The Day After the Event

April 20th, 2017

It’s finished! Your event was yesterday and all the time, money and effort that you put in came to fruition. Now, you can rest.woman-phone-comp

Wait. No, you can’t! You’ve only just begun!

It’s time for the follow-up.

Sometimes, organizations focus so much energy solely on the event itself. However, if you aren’t careful, you overlook the opportunity that was just presented to you. These people who joined you for your event – be it through friends or family – are potential ministry partners and friends to the organization. This relationship is brand new to some and first impressions truly last.

This is your opportunity to make a GREAT first impression. 

By showing appreciation for people giving of their time to be invested in your ministry, you nurture relationships with potential ministry partners. This is your chance to not only fundraise but to “friend raise” as well.

With the use of FundEasy, all your event information is in one place so you can easily see who participated, donated, and raised funds for your event. It is important to thank each of these people.

Connecting with participants and ministry partners should be done in a tiered fashion within a week of your event – the sooner the better. For every day a ministry partner goes unthanked, money is lost, so be ready to start that very next day. For best results, aim to get thank yous “out the door in 24” — preferably starting phone calls the very next day. Trust me, your partners will be impressed that you took the time to reach out!

Be certain to thank your event sponsors and large-dollar ministry partners (top 10%) immediately after the event. This is a great opportunity to share next year’s event date with them and invite them to sponsor/participate again. Having the event fresh in their mind helps encourage the commitment for next time.

You also have some long-time ministry partners who have been faithful for several years and some brand new partners who have given a large first-time gift: These people need a little extra care. Take the time to call or visit with them and learn their reason for giving. The impact will be far greater than an email or a receipt.

That said, for a broader reach of participants and low-dollar partners, emails are a wonderful way to connect with many people in a swift timeframe. Emailing through FundEasy helps reach all your participants and ministry partners to say thank you and let them know you will be following up them periodically so you can continue growing the relationship.

working-meeting-fun

All people have a desire to feel as though they belong and are significant. Following up with participants and ministry partners is an essential part of relationship building for your organization. This is your chance to help these people know how vital they are to the work you do in your community. Through their gifts, they are changing lives! What an amazing gift!

So, right now, make certain that on your “To-Do List,” you have “Thank Ministry Partners” listed immediately following the event. Or, simply print out our “Fundraising Walk To-Do List” and start checking off those tasks today.

Happy planning!

 

Andrea Trudden
Andrea Trudden

 

Photo 1: Designed by Prostooleh / Freepik
Photo 2: Designed by katemangostar / Freepik

Heartbeat International Conference Giveaways

April 12th, 2017

Heartbeat International Conference

Are you going to the Heartbeat Conference in Chicago next week? We’ll be at Booth #102 and we’d love to chat with you! We also have some pretty awesome things we’re giving away, so stop by our exhibit and say “hi!”

Stop by Booth #102:

✔ Free iPad Drawing
✔ Free Event DrawingCrystal Velte
✔ $100 Off Your First Event

In addition, our very own Crystal Velte is speaking all about Walks in the Fundraising Dynamics track. Don’t miss her workshop, 4 Keys to Planning a Winning Fundraiser on Friday.

 

Some New Faces at Ministry Sync

April 12th, 2017

Ten years ago, two guys in Chicago took a giant leap of faith and quit their jobs to develop Ministry Sync in order to help non-profits nationwide with their event management. Since then, Ministry Sync has grown consistently. This year already, we’ve added three new staff to our Ministry Sync crew! You’ve already met me (Andrea), so please help me welcome Jennifer and Cody!!!

Jennifer Henry, Account Manager
Jennifer lives in Jacksonville, NC with her 3 children. She and her kids keep busy with their daily routine of work, homework and soccer schedules! Jennifer was introduced to her local pregnancy center in 2014, when she faced her own unplanned pregnancy. It was through that journey—and the support provided by her local pregnancy center—that her heart was forever changed in favor of adoption and the pro-life mission.

Prior to working for Ministry Sync, Jennifer was a former Ministry Sync customer in her role as Event Coordinator at her pregnancy center. She is super excited to share her experiences with others in similar roles as well as Godly encouragement during the chaos of life and event planning!

Cody Barr, Quality Assurance Engineer
Cody and his wife Monique live in Eastern Connecticut with their four children. They met through a mutual friend at a Pizza place (Cody loves pizza) and got to know each other more through their local church. Shortly after, they married and moved to Chicago where Cody attended Moody Bible Institute where he graduated in 2011. He’s always enjoyed working on web development projects on the side and worked at a help-desk for nearly ten years before joining the Ministry Sync team in 2017 as a QA Engineer. Cody also enjoys working with the college group at his local church, The Presbyterian Church of Coventry, and volunteers and serves on the board of directors at the Women’s Center of Eastern Connecticut.

