The nonprofit where I currently work was having trouble managing ticket sales for a semiannual event they put on. I was tasked with finding a tool that would simplify the process. After doing some research, I landed on Eventbrite as a solution. Why did I select Eventbrite? Eventbrite offers all of the features an event manager would need and comes at a very affordable price. It handles sales, pricing, data collection, and multichannel distribution. Here is a more detailed breakdown of what I found.
The main reason I selected Eventbrite as my organization’s event management tool was all of the well thought out features offered. It met all of our needs and has all of the capabilities I foresee us ever needing in the future.
Many nonprofits have ticketed events. Whether using tickets to generate revenue or simply as a way to get a headcount, being able to ticket your events is huge. You are able to limit the size of the event by putting a ticket cap or know how much inventory to order for the event by seeing how many people have registered.
One of the biggest features surrounding ticket sales through Eventbrite is the ability to create multiple ticket types. You are able to set time ranges that specific tickets are available as well as different costs for each type. This allows you to create tiered tickets or a VIP section, or even a way to incentivize earlier ticket purchases.
The next great feature that Eventbrite offers to nonprofits is the ability to gather information about their event attendees. There are standard fields that Eventbrite uses to collect information such as email, phone number, and address information from your registrants. With the professional and premium plans, you are able to add more fields to the checkout form. You can collect information about shirt sizes, menu selections, or extra demographic information.
With this information, you can better understand the attendees of your event as well as better prepare for the event. You will know how many beef or chicken plates to cater as well as exactly how many tables to set up. You will know what sizes of t-shirts to print. You can even know an age breakdown of the attendees. There is a lot of power you collect additional information during the ticket sales process.
Another feature that Eventbrite offers is the ability to manage and interact with your attendees. With Eventbrite’s attendee management suite of tools, you can handle any situation that might come up.
Firstly, you are able to send emails to your registrants. You can send communications to everyone that is coming to your event or you can segment them by ticket type. This allows you to send reminder emails as well as pass along any information that they might need.
You are also able to handle refunds through attendee management. If you have the unfortunate situation where a registrant requests a refund, you are able to set rules on how refunds are handled. You can allow the ticket purchaser to cancel their registration and get a refund, you can require refunds to be approved, or you can deny refunds altogether.
Reporting is one of the areas that your nonprofit might be wishing Eventbrite was stronger in. Eventbrite offers some basic reporting about revenue and ticket sales for a specific event. It does give most of the information that you will want for an individual campaign, but if you are looking to compare a campaign to any other campaigns, Eventbrite’s reporting falls short.
It can also be very difficult to figure out how to export the information you want on your attendees. It is easy to export nametags but it is more difficult to get a list of custom responses for a question you added to your checkout form.
This is one of my favorite features that Eventbrite offers. With embeddable forms, you are able to put ticket purchase forms directly onto your nonprofit’s website. By keeping your website visitors on your website, it will feel more secure and be more likely to convert ticket sales or registrations. A higher conversion rate means more registrations and a more effective campaign or event.
While this may seem like a scary task, Eventbrite has made it a simple process. By simply copying some code that Eventbrite generates for you and pasting it into your website you are able to add your own form. Anyone familiar with editing a website can do it in minutes.
Simple Social Media Sharing
There is no one more perfect for sharing your event than the people attending it. That is why Eventbrite makes it easy for not only you but for your registrants to share your event on social media. When setting up your event, you can select the image that is displayed on social media posts as well as default text. You can then share the event on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
What’s really great about the prebuilt social media post that Eventbrite generates is that it encourages registrants to share about the event after the checkout process. If you are hoping your event is going to be far-reaching, the best people to be promoting the event are the people already planning on attending. By taking advantage of virality and your existing audience, you have the opportunity to connect with individuals that have possibly never heard of your organization before.
User Permission Levels
If your nonprofit is big enough, you may have multiple people working on events. Eventbrite provides user permissions to help you manage who is able to do what within its platform. This includes options such as:
- Creating Events
- Editing Events
- Editing Payment Options
- View/Manage Orders
- Manage Discount Codes and Affiliates
- View/Manage Payouts
- Create/Manage Ticket Groups
- Check-In Attendees.
By providing custom permission levels, you are able to control exactly who can do what. With user permissions, Eventbrite even allows you to assign a user to a specific event.
Intuitive User Interface
While having a good user interface doesn’t normally show up on a list like this, Eventbrite’s interface deserves a shoutout. Several event management tools geared towards nonprofits have terrible user interfaces so Eventbrite is a sigh of relief. By clearly organizing the different sections of the tool and having useful help text, almost anyone can start using Eventbrite right away and not feel overwhelmed or like they are going to break something.
