected registration and pricing options.
- Provide multiple registration methods.
- Engage attendees with your event microsite.
- Use event reporting to evaluate your success.
To form lasting connections with your event attendees, it’s essential that your organization can save and access plenty of information on each of them. This process is made much easier when you can automatically store your attendees’ information in your CRM when they register for your event.
1. Automatically store attendee information in your CRM.
Whenever your supporters attend an event, make a gift, volunteer with your organization, or interact with you in another way, it’s almost certain that you’re recording the details of that interaction in your donor database. This is essential so that you can tailor your future outreaches and maintain valuable connections with your supporters. You can gather information on your attendees more easily with the help of your event registration and management software.
Event registration and management platforms are highly useful at every stage in the event process, from planning to promotion to follow-up after the big day has passed. They’re especially important for collecting information on your registrants. Your organization is keeping records of your interactions with each of your attendees, and your software solution can help by automating important parts of this data collection process.
To gather the necessary information on your attendees as they register for your event, you’ll need to choose event registration and management software that integrates with your current CRM or select a native event management solution. If your organization is already using a major CRM such as Salesforce®, native event registration and management software offers distinct advantages.
When you choose a native software solution, your team doesn’t have to spend their time and energy learning the ins and outs of a new system. You also don’t have to spend any time on the integration process itself. As soon as your attendees start registering for your event, the information they provide will be automatically stored in your CRM, augmenting your supporter database.
In addition to the ease of setup and use, you’ll also be able to apply the conveniences and features of your CRM platform to your event registration and management processes. Fonteva’s guide to Salesforce® event planning offers additional information on the ways in which your organization can benefit from a native event registration and management solution.
After your organization has implemented a CRM and event registration and management software, you’ll be able to gather and store your registrants’ information easily. To better understand and use all of that data, it helps to segment it as you develop outreach strategies for different groups of attendees.
2. Ensure that you can segment your event attendee list.
Events are a great way to reconnect with long-term supporters and attract new contributors to your organization by providing an in-person experience showcasing all of your good work. You’ll surely want to reach out to all of your attendees in the days following the event. Developing the right outreach strategies begins with the information you gather when your attendees register.
Segmentation of your supporters’ information is key to successful future outreach. As you gather registrants’ information, consider segmenting your supporters into groups according to:
- How long they’ve been involved with your organization. Attendees who have never been to one of your events or otherwise interacted with your organization will require different information to stay involved than will long-term or regular supporters who are always on your guest list.
- Their capacities to give. Your organization is more likely to ask for gifts successfully when you approach donors with the right expectations regarding gift sizes. You’ll communicate differently with supporters capable of making significant gifts than you will with those whose capacities to give are more moderate.
- Their reasons for supporting your organization. Not sure whether your supporters love your organization mainly because they’re committed to your causes, for instance, or because you serve their hometown? This is one of several good questions to ask donors, especially after they attend or register for your event. You’ll learn why your work matters to them and how they may want to become more involved in the future.
If you want to learn more about the event attendees on your list before your next outreach effort, consider conducting prospect research. This process gathers data on your attendees’ wealth and philanthropic records, helping you as you structure your communications with different groups of supporters and determine the gifts you should ask for.
Your team can conduct prospect research on its own, with the help of specialized prospect research software from a provider such as DonorSearch, or by hiring a prospect research consultant to bring professional expertise to the process. You can use the resulting prospect research data to augment the existing information in your CRM as well as learn more about your newest supporters following your event.
Even before you conduct prospect research, however, you can begin the process of segmenting your event attendees based on their desired level of involvement within your event according to their registration preferences.
3. View attendees according to their selected registration and pricing options.
If you’re offering your attendees different options or packages when they register for your event, their selections can be a useful indicator of their level of interest in your organization, especially for attendees you don’t know well yet. While it’s important to choose a fundraising event idea that appeals broadly to all of your guests, you can offer options within that event to address more specific interests your individual guests may have.
When you view your attendee list or segment their information according to the portions of the event they’ve shown interest in attending or the pricing packages they’ve chosen, you can learn and save such useful details as:
- Their main reasons for supporting your organization. Have certain attendees registered for portions of your event that all relate to one specific cause within your organization’s broader activities or mission? Knowing your attendees’ particular interests can help you structure future communications toward them.
- Their desired levels of engagement with your organization. Registrants who have opted for your highest-level pricing package are demonstrating their belief in and commitment to your organization. If they’re not already long-term or significant supporters, it’s worth getting to know them on an individual level.