 

Welcome to team, Jennifer and Cody!  And if you are really curious, click here and you can learn about our whole crazy crew :)

 

And the Winner of the Free Event is…

April 12th, 2017

Rebecca Klein of A Woman's Choice in Lakeland, Florida!!!

 

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we asked our customers to share with us how Ministry Sync has worked in their ministries for their chance to win a free event. We were blessed to have many entries to go through. Our staff voted.

Here’s the winning story:
quote

I have been working in the pregnancy center ministry for 13 years now, and for 11 of those years have been involved in the planning of fundraising events–banquets and Walks for Life–in two different centers, across two states.  In my early years, we did not use Ministry Sync; we did things the “old fashioned” way–handwritten sign-up sheets, excel spreadsheets, etc.  Oy!  The work it took to keep track of everything, especially as the events grew. 

Then, a couple of years later, when I transitioned to a new center in a new state, I had the opportunity to use Ministry Sync for our banquet for the first time.  And from that point on, I knew I would never go back!!

Using Ministry Sync for our event revolutionized the way we could manage the data.  I found it completely user-friendly and effective for the task. I was blown away!  I couldn’t believe that this tool was out there while I was creating my color-coded excel spreadsheets, lol!  So now I have been using Ministry Sync for about eight years, and have grown with them as they have grown, adding new features and of course, the Walk for Life program.  It’s all been great.

Anyone in this area of ministry knows that our fundraisers are critical to the success of our mission.  To reach the women and men that we serve, to share the gospel and to save lives, it takes funding, and our events accomplish much of that.  So successful events keep our ministries going and help them to grow in the Lord’s work.  But more than that, using Ministry Sync enables us to give more attention to the things that matter most.  Because the programs streamline the process, less time is needed to manage data and events, allowing more time to be directed to serving the hearts and lives of those God brings to our doors.

I am thankful for Ministry Sync.  They have been wonderful to work with all these years.  They are not just friendly and helpful, they are like family to the ministry.  They are a part of what we do.

Rebecca Klein
Lakeland, Florida
A Woman’s Choice

 

Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing how Ministry Sync has helped your ministry over the past several years!

If Ministry Sync has touched your heart in any way or has helped your organization, we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at atrudden@ministrysync.com. These stories encourage our staff and remind us all of the work we are called to do.

God bless you!

 

Andrea Trudden
Andrea Trudden

 

How to Eliminate Lines at Check-In

April 5th, 2017

We’ve all been there. Your banquet begins at 7:00. Registration opens at 6:30. You have 30 minutes to check people in and get them to their seats before the program begins.

Then, it starts: Walk-ins, new table requests, someone coming in another’s place… The lines!!!

Profile of a business team in a single line against white background

You do what you need to do. One request at a time. Special cases, please go stand in the line to the right. Next! But, there is an easier way.

We developed Live Attendance to expedite the check-in process. No clipboards. No laptops. No need for lines!

With Live Attendance, you meet your guests and check them in with the tap of your finger. On your iPad or iPhone, just open your Live Attendance app, and all your registrants are listed for you. Simply search their name and check them in. 

Unexpected guests? Not a problem. You can register walk-ins right on the spot. Live Attendance shows you where you have open seats and you can assign them right then and there.

Guests requesting a seat change? Live Attendance highlights open seats in real-time so that you can make last-minute changes and assign seats during the check in process.

Last minute cancellation? Record it on-site and open those seats to walk-ins or unassigned guests.

LA Device Mockups-600x392The best part? You don’t even need the internet to use Live Attendance! We know that internet is typically an additional cost at venues, if it is even available. We eliminated this need, saving you additional money and headache.

Once the event is over, connect to Ministry Sync and upload the information for full event details. (See how saving your details year-to-year can save your organization money.)

Get started!

You can place your order right now within your AttendEasy event. Just log in to Ministry Sync, select your event, and click the “Attendance” link (or “Live Attendance” in the New Ministry Sync BETA). If you have any questions, give us a call at (866) 766-9309 or email sales@ministrysync.com.

Let Live Attendance work for you at your next event!

 

Andrea Trudden
Andrea Trudden

 

P.S. For you visual learners out there, we have a video that gives an overview of how Live Attendance works. Watch the video now. ⤵

 

Live Attendance — Better than ever

March 28th, 2017

LA Device Mockups

When you order Live Attendance for your event, you ensure an increased look of professionalism at check-in that is noticed by attendees and appreciated by planners.

