Hints and tips on how to make your payment desk and reconciliation process a walk in the park
The Payment Desk: loved by few, feared by most in the world of fundraising.
Too often has this been a point of chaos and anxiety for both event staff and supporters alike, leading to reluctant volunteers and reduced year-on-year supporter participation and a general headache back at the office for the poor staff whose job it is to reconcile.
So how can you streamline this essential part of your event so both your guests and your event staff come away with a good experience?
Giving people an easy way to pay you will mean they are more likely to. Offering people the chance to pay for their donations and winning auction items straight from their mobile will mean more funds are captured at the event. Modern payment gateways also offer reasonable transaction fees so it won't cost you much difference from using your normal credit card terminals. Make sure you promote this option via your program and event MC so people are aware they can do this. The GalaBid system will also send a text alert to your supporters telling them what they've won/donated and to Ã¤Ã³Ã–click the link' to make payment.
Don't just offer the one payment desk for people to pay at. Why not go out to guests in the room and process payments at their table. By using an online payment gateway on iPads/tablets you can have multiple staff able to do this. Also make sure you have enough payment terminals at the actual payment desk: again using an online payment gateway means you are not restricted to credit card machines and instead can have as many staff taking payment as you have laptops or tablets. Finally also give supporters the option to just pay instantly via their phone.
Why not pre-authorise supporters credit cards at the time they first go to place a bid in your auction or make a donation. Then when it comes to the close the payment is processed with a single click.
Rather than getting buried under hundreds of receipts and invoice papers why not directly send your supporters their invoices straight to their mobile phones or email addresses. The GalaBid platform allows you to customise the invoices sent to your own organization details and branding. The great thing is about electronic invoices is that you also have a copy of them all at the click of a button and can upload the invoice report directly into your CRM system. Without all that printed paperwork you'll also have more office space!
Allow supporters to pay as they donate/purchase rather than waiting to the end of the event. Using an online payment gateway will allow you to capture credit card payments for raffle tickets and pledges and donations as soon as your guests tap that button of support. The Raffle tickets themselves are then also completely electronic, once again doing away with tiresome and complex manual paper processes that are hard to track and log.
We've seen all sorts of weird and wonderful ways of supporters collecting the items they have won in the fundraising auction. By far the most effective is to use the Ã¤Ã³Ã–buddy' up system. So one staff member processes the guest's payment whilst the other staff member acts as a runner and goes to get the prize for them. This saves the guest having to queue once for payment and then again for collection. If you have offered an online payment option also set up a fast-track collection desk so guests that have already paid on their phones don't have to queue with the people still needing to make payment.
One of the biggest problems event fundraising organisers face is trying to get the money in. It always becomes tougher once the event is over so it is essential to get as much of the funds in at the event as possible. Some of the above payment options will absolutely improve this, especially the online payment options. Another big help in this area is to be able to reach people even when you can't find them in the room. Use the fundraising platform to send 'reminder' texts to all supporters still showing an unpaid invoice 30 minutes after your payment desk has opened. You can then send further reminders at regular intervals you are happy with or even stylize the text reminder to ask them to make contact with you and where you are located. You should also have further contact information for the supporter that was captured by the fundraising platform at the start of the event.