What You Need to Know:
User records can be as simple as a name and email address. These basic records allow you to invite people or businesses to support your event by donating items, services or cash and/or buy tickets and/or place bids. When an invitation is accepted, the User Record becomes an account used by the software to track the User's donations, bids and purchases.
If an unknown user arrives at your website without an invitation, a User record and account will be created for them when they sign up to bid, buy tickets, or donate.
With each new transaction, the software will add a flag to the User record to denote that the User is a Donor, Online Bidder, Ticketed Guest, Volunteer etc. This allows the software to provide each User with the appropriate permissions to participate. These flags also allow you to filter your User list to show which supporters have donated (or not), placed online bids, purchased tickets etc.
One of the greatest challenges for online fundraising is to provide easy access for participants without compromising the security of their personal information. Understandably, many fundraising chairs feel that requiring each supporter to create a password protected account reduces participation.
Benefit auctions are particularly challenging because supporters often play more than one role (donor and guest, volunteer and online bidder etc), but don't want separate User records/accounts for each role.
Emailing invitations to act provides easy access via a personal link without creating duplicate User records for each transaction.
Invitations must be sent from the software because the personal link is tied to a specific user record/account. In order to send invitations, you'll want to migrate and/or upload as many supporters as possible. Most customers migrate/upload their known supporters and capture new supporters as they sign up to donate, bid, or buy tickets.
If you do not want to provide access via invitations, migrating and/or uploading potential guests and/or potential donors who may also attend your event may be more confusing than helpful. When someone signs up to donate, bid, or buy tickets, the software will check for existing user records with the same email. If one is found, the user will be instructed to retrieve an email to gain access to their existing account. This prevents duplicate records from being created, but often confuses supporters if a user record had already been migrated or uploaded for them.
If you have migrated users from one or more past events, it's a good idea to check your Users page for duplicate records - especially if your site contains users that were migrated prior to Sept. 2017 (when the latest de-duping tools will be/were implemented.)
How to Get it Done:
1. Add User Records to your event site:
- Returning customers can migrate donors and/or other users from previous event sites.
- All customers can self-import (upload) donors and/or other supporters from a spreadsheet.
- Your team can create individual donors or user records as needed.
- Online donations and ticket purchases will generate a new user record when the transaction is submitted.
- Signing up to Bid generates a User record and password-protected account.
2. Review Users Page for duplicates and Merge Duplicate User Records as needed.
3. Become familiar with the menu of available Invitations prior to planning your event promotions.