And now, we are happy to announce that we’ve added some improvements which will make your event planning even simpler.

To start, we added a new ordering page. Log in to Ministry Sync and select your upcoming AttendEasy event. Click on the Live Attendance banner or simply select the “Attendance” link in your event to learn more and place your order.

Our new ordering process allows users to download the Live Attendance Hub app directly to their personal iPad, reducing the shipping hassle.


Ministry Sync Hub App for Live Attendance is now
Available in the Apple App store!

 

New “Prep Checklist” tab

We’ve made it easier than ever to prepare for using Live Attendance at your event. Once you place your order, you will have a beautiful checklist that guides you through exactly how to prepare for your event using Live Attendance.

 

New “Setup Instructions” tab

We now offer a step-by-step guide that walks you through setting up Live Attendance. This area comes complete with a new Setup Video and detailed written instructions you can print out and take with you to your event.

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Check out the new Live Attendance today and put it to work for you.

Jason Galicinski
Jason Galicinski, Founder & CEO of Ministry Sync

 

P.S. For those using Ministry Sync Beta, you can locate the Live Attendance information in the main menu within your event. Simply select “Live Attendance.” Here you can learn more and place your order.

v3-LA

What’s your story?

March 20th, 2017

share-quote

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we asked our customers to share with us how Ministry Sync has worked in their ministries. For all of us, personally, this is so encouraging to see. We put our hearts into our work as we know you put your heart into yours. God has placed us each in a specific place at this specific time to make an impact. Here are some samples of how He is working through your ministries :)

quote

In 2016, just seven years after beginning a partnership with Ministry Sync, our Walk raised $75,000. 2016’s Walk total represented a 369% increase over 2009’s Walk total–a testimony to the power of leveraging an online platform to raise funds.

We give thanks to God for how he has worked through this simple tool to impact and save lives in the metro-D.C. area.

– Leanna Baumer, Assist Pregnancy Center (Washington, D.C.)

quote

Our team hosted our first fundraising dinner a little over a year ago and the whole thing was a bit overwhelming. Ministry Sync was recommended to us by Cru and we started using it and it really helped us! We went from feeling completely overwhelmed, not knowing how to keep up with RSVPs to feeling at ease after signing up with Ministry Sync.

This system especially helped our dinner go smoothly on the night of the event! We had several people come who never RSVP’d and we were able to make them feel welcomed by immediately finding a table for them to sit at with the AttendEasy program. Everyone there felt welcomed and cared for and a lot of that had to do with the ease of process of RSVPing and coming to the event. Thank you for making our dinner go smoothly!!

– Kimberly Casanova, Lonestar Epic Movement (Texas)

 

So, what’s your story?

How has Ministry Sync helped your organization with its mission? We want to know! Tell us your story and not only will you encourage others, but you will also be entered into a drawing to win a free event!

10-Year-Banner-2

Have a great day!

 

Andrea Trudden
Andrea Trudden

 

3 Secrets to Increase Your Banquet Response

March 6th, 2017

Non-profit organizations should host fundraising banquets. We hear that all the time. But what does that look like?

banquet3There are so many questions you need to ask, such as: How do we avoid people who come and don’t give a donation? How do we get the right people in the room? Do we advertise in church bulletins and on the radio? 

Before working with Ministry Sync, I worked as an Event Coordinator for a ministry for over six years. I have attended many, many fundraising banquets and planned six of my own. I wrestled with these questions every year, and in the end, determined that it all really boils down to vision – and being diligent in carrying out that vision.

So what is the vision?

To provide a professional, elegant event that communicates our organization’s mission well, engages new donors, and yields significant donations.

How do we accomplish this? Through Underwriters, a Table Host Style event, and a Strong Ask.


Underwriters

Let’s face it – fundraising dinners are expensive. Especially when done well. The key is not to plan an inexpensive event, but instead to have your event underwritten before it ever takes place. This way all donations given at the event can go straight to ministry and not to event overhead.

You want to pursue businesses and well-to-do individuals to offset the expense of your event. If you pursue these donors well in advance, you can include their logos on all event communication. With AttendEasy, their logos will be shown on all webpages and emails too. This advertising benefit is a great way to thank and appreciate those who have made your event possible!

In my previous role, my team realized that we were barking up the same trees event-to-event, so we chose to transition from individuals to corporate sponsors to underwrite events for the year – businesses whose significant contributions would support all of our fundraising events, and would also give them visible thanks as donors. Our sponsors liked being “asked” less and “thanked” more – and we really liked “asking” less and serving more!

