Event Management with Click & Pledge
- October 25, 2016
- Category: App Focus
- Written by Tompkins Spann
If you’re a nonprofit staffer, your hosted Events are a lot like celebrating a big family holiday or milestone birthday. The preparation, the planning, the logistics, the details and the stress are always underestimated and then it’s all over in a flash. Don’t get me wrong, the rewards are tremendous, but the labor required to successfully execute an event for your nonprofit is huge! We get it. Been there, done that.
In this post we’re going to talk about the functionality and value of a specific Event solution, but before we go there, let’s get something straight – there are MANY types of Events and no single technology can serve all types. No way, no how. For nonprofits there are mini-RSVP only events, there are big annual galas, there are volunteer activities, there are conferences, concerts, hikes, endurance events with fundraising attached, etc. etc. Seriously, calling all of these “Events” is dangerous because it assumes they all operate similarly, which is wrong, totally wrong.
In this post we’re going to focus on fundraising events like an annual gala, and similarly managed events. These events require a registration for guests (both online and offline), there may be multiple levels of registration, of which some will have fees associated, discounting options and often table seat assignments. For the purpose of establishing a clear terminology, we’re going to call these “Gala Events”.
In the Salesforce ecosystem world there are several options available to support Gala Events. We’re not going to compare and contrast all of the options here, instead, we’re going to focus on one product which we believe to be among the best, Click & Pledge Event Management.
Why Do We Like Click & Pledge? Three Reasons:
- Functionality – as you’ll see here the C&P product has a tremendous depth of features for creating event registrations and managing the attendees, and they keep updating the product regularly with new features and enhancements. The latest release is 4.4. This review is based on this version.
- Integration – C&P has the best Salesforce integration we’ve had the pleasure to work with. It’s truly exceptional. The way C&P compares incoming individuals against existing individuals in your Salesforce database is the gold standard and we wish it were a core feature all applications utilized. There’s no better option that we’ve seen or could imagine.
- Price – if you don’t use it, you pay $0. The only way C&P makes any money is through transaction processing fees, and their fees are comparable to what you’d pay a standalone gateway, yet you’re receiving a full solution, not just payment processing, for these comparable fees. Their pricing is hard to beat.
Let’s Talk About the Functionality
Our Favorite Features
These are the features that make C&P Event Management stand out. Please note, this is NOT an exhaustive list of every feature, there are too many to call out. These are just our favorites.
Online registration with the option to have multiple registration sites per event
Having online registrations forms is a no-brainer these days, but C&P takes this further. Not only can non-technical staff launch a new Event, you can create one event, with multiple levels and selectively display your levels on different registration sites. That allows you to have one registration site for company Sponsor A, another registration site for a different group, and another registration site for members or existing supporters, etc. This is huge. With many other products this would require multiple different events and your staff would have to consolidate your data. What a pain!
Different registration levels, with different custom questions and different discount options per level
Probably our favorite feature area. Registration Levels can have custom names, ordered however you like, set with different prices, number of included tickets, additional fees, tax deductible amounts.
You can set when you want each level to be available for online registration. Want to offer a “limited availability” level? Sure, go ahead and set the start and end dates for that level, then it will automatically expire at the minute you choose. Want to ask a set of different registration questions of students than corporate sponsors? No problem, create custom questions for the level.
Want to offer a discount for your early-bird registrants? Or a bulk-purchase registration? You can do either/or and also offer simple discount codes, and more.
Ability to have onsite/box office registrations with specific levels and different payment options
This is a relatively new feature. The use case here is that when people register online, you may offer a few levels, but for walk-up registrations you want to offer some different levels, or have different payment options for the existing levels. You can do this with C&P.
Customizable, differentiated email messaging for registrants and attendees
C&P knows there’s often a key difference between a registrant and an attendee and your communications need to be aware of these roles. That’s why they allow you to create email messages that are tailored to the role, and also tailored to the payment choice provided. Now you can send your registrants more information about their will-call tickets and payment requirements at the door, while sending the associated attendees a simple “Have a great time, see you there, here’s your QR code you can use for Check-In at the door” email message, devoid of the payment details. These messages can also be tailored to registrants and attendees at your individual levels and scheduled in advance (e.g. 24 hours before the event date).
Room for Improvement
C&P Events has no shortage of functionality, but some of it feels less polished and other areas feel a bit dated. Here are some features we feel could use some enhancement.
- Overall usability – operating within the Events tool can be somewhat confusing. There’s almost too much functionality at your fingertips. We think some carefully selected enhancements to the user experience could help streamline the administration of Events. Note: there have already been many enhancements, 12 months ago the UX received a desperately needed refresh, and so it’s getting better.
- The Designer - Tickets, Badges, Site Templates and Widgets. This area seems like a grab bag of features not thoroughly built out. The badges and printable tickets seem dated and overly-engineered. The site templates are nice but buried within the user experience. The Widgets… wait, what are widgets again?
- Anonymous attendees vs. known attendee registrations – this is not an easy issue to manage, but right now if your nonprofit offers a level with 10 seats, and the person registering doesn’t yet know who all ten attendees will be, they have to make up a fake name for everyone. They cannot just say, “I know I’m coming with my spouse, but we haven’t decided yet who we’ll bring with us” and easily finish the registration process. They must literally provide a name for all ten people in order to complete the registration. This is a pain.
Overall, the C&P Event Management solution is the most comprehensive product we’ve come across for nonprofits using Salesforce as their database of record. And what makes it even more compelling is the constant enhancements and improvements they’ve invested. This Labs post is evaluating version 4.4007, released October 5th, 2016. This product has been around since early 2013 and in 2016 alone they pushed out 5 releases. That’s an impressive amount of innovation and attention to client requests.
We’re fans of what Click & Pledge has been building and hope you’ll like it too!
Now check out the Table Seating SmartPack we've built to complement the C&P Event Management product.