- Their favorite event activities. Registration options and pricing packages aren’t just useful for segmenting your supporter database. They’re also good indicators of the activities and focuses your attendees are looking for when they attend more of your events in the future.
When your event registration and management software allows your organization to see the portions of your event that your guests are planning to attend, you’ll gain insight into the facets of your organization in which they’re interested. You’ll also learn which activities appeal to them, helping you structure future events to be even more engaging for your supporters.
This additional registration data is valuable for your organization as you reach out to your attendees and plan events, so be sure that it’s stored automatically in your CRM. Want to gather more important information? Ensure that your attendance levels are high by providing multiple registration methods for your event.
4. Provide multiple registration methods.
The most successful events are those that are well-attended. With more guests, your organization will have more opportunities to demonstrate the importance of your work to members of the community. You’ll also have more supporters with whom to build relationships. To help ensure the success of your event, provide multiple registration methods so that everyone can register easily.
As we increasingly spend our days on our computers and smartphones, it’s likely that many of your registrants will learn about your event via social media. Ensure that your social media strategy includes reminders to register for your upcoming event. To attract online registrants, you’ll want to make sure that you:
- Provide a link to your registration page. Make it easy for social media followers who see your posts or visit your organization’s page to register within seconds by providing a link to your registration page or platform wherever possible.
- Post about the event to build excitement. Countdown posts to the big day can be highly effective, as can the use of multimedia elements such as pictures or videos providing more information on event highlights or giving a glimpse into the setup process.
- Show registrants where they can find more information. If your event registration and management software facilitates the creation of event microsites on which registrants can find more information, link to this to build excitement after your registrants make the decision to attend.
The more options you offer on your registration page, the more convenient it will be for potential guests to complete their registration. To attract the most attendees, look for an event management platform with features for registration such as:
- Multi-day or single-day registration capabilities.
- The ability to register for a recurring or series of events.
- A way to indicate preferences and requirements, from dietary needs to seating.
By providing your registrants with these and other options, you’ll increase your attendance numbers and meet more supporters. Once they’ve registered, they can learn more about your event and get excited about it by visiting your event microsite.
5. Engage attendees with your event microsite.
Your attendees will enjoy your event more if they are enthusiastic and well-prepared coming in. When you choose event registration and management software that facilitates the creation of event microsites, you’ll give your guests the opportunity to learn more about your event and prepare for the experience ahead of time.
Event microsites are your attendees’ gateway to all of the activities in which they’ll be participating. One of the most important features of your event microsite is the agenda, where registrants can see the times for each activity and plan their individual pathways through your event.
The best event microsites are accessible on mobile devices as well as computer screens so that attendees can view the schedule from wherever they are. While they’re great to share as your upcoming event grows closer, you can leave your event microsite up for longer periods of time to allow your attendees to plan for the future.
Once your attendees have planned their paths through your event and have had a great time, it’s time for your organization to determine just how successful you were. You can use your event management software solution to generate useful reports that will help you make the most of your event and make the next one even better.
6. Use event reporting to evaluate your success.
Whether your event is the most successful your organization has seen thus far or you’re hoping for more engagement the next time you host one, event reports can help you determine what you did right and what you can improve the next time around.
It’s always worthwhile to analyze your data after the event to boost future fundraising success. You’ll want to know:
- Which activities were the most popular. If some of the activities you planned or the topics you covered were especially popular with your attendees, you’ll want to be sure to include them in future events.
- Which registration or pricing packages your attendees preferred. Offer more of the most popular packages in the future to encourage increased attendance.
- What your attendees had to say. Don’t forget to survey your guests or find another way to speak to them regarding their experiences. Many of them will be happy to provide feedback that can help you improve your next event.
A great event is a surefire way to promote constituent engagement by interacting with your supporters and acknowledging their individual importance to the success of your organization. Learning more about your attendees and saving this information for future use is key to building lasting relationships with the supporters that keep your organization doing good work.
When you gather plenty of information on your attendees and use your event registration and management software to organize and understand this data, your attendee list becomes easy to manage. This list is also a source of highly important information that can help your organization strengthen relationships with current and new supporters.
By Jake Fabbri, Vice President of Marketing, Fonteva
Jake Fabbri is the Vice President of Marketing at Fonteva with over 18 years of experience working in marketing management. He has experience with lead generation, content marketing, marketing automation, and events.