CiviCRM is an extremely flexible platform for nonprofit organisations looking to engage their supporters, but did you know that it also has a powerful integrated events management module?
With a comprehensive set of features built up over many years by a nonprofit community with similar needs, it provides an all-in-one experience that is both highly flexible and easy to use.
Today we’ll be sharing 8 of the key features that we think will be of most use to those who are considering running events with CiviCRM for the very first time.
Starting with the basics, like any event platform worth its salt, CiviCRM makes it very easy to create an online event registration experience. After creating an event, simply enable online registration and presto CiviCRM will provide you with a link you can post on your website to start taking registrations immediately.
What makes CiviCRM standout here however is just how configurable that registration experience can be. You can change almost everything the user will see, including the details about the event, the registration form (for example should you want to gather dietary or accessibility requirements as part of the registration), or even the messages on the confirmation and thank you screens.
Depending on the type of event you are running you might want to specify whether people can bring guests or only register themselves. You can even offer a waiting list, should you want to!
With a few clicks, your perfect event registration form can be set up within minutes!
It’s well worth mentioning that one of the biggest issues that event platforms sometimes have is the way they lead to data being managed. Ideally, your CRM database should be your primary source of truth for data, which is to say it should be where the master and most up to date data is kept. With a separate events platform you have to ensure this remains this case through transferring and syncing data. CiviCRM, having built-in event functionality, meanwhile accomplishes this with ease. Your data will come directly into the CRM with configurable de-duplication rules, meaning your data footprint is simpler to maintain.
While your data is centralised, you can also easily integrate to external platforms such as Zoom, a necessary step for streaming digital events. This gives you the flexibility to run events the way you choose, while retaining full control over your data.
CiviCRM makes it simple to take online payments for your events via payment processors such as Stripe or PayPal. Once your payment processor is set up you can configure options around how and when users will pay. You can also offer a “pay later” option and have CiviCRM send users an invoice, which they can be paid for later via an online link. But beware; as soon as you allow your supporters to pay later you might need to invest quite a bit of time in chasing those outstanding invoices!
Early bird discounts are a great way of attracting people to register sooner rather than later for your events.
CiviCRM also has you covered here. You can setup any number of early bird “stages” and fee sets to fit with your event. You can then specifically set how this will affect each of your pricing tiers.
What if you want discount codes that you can distribute to the likes of loyal email subscribers or to your members?
There’s a handy community developed extension known as CiviDiscount that can help with that. You can create multiple discount codes, specifying the discount they provide, define usage limits and many more options. You can even set up automated discount rule for members when they log in to your site!
Event communications can be some of the most time consuming aspects of running an event. Not so with CiviCRM, which leverages the powerful triggered emails functionality to make this easy. You can set up emails to go out before or after the event, personalise the communications with mail merge fields (and have different communications for speakers, delegates, staff members or volunteers). Emails can even include personalised links to feedback forms, so you can collect event feedback directly into the CRM!
If you want to run an event on a regular basis one frustration with many platforms is that it can be a manual process to clone and remake them one by one. If you wanted to, for example, run several identical training sessions or a run a coffee morning on a monthly basis, this can become a bit of a time sink.
That’s why CiviCRM has a dedicated interface that lets you configure recurring events with ease. You can establish whether you want such events to repeat and if so for how long, just like you would do in your calendar. This flexibility means less time manually changing events and a reduced likelihood of making a mistake when attempting to keep a series of events up to date.
CiviCRM also has a simple yet effective event template creator. Set up the basics of your event once so that you only need add details like dates when creating a new version. This is perfect to serve as the baseline for standard events or for events you don’t run consistently enough to warrant creating a series.
Compuco has done a lot of work to improve how CiviCRM works for membership organisations. One of the more recent features we’ve brought to the platform is the ability to make it so that only members can sign up to certain events. The members only events extension provides additional options to specify that users must be logged in and have the correct membership type to attend an event. This is incredibly useful if you have a member specific training session or conference which you do not wish external parties to sign up for!
CiviCRM’s event management functionality is extremely powerful and we’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg in this article. Coupled with CiviCRM’s built in drag and drop mailing module means you can quickly attract, invite and run your events. This all comes together to make CiviCRM one of the best event management options in the nonprofit space.
If you’re looking for your first event platform or thinking about an upgrade, then CiviCRM is worth serious consideration. If you’re interested in learning more about making events easier to manage then please get in touch, we’d be happy to help!