Cool free online tool from my new offline friend

eventbriteHands down, real live conversations beat email, facebooking, linking in and tweeting, every time.  Thanks to Della Gilleran, principal, Marketing by Design, and networker extraordinaire, I had the opportunity to attend Sacramento’s Community Services Planning Council luncheon on Wednesday and to meet other “FOD’s”  (friends of Della’s).   Seated next to Constance Crawford, Marketing Officer for Capital Public Radio, I had the chance to exchange notes about cool FREE tools for non-profits.  I love free!

Constance is a huge fan of Event Brite - an online event planning tool that takes a lot of the administrative headache out of selling tickets for fundraising events.  You can get these applications elsewhere (evite comes to mind) but the people at Event Brite have apparently grouped a number of applications under one e-roof:  personalized invites, money collection, reporting, bar-coded ticket production and even name tag production.

It’s free to use the service, but there is a 2.5% transaction fee per ticket (which is on the low end of transaction fees that I’ve seen).

I asked Constance some questions about her experience with the service via email, and her responses are below.  No, she does not get a kickback from Event Brite!  She’s just a satisfied customer.  (Sorry about some of the wacky formatting changes that I can’t seem to eliminate when I paste in our email conversation…) Here goes:

How did you find out about Event Brite? When I started working at Capital Public Radio- they had a volunteer setting up the initial account. Staff associated with it was raving about the possibilities. I was interested.

How has it solved a problem for the Capital Public Radio? Two-fold. One, it’s event management from paypal to scheduled correspondence with those “signing up.” This took the work off the shoulders of our admin support folks who were often tied up during the day answering calls about events – specifically, how do I buy tickets, how do I get my tickets, will you mail me my tickets etc. Secondly, it helped put the urgency in our calls to action. Often our events are free and so folks felt they could wait until the last minute to decide to attend. Eventbrite can be used to register for a seat for a free event. It not only helps us plan for capacity, it makes it clear that this is a limited venue.

What kind of feedback did you get from people? Staff ADORED the way it managed contact lists, archived, and captured a wealth of information (oh, you’re vegetarian? check here…). A few people who purchased tickets were happy with the amount and type of information they received initially and continued to receive even after the event.

What were the results?  Can you compare how Eventbrite outperformed whatever you did before? Before Eventbrite- mostly at other organizations, I would use email and an excel spreadsheet to document – often a messy and inaccurate process. Eventbrite lets you manage AHEAD and then archives for reflection. Also, because it’s linked to paypal, there is no problem with the management of credit card info etc.

Was it difficult or expensive to use? Setting it up the first time for the organization took some effort. Linking to paypal and getting the related authorization was probably a full day’s effort for someone just learning the ropes. A seasoned paypal veteran could get it done more quickly. It’s free! There is a charge to use the paypal aspect- a per ticket fee that is quite reasonable.

Are there any types of organizations or events that you don’t think Event Brite would work well for? I could see it being confusing for nonprofits trying to attempt a “table sale.” It’s really more designed for individual tickets.

Any words of warning? Yes, it’s important to customize the confirmation emails your attendees will receive. The default could have them waiting for a fed-ex package, printing bar codes or who knows what else…

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One response to “Cool free online tool from my new offline friend

  1. heidical

    Ooo…I love EventBrite…also have been using pingg instead of evite.

    (Found you through #09NTC and also blog about new NPO tech & social media at http://judiciousweb.wordpress.com/)