COCO had been using Donor Strategy but struggled to get much use from it. It wasn’t very user friendly so any request for reports or specific segments of data had to go to Rosie, the operations manager. People were reluctant to do that as it added more to everybody’s workload.
There also weren’t any automations or integrations to speak of. This meant that most of COCO’s donor-facing infrastructure was simply a direction to email someone and a manual response from that person. This was putting potential donors off as emailing someone creates more pressure than a form. Putting that responsibility in one person’s hands with no single source of truth also creates a huge workload with lots of points of failure.
I’d get stuck in a loop trying to pin down each person’s attendance to one of our events. Then I’d still have to get a payment, update Mailchimp, lots of fiddly bits. And if you forget to tag that one person and then they wouldn’t get any event information. I wanted something way more intuitive, way more adaptable, and that could integrate with other software.
COCO went to market with a comprehensive list of requirements looking for a new system. Like a lot of charities, they were struggling to maintain accurate records that provided actionable intelligence. This meant things like targeted campaigns, income reports, or Gift Aid claims would be onerous tasks.
Key on their shopping list though was managing their annual programme of events. They quickly narrowed it down to Donorfy and Beacon. They were provided demos and trial accounts by both providers. It was ultimately Beacon’s high level of customisation that finalised the choice.
We’ve got everything in Beacon now. All our donors and income. All the records for the people in the organisations that support us. Our appeals, our comms, our events and attendees. We’re recording everything. Beacon is comprehensive. It's the brain of our charity!
But it is in the signup forms for those events that COCO are seeing the biggest benefits. They created records in Beacon for the events and the various ticket types. These are fully customisable from everything from the maximum number of attendees to the available combinations of tickets.
COCO were then easily able to create signup form for each event. These forms allowed a person to choose exactly what kind of tickets and how many they wanted via dropdowns. Payment is taken up front on the same form. A workflow is triggered on that form submission, creating follow up tasks and tagging the relevant person in Mailchimp so they automatically receive the follow up information.
It's massively cut down admin time, but in really surprising ways as well. For example, when I finished my first form, I clicked the embed button in the corner. It popped up a little bit of code, but told me exactly what to do with it. I just copied and pasted and the form was on the website. I can do that now! Not waiting on someone else enables me to do more in less time.
Having this event data linked up from the beginning also gives COCO better visibility of all the associated income. Not just the ticket purchases but the income form donations, raffles, and auctions associated with the event as well.
COCO are getting ready to run their second year of events in Beacon. The forms that have already been created can easily be unlinked from the past event and pointed to the record for this year’s event. Of course, they’ve gotten better at using Beacon since then, so they’re finding improvements such as capturing dietary requirements or t-shirt sizes.
Perhaps more importantly though is that COCO have gained the option to adjust their strategy review informed by their previous results. Before Beacon, they would have trawled through individual records to match ticket types and probably still fallen short. Now the total funds raised by each event is always visible broken down by source such as ticket type. If something didn’t perform very well, they can scale back on that and try something different.
As a charity, you don't want any delay or obstruction in the donor journey. For example, if I didn't reply to their email quickly enough, then the moment's gone. We’d likely lose that donation. Beacon takes away that friction. Not only are we seeing more donations, but I'm seeing unexpected donations pop up, which we never had before!