FRDNY: Creating a guest experience from start to finish is as easy as 1-2-3!

By Steve Paster of Alpine Creative Group, Steve Feder of CheckIn Tech, and Reed Baker of Text-To-Pledge

It’s the start of a new event season and you told yourself you wouldn’t overbook your calendar ever again –– but here you are, in a familiar situation needing solutions for event logistics in a flash. Don’t fret or break a sweat. Pulling together resources from within the event planning community is why we’re all in this together. Once you have the date and venue nailed down, it’s time to think about the guest experience. With overwhelming options and technologies, we put this article together to help give a simple 1-2-3 solution for the most common problems when planning an event. 

Step 1 - Design & Printing of Save The Dates & Invitations

Step 2 - Guest Check-In Technology and Services

Step 3 - Mobile Fundraising Technology

Step 1 - Alpine Creative 

Once your event details are confirmed, we all know how important it is to send out a save the date. These are generally done as postcards and can be mailed by themselves or inserted into an envelope. Save the dates do not have to match the theme of the event. They provide information content only and serve as a reminder to your potential attendees. Invitations, however, should match the theme of the event. This will add to the excitement and anticipation of your gala.

Invitations and the process involved around them can be daunting. There is design, paper stock, logos, ink color, etc. The decisions can be exhausting. Using a notable design team is key to ensure your invite speaks directly to the guest. Take this one step further by using a team who offer total vertical integration including all components of the invitation process, from concept to completion … AKA less weight on your shoulders! It is key to use a design team that understands both how to design for these aesthetics and still maintains the economical goals for the project. Alpine Creative Group fits this niche perfectly, because they specialize in custom invitations for non-profits. They produce these quickly and cost-effectively at their store and factory in Manhattan.

While Alpine offers total vertical integration – from concept to completion – they also do not charge a design fee, which saves non-profit organizations up to $5,000 depending on the complexity of the project. All clients are also provided with a fully printed invitation proof at no charge, prior to full production. Since the design department and manufacturing division are located on the same premises, there is total communication and coordination for production specs and timelines. Alpine can also serve as the fulfillment house and mail out the invitations as well. Talk about integration!

Step 2 – CheckIn Tech

Once the invitation plan is set, it’s now time to focus on guest registration. We’ve found that check-in and registration are often overlooked when the final steps are taking place prior to the event date. Do not put yourself or your staff in the position of scrambling to figure out a guest check-in plan. Instead, go with a company that allows clients to focus on the event and not be stuck sitting at the check-in tables. CheckIn Tech brings the iPads along with MiFi hotspots and uses a proprietary software application which checks in guests digitally and seamlessly creating zero inconveniences. Everything is easily installed using Microsoft Excel. A service like this also requires very little lift from your end. Each event package includes a dedicated on-site manager makes sure your volunteers are trained which ensures your guests have a pleasant guest experience. 

Want to create a great first impression for your guests? Skip the traditional 8 ft. registration tables and go for high top cocktail tables. They take up less room and more importantly your team can greet guests at eye level which is more welcoming.

Step 3 - Text-to Pledge

Now that the invites are out and the guest check-in plan is set, it’s time to focus on raising money. With all the technology out there promising to raise more money from your donors, it can certainly be a challenge to find the right fit for your event. Consider a service like Text-to Pledge® which is the top mobile fundraising platform in the nonprofit gala space. Guests are invited to text a number to donate with customized messages displaying live on a screen if desired. An option like this only enhances the overall event experience and maximizes participation and revenue in major donor environments. Text-to Pledge® offers a variety of model customizations to fit your budgetary needs, so that you can really profit from ease.

Keep in mind that many of your event attendees are likely unpaid guests of sponsors, with dramatic ranges in giving capacity. Even if you have used traditional onsite fundraising models (i.e., silent auctions, cash calls) you will likely leave money on the table without adding a platform like Text-to Pledge®, which allows people to give according to their personal preferences – as high or as low as they’d like, as publicly or as privately as they'd like. Offering attendees the choice for the "style" in which they'd like to give only maximizes participation and thereby revenue. 

So when you find yourself knee-deep in the web of logistics for your upcoming events, remember that there are solutions out there for you to utilize which don’t break the bank. Committing to companies who have a trusted model as well as non-profit experience such as Alpine Creative Group, CheckIn Tech, and Text-to Pledge® is the way to go.

Steve Paster is the founder of Alpine Creative Group,

Steve Feder is the founder of CheckIn Tech,

Reed Baker is the founder of Sophist and creator of Text-To-Pledge,

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