Table Hosts

Successful fundraising dinners often cost $35-$50+ per person, so we don’t want people attending who do not have the capacity to give. I’ve heard you want to target donors who can give a minimum of $300 per couple, and I agree. Keeping this in mind, you’ll want to avoid “opening the doors wide” and be more selective in who is invited to your event, so radio ads and church bulletins are not the preferred ways to fill your banquet hall. It’s better to have 200 of the “right” people in the room than 600 of the “wrong” people.

So how do we get the “right” people? Through Table Hosts! Table Hosts have the great privilege of inviting friends who aren’t familiar with your ministry to sit at their table (or tables!) at the event. When there’s no cost to attend, it’s an easy “yes!” from these potential ministry partners.

Because they have such a great responsibility, you need to be choosy when selecting who to invite as table hosts. Who do you know that is not only passionate about your ministry, but also is connected to affluent members in your community? Identify them, and personally invite them to host a table.

When I say “personally invite,” I mean it. Take the time to call them and cast the vision of what hosting a table means for your event. A letter should never take the place of a relationship-building opportunity – especially when you’re asking your table hosts to invite a table full of people who will collectively give over $1,500 to your ministry. It’s worth your 10 minute time investment.

Still timid about asking people to host a table?

Let me ask you a question: Does your ministry save babies from abortion? Encourage teens to turn to Jesus instead of peer pressure? Give hope to those who have seen great despair? Provide food, shelter and identity to the marginalized in your society? Whatever your mission from God, it is powerful. Inviting others to engage with that mission in order to help effect change in your community and for eternity is an incredible opportunity and an honor!

Table hosts may not be able to commit to serving with you weekly, but this gives them an opportunity to have equally significant impact to your organization! This is what you want to communicate to your Table Hosts, and what you would like them to communicate to their friends they invite to your event.


Strong Askwoman-megaphone

The “ask” at your event is just as important as who is in your room. Your speaker may draw in some guests, yes, but who knows your organization and your mission better than your own leadership? I strongly urge you to have one of your leaders make the “ask” in this significant part of the event. Let the speaker inspire, and let the leader ask the big question.

Be clear in what you’re asking for. Be honest in what it takes to run your ministry. Put in to effect anything that was vision-cast at the event. And above all, be bold in asking your attendees to rise to the challenge. Ask that everyone give a significant gift at your event and commit to ongoing monthly support to help sustain your ministry.

Remember my earlier comment about desiring a minimum of $300 per couple?

$100 donation at your event + $25 monthly commitment = $400 gift from a new ministry partner!

Fill a room with these donors, and your 300 person event just brought in $60,000! A room full of couples who give $300 and commit to $40 each month will result in a $117,000 event – that is totally doable!

 

Crystal Velte
Crystal Velte

 

Equip Your Fundraisers

March 1st, 2017

Without supporters, non-profits could not exist. This is the reality organizations must work with in order to grow. But, how do you engage your fundraisers so that they become cheerleaders for your organization?


Teach your fundraisers

  • Social Networking. Encourage your fundraisers to use their social networks. Using social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube increase fundraising results by up to 40%.fe-participant-smartphone
  • Rewards. Make fundraising a game by offering rewards for achieving certain goals (i.e. free t-shirt for $250 raised).
  • Teams. Not only do teams raise more money for your organization, they add fun and competition to fundraising. Encourage your fundraisers to start their own team.
  • Meet & Teach. Success stories can provide ideas on how to fundraise, but an added session or two with the experts allows them to have their questions answered.
  • Samples. Don’t let your fundraisers get stuck on something you could have easily provided. Supply sample fundraising emails, Facebook posts, tweets, phone scripts, thank you notes, etc.
  • Success stories. Highlight a past fundraiser and use that example to tell them how to raise money, how to overcome challenges and most importantly, the impact their donations will have on your mission.
  • Tips to get them started. People are all created differently and not every method of fundraising will be for everyone. Provide several different fundraising ideas, and emphasize the most efficient methods such as sending email through a tool like FundEasy.

 

Connect with your fundraisers

  • Invite them to join. Call on your top fundraisers to join a volunteer committee makes them feel closer to your organization and a part of its success. 
  • Give a tour. Offering a tour of your organization is a great way to bring them closer to your cause. Seeing the places that will be impacted by their efforts and meeting those on the front-lines will give your fundraisers extra encouragement.
  • Provide accountability. Let them know how the money raised in the past has been used for your organization and how this year’s funds will be used.
  • Thank them. After the event, invite them to a thank you reception. It’s another opportunity to connect them to your mission and encourage future participation.

