Best practices for your Pledge-a-thon event
Thanks to the feedback of our many clients, we can share some of your best practices for the time before, during and after your Pledge-a-thon event.
- Use the GiftTool system to send an email to participants 2 weeks and again on the Monday or Tuesday before your weekend event telling participants to enter all their offline pledges into the system by Thursday at 12:00 noon. This will allow you to print off all your reports on Thursday afternoon & Friday in preparation for your weekend event.
- If it helps, instruct participants that the total donations posted to their account by Thursday (or Friday) at 12:00 noon will be used to tabulate who the winner is for a prize. Furthermore, they should bring a copy of their printed pledge form with all remaining offline donations collected to the event on the race/walk/tournament day. The winner will be confirmed only at the end of the event, once all their donations have been received. During the race, this allows you to focus on confirming only the pending donations for the handful of top fundraisers as of Thursday (or Friday) at 12:00 noon. So you won't have to enter / confirm any last minute donations received after the cut off date, until you are back in the office on Monday.
There is no single way to prepare for your event, as each event will have special needs. We suggest you print off the following reports, making multiple copies if you have more than one person handling onsite check-in (e.g. A-L, M-Z):
- Participant Honour Roll: Useful for the onsite check-in list which shows if they have any pending donations that your staff has not yet received/recorded as confirmed. Before printing, you can:
- Add extra columns with any additional info required, such as a new column called "Check-In" which you can check off with a pen onsite; or "Collected Amount" to pencil in the final pledges collected at the event, etc.
- If appropriate, delete any participants who have selected registration categories such as: "I will collect donations but will NOT participate" (View the "Registration Options Details" report to see the list of people in these categories).
- The Participant Honour Roll report also shows who has raised the most confirmed & pending pledges for your contest!
- [Optional] Sponsors grouped by Participant: This will give you an up-to-date list of each individual donation grouped by participant. This way you can quickly check if the cash donations brought in on the day of the event have already been recorded to their account & are still pending; or if they have not been recorded at all & need to be imported via the Excel Pledge Import tool.
- [Optional] Team Affiliation Details: This report will give you a list of Teams with the names of each team member & team leader. The report will also include all participants who are not associated with a team at the very bottom.
- [Optional] Question Details report: Only if you have used the "Additional Questions" section (e.g. what is your T-shirt size?)
If you have access to the internet onsite, you can setup one or multiple stations to process everything in real time online. Since GiftTool allows multi-user access with the same password, you can have multiple staff login at once. However, note that they should not update the same person's profile at the same time as you risk over-writing each other's changes. It is better to have one person taking attendance or signing up new registrants, and a separate person confirming receipt of offline pledges, etc.
You can setup multiple stations:
- Pre-registered online
With a copy of your Participant Honour Roll, when a pre-registered participant shows up:
- Place a checkmark in your new "Check-in" column
- Confirm that all the pending pledges have been received, writing the amount of any checks brought in at the last minute in your new "Collected Amount" column.
- Collect the paper pledge forms & collected cash/cheques.
- Onsite Registration
Collect personal information (including email address), any registration fees and all offline pledges collected with their pledge form. If you have online access, you can register participants directly into GiftTool, just remember to re-open online registration by extending the Registration Close Date until after the event is over.
- Pick-up your T-shirts (if applicable)
If you have internet access onsite, after check-in and while the race is ongoing have your volunteers:
- Record attendance in each person's online profile.
- Record receipt of confirmed pledges already entered into the system as pending.
- Prepare the Excel Pledge Import Template with the list of offline donations that all participants have brought with them but NOT recorded to their account. Remember to note their participant ID number with each pledge, as this is necessary when completing the Excel spreadsheet. Upload the Excel Pledge Import Template into GiftTool when finished.
- Issue/email eTax Receipts to those who have not yet received one. If you do not have their email address, use your organization's own email so that you can print the Canadian etax receipt and fold it into a #10 windowed envelope with the address showing through the window when you are back in the office.
- Be prepared with a back-up plan should internet access fail during your event registration process.
- If you do not have internet access onsite: You can do these steps after the event is over.
Confirm receipt of any remaining offline pledges received on-site, emailing tax receipts to all remaining donors & participants from the GiftTool system.
Before you close out your Pledge-a-thon, you may wish to use the GiftTool system to send all participants & team leaders an additional Thank You email. This allows you to once again thank your participants for their efforts. And let them know that if they have not reached their fundraising goals, they can still do so before the end of the month. You should encourage participants to send out thank you emails to all those on their original emailing list. In their Thank you Email, they can ask for additional donations from friends & family to help them meet their fundraising goal.
Once you no longer wish to collect donations, you should archive the Pledge-a-thon in the Manage section. This will inactivate all personal fundraising pages, so that donors and participants will no longer be able to interact with your pledge-a-thon. Instead, your supporters will see a blank page with the text: "Sorry, this event is not active."
Your GiftTool account will remain active, however the monthly fee will not be triggered until you process a transaction cancellation or have people registering for your next event &/or making an online donation (but not processing monthly donations).
During this period, you can do most everything in the BackOffice such as: view reports; send messages to participants; manage pledges; send confirmation emails once you confirm receipt of offline donations; use the Copy function to setup your next pledge-event; etc.
After your pledge-a-thon is no longer active, you can continue to display the success of your event on your website by embedding the URL for your overall thermometer (located in the Event Profile section). Or to automatically pull Pledge-a-thon fundraising data from GiftTool to your application with a data request, use the Pledge-a-thon thermometer API.
Now that your event is over and the experience is still fresh in your mind, you can easily create a copy of your current Pledge-a-thon for next year's event. This eliminates the need to start from scratch next year, and allows you to make any adjustments to the setup based on the learning from this year's event. Once it is time to launch next year's event, getting ready will be so easy -- Just review your saved draft and make any last minute changes to the times, venue, registration packages, etc. If your website design has changed, ask us to update your template at least 3-4 days before your launch.
Do you have any additional suggestions & comments you'd like to share? Please use the form below to provide your feedback and suggestions. Thank you!
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