If you want to see someone successfully doing ten things at the same time, look no further than event managers. Event planning isn’t for the faint of heart. It often requires keeping a dozen balls in the air – while they’re all seconds from falling and derailing the whole event. Event planners need (and deserve) all the help they can get. That includes event management software.
That includes the assistance of the best event management software and tools. Who has time to do everything manually? Great event management software can automate common event management tasks like sending out invites and updates, managing budgets, and creating reports around things like finances, attendees or fundraising.
That frees up event managers and other nonprofit and association staff to focus their time on the things that matter. Like making sure the caterer is on time and that someone is available to greet VIPs. We’ll break down some great event management software options to help you choose which is right for your nonprofit or association.
Why do nonprofits and associations need event management software?
Nonprofits and associations often plan events. They also tend to be chronically understaffed. Event management software for nonprofits is designed to help organizations do more with less.
Organizing a gala? Planning a conference? Or maybe you’re just hosting a networking event? Event management and event registration software for nonprofits are key to ensuring you’re able to do so without burning your staff out.
Event management software simplifies the planning, hosting, and follow up involved in putting on events. With that support, many nonprofits and associations are able to organize more events leading to happier members or more money raised. Who doesn’t want to raise more money?
What features should you look for in event management software for nonprofits?
No two event management software options are alike. There are a number of different unique tools and functionalities to choose from when comparing options. Which will best fit the needs of a nonprofit or association depends entirely on what kinds of events that organization puts on, how they advertise and sell tickets and how they report on the event’s success afterwards.
Before shopping for an event management software, it’s important for nonprofits and associations to spend some time evaluating their needs so they know which features matter to them. Here are some common features to look for:
- Project management tools
- Event marketing tools
- Registration website builders
- Financial and budget management tools
- Ability to manage volunteers and staff
- Functionality for managing vendors
- Check-in features for guests at the event
- Online and hybrid event functions
- Ability to accept payments and registrations
- Email tools to send out invites, updates, and other messages
- Ability to manage RSVPs
- Ability to manage dietary info on guests
- Advance options for creating floor plans or seating charts.
- Reporting and analytics tools
What are the types of event management software to explore?
There are a few different kinds of event management software – from all-in-one solutions to highly specialized options. What’s right for your organization will depend on your needs.
All-in-one event management
This kind of software will help you organize your event from conception through registration to on-site management and follow-ups. They have a robust list of features and are designed as a one-stop-shop solution.
Fundraising event management
This kind of software is tailored to fundraisers. It often has many of the features of all-in-one event management software but also has custom tools especially for fundraising events. These could include the ability to sell and manage sponsorships, silent auction management tools and the ability to help manage charitable receipting for event tickets that include a donation.
Conference and professional event management
This is a type of event management software optimized for conferences or professional events. It’s often a good fit for associations. It has additional features tailored to putting on a conference such as sponsorship management tools, speaker management tools, event schedule management tools and event mapping software.
These tools are focused just on helping with registration management. They help nonprofit and associations take and track RSVPs, collect payment, send receipts and message guests.
Event scheduling and organizing tools
These are a wide variety of niche tools focused on very narrow parts of the event planning process. For example, they can help with event scheduling and planning or help with organizing things like event waivers.
10 Top Event Management Providers for Nonprofits and Associations
MemberClicks: All-in-One Event Management Software for Associations and Larger Nonprofits
MemberClicks is the perfect choice for nonprofits and associations looking for all-in-one event management software. A part of the Personify family, MemberClicks is optimized for the needs of professional associations, industry organizations, trade associations and chambers of commerce. Organizations can manage event invites, automate manual tasks, accept funds online for in-person or virtual events, create an event plan and so much more.
MemberClicks also offers membership management features that help organizations easily grow and monetize their membership including via things like an online community or membership website and the ability to add forums, job boards and more.
MemberClicks is a great solution for nonprofits and associations that want an amazing event management software that also has membership management functionalities.
Wild Apricot: All-in-One Event Management Software for Growing Nonprofits
Wild Apricot is an easy-to-use and affordable event management software solution. Used by over 50,313 organizations, Wild Apricot offers automated emails for invites and RSVPs, a website with online registration and payment processing, mobile event registration and an event calendar.
Wild Apricot also offers a complete all-in-one membership management software functionality that allows organizations to also create a contact database, set up membership auto-renewals and optimize membership acquisition and retention.
Wild Apricot is a great solution for nonprofits and associations that want all the functionalities of an all-in-one event management program with the benefits of a membership management software as well.
Focused on helping simplify the event management experience for fundraising events, OneCause helps nonprofits and associations with in-person, virtual or hybrid events by supporting things like smart ticketing, registration, tables, checkout, reporting and more. The software also has functionalities to support silent and live auctions, raffles, donations and fixed priced item sales.