 

Stay connected

  • Check-in often. Share stories about your organization and be available for any questions they may have.
  • Seek input. After the event, ask them what they liked, what they didn’t, and what would have helped. Implement good ideas into future fundraisers.
  • Celebrate goals. Your fundraisers will likely be really excited when they reach their goal. Capitalize on this opportunity to thank them. FundEasy makes it easy to stay connected.
  • Be available. As with any event, your participants will have questions. The important thing is to make certain that you respond quickly to all questions and concerns that come your way. The longer it takes you to help, the less fundraising momentum they’ll have.

 

Fundraise Online via FundEasy

  • Personalized fundraiser pages. Donate buttons should be placed on your personal fundraiser page in a bright color so their eyes easily see it. FundEasy’s fundraiser pages are automatically set up this way.
  • Easy donations. Quick and simple web forms encourage people to donate online. Help your fundraisers by using FundEasy’s online donation forms that are easy to complete and update in real time. 
  • Donor highlight. FundEasy has an option where you can automatically spotlight top givers and teams. This can be used to motivate some fundraisers.

 

Follow Fundraising Page Best Practices

  • Add a photo. People connect with people. Encourage fundraisers to add a photo to their fundraising page; it may inspire others to donate.
  • Tell a story. Ask your fundraisers to change the “Welcome Message” area in the personal fundraising pages to share personal stories and inspire others.
  • Offer Personal links. This allows fundraisers to direct friends and family to their specific fundraising page rather than going through your organization’s home page.
  • Increase goals. Allowing fundraisers to change their goal at any time allows them to increase their goal once achieved and encourage more support.
  • Answer FAQs. FundEasy has developed a Knowledge Base available to teach each fundraiser how to register, setup a page, import contacts, email family and friends, and other important fundraising activities.

 

With these tips and FundEasy’s Fundraiser Knowledge Base filled with helpful information, your fundraisers will learn more about your organization and have a deeper passion for the walk.

Put these steps into action and watch your participants move from walker to fundraiser!

 

Andrea Trudden
Andrea Trudden

 

Save those stats!

February 21st, 2017

business-mtg-bannerBusiness image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

How many people registered for your last event? When did most people register? How many cancelled? How much revenue did your last walk produce? The one from three years ago?

This is important information that, when used correctly, actually helps you plan and predict your next event’s outcome.

Many planners can recite details from the last event, but some put that binder away once the last bill is paid and forget about it. The information inside these binders is powerful and should be stored in a document that combines information year-to-year in order to communicate to your staff, board and supporters. (And if you don’t have a binder to hold your event information, I strongly encourage you to go buy one… now. Here’s a link!)banquet-growth

A little bit of work on your end collecting key information in one space can make a huge impact on your future events. In my experience, once you have three solid years of information, you can make good predictions for the upcoming event. You’ll be able to understand your audience a little better. When you know that 10% of your total attendees will not R.S.V.P., you won’t panic to find more chairs because you will be ready for them.

Now the question: What information do you need to collect? Think of your event. What are the key questions you ask each year? What information do you share with your board and supporters? These are the stats you need to keep.

So, before you put that binder away after your event, record key details in a Master Spreadsheet. This document will be unique to each organization depending on their event, but here are some suggestions on what to start with. And don’t worry – if you don’t have this information available, there’s no better time to start then with your upcoming event!

Suggested Walk Details to Collect

Event Title
Date
Goal
Total Raised
Total Remaining of Goal
Total Paid
Total NOT Paid
Total Teams
Total Fundraisers
Total Donors
Online Total Raised
Offline Total Raise
Percentage Raised via Cash
Percentage Raised via Check
Percentage Raised via Pledge
Largest Donation
Average Donation
Smallest Donation
Top 10 Teams
Top 10 Fundraisers
Event Sponsors

 

Suggested Banquet Details to Collect

Total Number of Registrants Online
Total Number of Registrants Offline
Number/Percentage of Cancellations
Number/Percentage of Walk-ins
Number of New Registrants
Percentage Registered by RSVP Date
Total Revenue
Total Expenses
Number of Table Hosts
Event Sponsors

 

There is so much to gain from keeping your statistics year-to-year. Our goal is to make your event easier for you and your organization and that is why Ministry Sync allows the ability to export this key information through AttendEasy and FundEasy tools. We know the value that it has and the work it can save you.

Still not convinced? Read Sarah’s story and see how they were able to go from 120 attendees to over 500 and increase the amount raised 600%. Maintaining solid statistics allow them to see this growth.

Happy planning!

 

Andrea Trudden
Andrea Trudden

 

P.S. Do you have any stats that you keep that have been helpful over the years and it is not listed in this article? Please email me at atrudden@ministrysync.com as we would love to know what works for you!