Leveraging Tech to Crush your Next Event, Part 3: After the Event
This is the third and final installment of our three part series to help you utilize tech to increase guest engagement and make your life easier, BEFORE, DURING and AFTER your events. Make sure to check out Part 1 (Before the Event) and Part 2 (During the Event) of our blog posts: Leveraging Tech to Crush Your Next Event!
AFTER your event:
Your event software will almost certainly provide an emailed thank you for all ticket purchases and in-event purchases. Do your best to customize these to the guests' experiences. In other words, utilize a separate Event Purchase thank you and also take advantage of a Post Event Email by thanking guests in a branded way. Take it a step further and begin getting read right away for next year's event by linking to an online survey requesting feedback from guests. This can sometimes be hard (or lovely) to read, but you will get immediate and candid responses if you allow guests to answer questions right after they leave the event.
There are some great text messages that can serve your organization following the event as well. A quick thank you, followed by a reminder that the silent auction is still open or that there is still time to buy a raffle ticket or if you didn't have time to donate, you still can... all of these messages are really useful to some of your guests.
Now's the Time for Check-out and Fulfillment
While we do advise against Check-out at the event, you do need to quickly fulfill winning bidders' purchases. They've won the game and are excited to reap their reward! Volunteers and board members are great ambassadors for driving around silent auction items.
If you're worried about incurring extra shipping costs, you might but those can be defrayed by letting out of town or off-site bidders know that an additional flat fee ($20 for example) will be added to anything that needs to be shipped. Ideally your software can send an automated Winning Bidder Communication to just the winner to request fulfillment information.
THANK. YOUR. SPONSORS.
Can't be done enough. In all the ways. You can use video or short photo collages to sponsors after the event to let them know how much their support meant to the success of the event and the funds raised for your cause. This is the one place we would always advise going analog - handwritten notes and personal phone calls from staff, clients or board members are very meaningful. Be creative, but do not forget to say how grateful you are to your sponsors at every level.
Reports are only as good as what the data in them is used for. When you look through your event reports, and you should, take note of the anomalies, the outliers and the surprises. Maybe your core supporters (who are generally the ones that will come to your events) didn't bid at all on the Spa Day packages in the silent auction, but the trips and experiences in the live auction outshined everything else. Note which donors raised their paddles at multiple levels or for multiple items - this is someone to cultivate a relationship with. Again, there are many examples of what you can do with your information, but the key message here is to do something with it.
Events are about relationships and articulating your mission to supporters. There are many ways that technology and software can help you do just that, and meet your guests where they are. Technology should add to the event and bring value and ease to your effort - if it is going the other way around, it might be time to try something new. The right tools for your organization are out there. It's simply a matter of finding them and putting them to good use.