There's An App for That

Written by Chris Werner. Posted in Shark News

Given the multitude of options available in the world of event management & fundraising software, how do you know which is best or best for your organization?  Over the years, we’ve employed a number of packages, some good, some bad, and some really expensive and what we have come to recognize is that there are a few elements, features, and tools to keep in mind when choosing your software.

A “Snowman” List of Considerations:

1. Jack of All Trades
Because we have walked in your shoes, we know the challenges you face in managing all the aspects of event management, fundraising and fund tracking. The list of daunting tasks include donor engagement, event planning and management, fundraising campaign management, crowdfunding, social media promotion, volunteer management and so much more. Therefore, as you begin to evaluate software take a moment to outline the different things that you require and immediately eliminate those packages that are just a one-trick pony.

2. Let The Word Go Forth
Having a strong social media presence is critical to communicating your event and fundraising effort to your followers and with the expanding number of social media channels, this can be an overwhelming task.  It is important, therefore, to make sure that your software can facilitate easy “point and click” type application through to the most popular social media feeds. Other helpful tools when searching for the best software are easy plugins or tools that can streamline adding video or audio to your communications and other outreach tools such as thank you emails and event invitations.

3. Show Me the Money!
Gathering statistics and making reports are REALLY BORING activities, but they are vital to a robust event or fundraising campaign. Strong reporting tools will make your work much easier at the backend of a campaign and in preparing for next year’s effort. Look for tools that include progress reports of your campaigns, donor information, and sales reporting. Also, keep an eye out for whether the tool is easy to navigate and understand. The best software package offers easy data input, great reporting, and is simple to use. 

4. Can We Be Flexible?
During the year, you probably engage in many fundraising efforts and each event has its own quirks or needs.  Choosing software that can support each type of event is rather important in the evaluation process.  Is there enough versatility in the package to manage each event or can it not keep up?  Check around with other users to see if they have encountered obstacles that were insurmountable.

5. Next Generation Payment Processor
When all is said, and done, your fundraising will not be successful if you don’t’ have the proper tools to be able to process donations. When researching software packages, look to see if the merchants follow strict PCI and industry standard security practices. Also, take note of what type of payments are acceptable, which includes credit card and ACH payment types and international payments - if that is important to you. Finally, what are they charging for payment processing? Consider opening your own merchant account with your bank to save money.

6. Do Not Break The Bank
Cost is always an issue.  Funds are tight as it is and expensive packages may not fit into your budget. Look for high transaction fees or per registrant fees – both should be avoided. Good packages exist that charge nothing more than a one-time-only flat fee. 

7. Own It
In addition to being easy-to-use and presentable, another key feature to look for is customization.  Can the pages be tailored to look like they are an extension of your “look”? In addition, is it mobile-friendly? Can your supporters easily recognize that it is your organization?  A fundraising page that looks like it belongs to your organization adds an extra touch of professionalism, especially when all your donors see is a digital page when fundraising online.

8. For When Things Go Wrong
Finally, no matter what package you choose things will go wrong – there will be “issues.”  That said, choosing the right software means that you’ll never have to worry when they arise.  Is the support team easily accessible via email, chat, or phone? Find out whether you receive support when you purchase your software and how quickly they can assist you with issues that come up.

Choosing the right software package is the first big decision that you will make on the journey to your fundraising event.  Do not trust it to just anyone.  Seek expert advice from those who have “been there and done that” like we have a  Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you find a package that can meet and exceed your needs.

Who We Are
Tournament Masters is a full-service consultancy specializing in fundraising event management.  With over thirty years of experience in marketing and fundraising, Tournament Masters, recognized as one of the leading independent consulting firms in the industry, is proudly affiliated with the Golf Tournament Association of American, the National Golf Course Owners Association, several state associations, and the PGA. 



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