On April 10, 2019, we hosted a webinar, “Your Big 3 Missed Opportunities in Event Fundraising”. Here are the answers to the questions you asked in the chat…

How do you suggest we tap into those folks that were bidding but didn’t walk away winning? What’s the approach? 
It never hurts to send a text once your auction has closed offering guests the opportunity to donate. When sending a text through the GiveSmart platform you can include a link that takes users straight to the donation page. You can send the same message the following day in an email as well. Suggested text: Thank you for participating in tonight’s auction! Didn’t win but want to give? You can donate here: [[link]]. Another thought is, depending on the auction item, can you get a duplicate of that item? Perhaps it’s a weekend away at someone’s vacation home – can they make another weekend available for someone who bid on a lot of items but didn’t win? Either way, be sure to thank all participants, not just the winners! 
– Kelsey Woodworth, Content Marketing Manager & Event Specialist

How do people on the webinar integrate their event data with their donor databases? 
All the reports that are generated from the GiveSmart platform can be downloaded as an Excel or CSV file, which are acceptable upload formats for most donor management systems.
– Eli Lavaris, Sales Operations Analyst 

I am newer to this company, is there an online platform available to bid all year? 
With GiveSmart, you can utilize the platform all year round to host online auctions and giving campaigns by creating additional events within your organization’s campaign. Our clients are set up on a 12-month subscription basis, giving you access to host a campaign whenever you’d like. 
– Kelsey Woodworth, Content Marketing Manager & Event Specialist

How can the platform help us sell multiples of one item…without cluttering the item list by duplicating?
The way to approach this depends on the type of item you’d like to sell multiples of. For “buy now” items that have a set purchase price, or raffle tickets, you can enter the number of items available.
– JP Berbano, Customer Success Manager

Many of our guests are parents and struggled with the online/text/phone bidding – how can we use the technology to help educate our guests prior to the event? Or while the event is occurring? 
The good news about events with parents is that most of the time they all have their phones to contact the babysitters at home with their kids! You can utilize the GiveSmart platform to send emails to attendees in advance of the event to notify them about mobile bidding. Your Customer Success Manager can provide you with written instructions and a “How to bid” video that you can include in this email. During the event, your volunteers and our staff will work as Bidding Assistants, helping guests place bids on their phones and on our iPads.
– JP Berbano, Customer Success Manager

Is there a way to customize reports/exports? 
You can export all reports to EXCEL or CSV where you can customize your reports. To export your reports: ADMIN > REPORTS > SELECT SPECIFIC REPORT > CLICK ON EXCEL. Once the site is exported to EXCEL or CSV you can make your changes.
– Katlin Bewley, Senior Customer Success Manager 

We struggle to get the names for our guests at the sponsor tables prior to the event, which limits our pre-event communications. Any ideas? We’ve tried incentives, like, provide your names by this date and you’ll receive XX… thanks! 
This is a common struggle for all events, you’re not alone! We’ve seen organizations add a raffle for sponsors to enter that provide all names by a specific date. If using the GiveSmart ticketing portal and attendee names were left blank at the time of ticket purchase, you can remind ALL purchasers or a specific purchaser to update this information. This reminder is sent directly to your purchaser’s email and can be phrased something like, “pre-register contact information so your guests can breeze through check-in and get straight to the party”. If this is still left blank it’s easy for the check-in team to capture using GiveSmart’s guest registration tool.
– Katlin Bewley, Senior Customer Success Manager 

Do you see less participation in large monetary donations outside of the typical paddle raise? The bigger donors seem to like the attention of their donation. Are people seeing more use of the text donations on smaller amounts?
There are a lot of options for donation moments and several ways to highlight large sponsors outside of a traditional paddle raise. A lot of clients are making their donation moment fully electronic. When doing a text donation, you can bring attention to donors by utilizing GiveSmart’s Donations display. You can custom this display for your donation moment, by displaying guests name, and donation amounts as well as the total amount of donations being pledged. Guests love seeing their name shown on the screen, and others want that recognition too, so they donate so they can see their name on display.

If you want to keep a paddle raise but also incorporate a text donation, you can have guests raise their paddles at your larger donation levels and then guests can donate on their phone for the smaller levels.
– Kristine O’Neill, Customer Success Manager 

How early is too early to start soliciting? Event is Feb 2020 and I think we should get moving now. Thought?
In terms of soliciting items for your silent and live auctions, it’s never too early to start! Get the word out early and often so that donors have it in front of mind any time they recognize an opportunity to donate. Be sure to spark creativity by suggesting items such as loaning a weekend at a summer house, a sports game with their season tickets, signed memorabilia etc.