OneCause is a great event management software for nonprofits who host large fundraising events.
Aventri is an all-in-one event management software solution that helps nonprofits plan, promote, and manage a wide spectrum of events. It’s focused on supporting in-person, virtual and hybrid events. It helps with attendee check-in and badging, helps exhibitors capture leads, and supports things like event reporting, sponsorship sales, virtual booths and networking.
Because of all these features, Aventri is a great solution for large conferences and meetings.
Regpack is an online software solution focused on registration. While not created simply for nonprofits, nonprofits can use Regpack to collect registrations and accept payments for things like memberships, trips, events, classes and more. Nonprofits can also create an online storefront for their products, services, and events – making it simple for people to register and pay.
Regpack is a great solution for nonprofits who just want to help with registration and don’t need a full event management software solution.
Eventbrite for Nonprofits
Eventbrite offers all-in-one ticketing and registration for nonprofit event organizers. It allows them to easily set up and manage online event registration, ticket sales and donations for any kind of event. With captivating event listing and pages and the ability to use a platform that many people already have an account on, Eventbrite offers a number of benefits.
Eventbrite is a great event registration software for nonprofits who often host cultural events or dinners.
Fonteva offers a comprehensive software solution aimed at associations and professional societies. A Salesforce partner, the app can easily integrate with an association’s existing CRM software. It then has functionalities for things like event planning, online payments and online communities. With Fonteva you can support registration, manage speakers and host webinars.
Fonteva is a great choice for associations that want an event management solution with a native integration with Salesforce.
TicketStripe is a ticket management software tool. It allows nonprofits to sell tickets worldwide in a number of different prices and currencies. It accepts payments via Stripe or PayPal in over 135+ currencies. TicketStripe transfers funds to nonprofit immediately and can even sell tickets at the door.
TicketStripe is a great event registration software for nonprofits who hosts large ticketed events or international online events.
Smartwaiver is a software solution for event management where waivers are required from attendees. This allows nonprofits to do their due diligence more easily by adding links on their website or in RSVP emails so that attendees can sign a waiver of liability before they arrive at the event.
Smartwaiver is a great solution for nonprofits running events that require waivers to attend.
OPS by AllSeated
OPS by AllSeated allows nonprofits to design, plan, promote and execute events. From the ability to design event layouts simply, to the support for creating guest lists and seating charts, OPS is a great solution for nonprofits organizing highly complex events where event layouts and dietary requirements must be tracked.
OPS by AllSeated is a great solution for nonprofits that organize galas or trade shows.
How do you choose an event management software provider?
Before you start looking for an event management software solution, it’s important that you know what your organization needs. Follow these steps to help you choose the right event management software provider:
Define your organization’s needs.
How many events do you plan a year? What’s involved in planning those events? What do you want a software solution to do for you? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you narrow down your options.
Lay out a budget and timeline.
Event management software for nonprofits can range in price and onboarding timelines considerably. Before looking at a bunch of options outside your budget, ask how much you can afford to pay for a new tool – and when you need it set up by.
Secure buy-in from your team.
It’s important for the people who will be primarily using a software solution to like it. Secure buy-in for your event management software priorities with your frontline staff, your board, and your leadership. Keep them involved in the process so they feel they had a say in choosing the solution your organization goes with.
Begin researching your options.
It’s time to start researching your options! Look at around five to 10 different software options to figure out what’s out there, which are right for you, and which fit within your budget.
Compare potential software against your list of must-have features.
Once you have a list of about three to four options narrowed down, compare them against your list of the features that are must haves. How many of those features do they have? What other bonus features will each provide? Rank them according to how well they fit.
Request demos and one-on-one consultations.
Once you have two to three options left, request demos to better understand how the product works. Bring along whomever will be using the software regularly to get their perspective.
Choose a provider and discuss implementation.
It’s time to choose the one! Decide on the software that’s the right fit and start discussing implementation with the software provider and your organization. What’s involved in getting started? How soon can you do so?
Ensure smooth adoption in your organization.
Change management is the most important part of software adoption. Make sure that all your staff are trained on the new software and revise policies and processes to integrate the software into them.
Event management software: It makes a big difference
Buying an event management software can transform your organization. It could allow you to plan more events, save considerable staff time, or raise more money. Once you get a dedicated program to help manage your events, you’ll wonder why you didn’t seek one our sooner.
For those looking for a great all-in-one event management solution, MemberClicks offers the best functionalities. With MemberClicks, your organization will be able to more easily plan your events, but you’ll also be able to integrate your event planning with your membership initiatives. That won’t just make your events more successful, it will help you grow your membership faster.