Taking your website to the next level: Online Event Registration
• 43% of non-profits allow prospective attendees to register for events online, and 78% of non-profits send event invitations through direct mail — this wide gap between online and offline is an area that screams for better constituent service.
Your website is one of the most effective marketing tools you have. With it, you can put information about your events in the hands of people you know and people you haven’t met yet. But providing information is only part of the equation. You risk missing a golden opportunity if you don’t allow interested visitors to register for your events while they are on your site and thinking about how they can become involved with your organisation.
Moreover, allowing event registrations online is simply a good service. According to the Blackbaud’s report State of the Non-Profit Industry (SONI), of those surveyed, 59% of respondents say that their organisations expect fundraising contributions from events to increase this year, and 26% expect that revenue to hold steady. Only 10% get no funding at all from events or don’t hold events. So 90% should be allowing registrations on the Web, versus the 43% that actually do.
At a minimum, the 78% that advertise events through other direct marketing channels could almost certainly see an improvement in event participation and associated gifts by allowing interested parties to learn more and register online. Of course, once you are using your website to market your events and collect registrations, the natural next step is to allow your most avid supporters to drive traffic there. One way this can be done is by providing supporters personal web pages where they can collect sponsorship dollars in support of participation in “-athons,” tournaments, or fundraising challenges (everydayhero, a free tool by Blackbaud is a great tool for this). Called Peer2Peer(p2p), “team-” or “sponsor-me” fundraising, this exciting new spin on volunteer solicitors can boost excitement around your events and dramatically increase the money you raise from them.
Fortunately, the technologies that support dynamic, engaging websites are well established and becoming more mainstream in the non-profit world. Donors have expectations of quality web experiences that have been set and driven by the competitive environment in the commercial marketplace. Non-profits that meet or exceed donor expectations will earn their loyalty and reap the benefits.