Event Preparation

eTapestry Best Practices: Learn how to track event information with eTapestry

When it’s time to invite your donors and constituents to a dinner or party, knowing how to track their invitations, gifts, or ticket purchases will help your event run smoothly and successfully. There are several things to consider when setting up your event. Consider how you want to market the event, who you want to invite, how you want them to register or respond, and what reporting you would like to do when the event is over.

Online marketing provides new ways to reach potential event participants. Using your organization’s own website as the starting point, you can provide advanced information of the event to create interest and encourage supporters to return to the site for follow up information.

Event information is tracked through system and user-defined fields on journal contacts and transactions. Because events are unique to each organization, defined fields allow you to track the exact information that is relevant and important to you and your event.

The fields you will use largely depend on how your organization runs events. For example, some organizations may sell tickets to events while others do not. We will go over the setup of some general and suggested fields as well as best practices for selling tickets in Event Tracking Part 2: Event DIY Form.

You can be creative with the fields or add fields that you feel would be helpful in tracking your event. If one of our suggestions conflicts with your current practice, it is fine to find a route that would work better for you. Event tracking is all about putting information into eTapestry in a meaningful way so that you can gather that information later. We will cover that in Event Tracking Part 3: Querying and Reporting on Events.

Getting Started

Before you begin setting up event tracking, ask yourself:

Basic Information

You can track information about your events through system and user defined fields.

System Defined Fields

If you are selling tickets to your event, you will first want to create an approach to track these ticket sale transactions. Approaches are the methods you use to raise money for your organization. When you sell a ticket, you will enter the information as a gift and select the Ticket approach.

You will also want to create a campaign to be used when you input donations that come in at your events.

The next system defined fields that need to be created track invitees and attendees for free events. Contact methods allow you to track the invitations, acceptance of an invitation, and attendance of your event. You will need to add contact methods of "Event Invited," "Event Accepted," and "Event Attended." These contact methods then appear as options when adding journal contacts, where invited guests are tracked.

User Defined Fields

Now that your system defined fields are set up, you will need to create a user defined field category that will store your event fields. You will now store all event related fields within this category. We recommend that you first create a field called Event Name. This will allow you to mark which event someone is invited or donates to. You will also probably need to create a field for the number of guests attending. This will allow you to keep track of any additional guests an invitee might bring to the event. Finally, if you would like to assign tables or seat numbers at your event, then you will need to set up a field to store that information.

Entering Information into an Account's Journal

Now that your system and user defined fields are set up, you are ready to begin entering this information into your donors’ accounts. First, to document who has been invited to an event, l go to the Journal page of their account and add a contact entry.

You can use either Mass Update or our Communications section in eTapestry to create these “Event Invited” Contacts all at once. You would need to create a query that contains the accounts you wish to invite to the event first.

Mass Update

If you have already invited constituents through an outside source, you can run a mass update.

Communications

If you will be inviting constituents via mass email or letters you print, you can also choose to create a journal contact to track that Event Invited information.

Using eTapestry queries you can easily select those that you would like to invite. This can be based on virtually any set of criteria in your database. Then use the Communication facility to generate emails or letters in bulk. Creating templates allows you to personalize your invitations per event and distribute them in a timely manner.

Email is one of the most effective advertising tools you can utilize. A perfect example of this was seen from an organization that sent email invitations to 50 constituents inviting them to a poetry reading. The original invitation asked that they forward the email to anyone the recipient thought might be interested. Their hope was to get 35 people to attend. Over 300 people showed up! This may not happen in all cases, but it does illustrate the power of email. For your event, you could send a special invitation to members of your board, or your major gift donors — all with a simple eTapestry query.

By creating and using an email template you would only have to make a few changes to personalize your message to them.

To generate a mass email, you need a correspondence template that contains the email content and a query that includes the accounts of the intended recipients. You can access the option to create a journal contact to track Event Invited information on the tracking step. For more information about generating mass email, refer to Generating Mass Email.

On the tracking step, select the name of your event in the Event Name drop down field under Defined Fields.

To generate letters in bulk, you will need to set up a correspondence template to define what the document should include and how it should look. Then, you will create a query to group the accounts or journal entries that should receive the document. You can access the option to create a journal contact to track Event Invited information on the tracking step. For more information about using query to generate documents in bulk, refer to Use Query to Generate Documents in Bulk.

On the tracking step, select Event Invited in the Method drop down field, then select the name of your event in the Event Name drop down field under Defined Fields.

Event Accepted

As you receive responses from accepted invitations, you will want to create a second contact entry to track this. In the Date field, enter the date you received the acceptance letter. In the Method field, select Event Accepted. If invitees informed you they would be bringing a guest, you can enter that information in the Number Of Guests field.

Event Attended

On the day of the event you will want to create a third contact entry on the constituent’s account to record that they attended. In the Date field, enter the date of the event. In the Method field, select Event Attended.

By creating three contacts to track Invited, Accepted, and Attended, you will be able to see trends. If you invited 100 people, only 50 may accept the invitation. But on the day of the event, only 25 might show up. This can help you plan more accordingly for future events.

Selling Tickets and Collecting Donations

If you are selling tickets to the event then you will also need to enter a gift in the journal when the donor sends in their ticket money. These steps might be different if you are selling tickets through a DIY form. For more information, see Event Tracking Part 2: Event DIY Form.

If the donor attends the event and gives a gift or pledge, go to the donor’s journal and enter a new gift or pledge. Enter the date and amount of the gift or pledge and select a fund. You can set the campaign to Event.

If you created a donation approach, you can mark that on this particular transaction. By not marking an approach at all, it is assumed that the transaction is just a regular donation. This will help you distinguish ticket purchases from donations. You will also select the Event Name under User Defined Fields and then click Save.

Resources

Special Events

System Defined Fields

Add and rename system defined field values

User Defined Fields

Add a user defined field

Add a user defined field video