I recommend promoting your site and selling tickets for about 60 days in advance of your event. Before selling tickets and customizing your site you are going to want to attend each of the training webinars to become well versed on the site. Once these are completed you can get going on your site and start to make edits!
– Katlin Bewley, Senior Customer Success Manager 

Is there a tried and true way of reaching out to the public to be a part of the event or should we stick to the current list of donors? We’d like to increase our attendance but are not quite sure how.
An event is a great way to start increasing your donor reach. You’re encouraged to post about your upcoming event on your organization’s website, Facebook page, and any other social media to increase awareness and attendance to your event. You can share your event site’s URL so that guests are taken directly to your site to purchase tickets or register for the upcoming auction.
– Kristine O’Neill, Customer Success Manager 

We have a 3rd party provider that is willing to do a drip campaign through email. Is there a way to connect with GiveSmart with that thirdparty provider so they may know when someone has registered for the event and begin the drip campaign? 
Currently, GiveSmart does not host a feature that enables integration with a third-party email service. There are some manual ways you can get the information you are looking for. If you are comfortable with the third party, you could make them an admin on the site. They could use Reports to gather that information for their emails. Do note that in order to see guest and registrant information they would need to be a Campaign Admin, which would give them access to all financial reporting and transactions on the site. If you do not wish to give that level of access to a third party, someone with Campaign Admin access or higher will need to pull a Registered User Report (Dashboard > Reports > Registered Users) either throughout the life of the campaign or at the end.  
– Aileen Beringer, Customer Success Manager  

We had some attendees that were uncomfortable using their phones to bid. Does GiveSmart have a “hybrid” way to bid without using a phone? Possibly set up iPads throughout the silent auction with a volunteer? Any other thoughts?
This is exactly what our mobile bidding assistant role was designed for! These are volunteers who use iPads or their own phones to help guests bid. The role has two parts. First is teaching your guests how to bid. We encourage bidding assistants be near the silent auction area and actively looking for a guest who seems new to mobile bidding. The tell-tale signs are a guest walking through the silent auction without their phone out, looking from the display sheet to their phone and back again several times, or flat out asking where the bidding sheets are. If the volunteer takes a few moments to teach the guest how to bid, the guest can then go into the event a self-sufficient bidder. For guests who don’t feel comfortable bidding via phone or don’t have a smartphone, bidding assistants can place bids for guests for the duration of the event. This relationship can be as formal or informal as you like.   

They can also discuss using tools like Auto Bids to streamline their bidding. My personal favorite is setting up a bidding help desk. It gives volunteers a clear way to help and ensures guests know exactly where to go if they need any bidding assistance.
– Aileen Beringer, Customer Success Manager  

Our event is after mass, so we have a log jam at check-in. What do you suggest to make it run smoother?
The best way to set up your event for a smooth check-in is by utilizing GiveSmart’s event ticketing feature. By selling tickets through GiveSmart, you have an accurate count for who will be attending the event. This will also help to expedite check-in because the guests’ names, contact information, and credit card will be on file. When guests arrive, they don’t have to worry about adding contact or payment information. They can simply get checked in and start enjoying the event. 

If you’re not utilizing GiveSmart’s ticketing feature, you should try to collect as much information from your guests prior to the event. Guest names, cell phones, and email addresses are the most helpful to have prior to the event. If you have contact information, you can still utilize GiveSmart’s messaging feature to send out pre-event texts and emails to get your guests to complete their registration by adding a credit card on file to help expedite their check-in process. This will help cut back post-event payment follow-up work too.
– Kristine O’Neill, Customer Success Manager 
 

Traditionally, we always close our online auction before the live auction and paddle raise.  Our donors often say they like to know what they’ve spent before the paddle raise. However, I would be interested in hearing more/seeing data on leaving auctions open.
The short answer is leaving the auction open longer will always raise more money. The longer the auction is open, the more people bid, the more money you raise. The longer answer is your silent auction, live auction, and paddle raise have different audiences within the ecosystem of your event. According to our consignment partner Winspire, “15 percent or less [of guests] actually participate in the live auction.” Typically, your silent auction and live auction have different price points, to make the live auction more exciting. People love watching other people spend a lot of money on amazing things for a good cause. It is why cheering in a live auction will always make people bid more. Even though the room is cheering, financially speaking, you are leaving 85% of your room out of the action. Since we already know people will check their phones at least once during that time, why not you give them a chance to use their phone to place a few bids – you can even have the auctioneer mention the silent auction is still open, as a reminder.  

Paddle raises (donation moments, ask, cash calls) are a different type of giving. For the donors who are giving at the highest levels, they came to the event knowing what they’ll give, and your organization likely is aware of that too. For donors giving medium and small gifts, it’s hard to say exactly if having the silent auction open dissuades people from raising their paddle. I will say, buying silent auction items can feel like a safe way to give. Guests feel that while they are giving to a good cause, they are receiving some of that money back. Sure I gave $100, but I got $50 back in Amazon gift cards. Raising a paddle or clicking the donate button is giving money outright, with no promise of goods or services in return for your donation. So, while there is a crossover in the audience for a silent auction and paddle raise, the purpose is different, which is why I don’t see one taking away from the other.
– Aileen Beringer, Customer Success Manager 
 

Link to the full webinar recording here. 

Next webinar will be held on May 14, 2019 – Your Donors: Keep ’em close.
Details & RSVP here.

Kelsey Woodworth

Kelsey Woodworth is the Content Marketing Manager for GiveSmart and an Auburn University Graduate. Her finger is on the pulse daily for innovations in fundraising, community building, donor relations, and event trends. Kelsey lives in New York City.
Kelsey Woodworth

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