The last feature worth mentioning about Eventbrite is the number of integrations it has. While there could be more, Eventbrite definitely has its bases covered with native integrations. A few of the integrations nonprofits may use include:
- Keela US
- Constant Contact
- Other Tools
- Survey Monkey
- Google Analytics
By providing such a wide array of integrations, Eventbrite is sure to work with your technology stack. If Eventbrite doesn’t have a direct integration, chances are that you can integrate using Zapier.
The advantage of having your event management tool integrated other software your nonprofit is using can help in a lot of ways. For instance, being able to automatically mark event attendees in your CRM or add them to a subscriber list instead of having someone manually move them can save time as well as prevent human error.
Eventbrite’s pricing model is one of my favorite features of the tool. Especially great for small and medium nonprofits, Eventbrite does not charge a subscription fee. Instead, Eventbrite charges a fee for each ticket sold. This means that the cost scales with the size of your nonprofit and events. This also means that you will never have to send a payment directly to Eventbrite as they simply take their share of each transaction that comes in.
The fees that Eventbrite charges vary based on the features that you want from the platform. There are currently 3 pricing tiers available: Essentials, Professional, and Premium.
|Essentials||2% + $0.79|
|Professional||3.5% + $1.59|
|Premium||Contact Eventbrite’s Sales Team|
These prices are all very reasonable. The Essentials plan will only give you a few options so this plan will only work for a few nonprofits. I would recommend getting the Professional plan for most users as it gives you access to all of the tools Eventbrite offers. The Premium option is only designed for very large, complex organizations.
Passing On The Fees
Eventbrite allows you to pass on the transaction fees to your attendees if you desire. While this might seem as though it would deter attendees, most people have come to expect transaction fees when purchasing event tickets. By passing on the fees, you are essentially outsourcing the cost of Eventbrite as a whole, making the platform free for your nonprofit.
What if you are hosting a free event and are only using Eventbrite to handle registrations? In the case where you are offering free tickets of any kind, Eventbrite will not charge you for the registrations. That’s right. If your nonprofit is not charging for ticket purchases, Eventbrite is a completely free tool for you.
Tips And Tricks
If you end up deciding that Eventbrite is the solution for your nonprofit, here are a few things I’ve picked up along the way.
Edit The Default Emails
Eventbrite has a couple of default emails that are set up when you create a new event. You will want to customize these so they fit the branding and language of the rest of your communications. The 2 most important emails are the receipt and the scheduled event reminder that come preprogrammed.
Always Embed The Checkout Form
If you want people to sign up for your event, putting the registration form on your own website is a must. It makes visitors feel a lot more comfortable than when they are being redirected to a third-party site and asked to enter payment information. Eventbrite has made this process pretty seamless.
Integrate With Your CRM
Take the time to integrate Eventbrite with your CRM. Whether a direct integration or completed through Zapier, the time savings will be well worth it in the long run.
If your event is open to the public, put in the time to make the social media tiles look good. Your most powerful advocates are going to be the people already attending your event. You could send promo codes to guests already registered encouraging them to invite their friends and family as well as ask them to share the event on social media. This is a free way to spread the word and possibly reach new attendees.
Top Eventbrite Alternatives
While I personally prefer Eventbrite as my goto event management tool, there are plenty of alternatives as well. Here is a list of other options you might want to consider before committing to Eventbrite.
Event Espresso is a WordPress plugin that provides nearly all of the features of Eventbrite.
The primary advantage that Event Espresso has is that it gives you a little bit more control over your event. It is on your website and you control everything from the payment processor to what questions are asked on the registration form. On the other hand, Event Espresso has an annual fee to keep it updated and requires you to purchase a number of add-ons to have the full functionality that comes standard with Eventbrite.
If you are comfortable with WordPress development and are selling a high volume of tickets, Event Espresso might be a better option given you can use your normal payment processor to handle transactions. This could save you as much as 1% per transaction.
You can find out more about Event Espresso on their website here: https://eventespresso.com/
Eventzilla markets itself as being a cheaper solution than Eventbrite. By only charging $1/transaction for paid tickets, events with higher ticket prices will generate more revenue. Eventzilla has most of the features that Eventbrite has as well. I have noticed that the user interface isn’t quite as intuitive and it is not as easy to share your events on social media.
A Donation Management System
Most donation management systems come with their own event management tools. In at attempt to broaden their scope and bring in more clients, they found that many nonprofits use events as part of their fundraising efforts. Tools like Classy, Snowball, and Regpack all offer event management as part of their suite of fundraising options. It is worth looking at your current set of tools before deciding to add another piece to your existing technology stack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Eventbrite free for nonprofits?
Eventbrite as a solution is free if you are not charging for tickets. If you are charging for tickets, Eventbrite charges a per-transaction fee that comes out of your payout. This can be passed on to your registrants during their checkout process.
Can Eventbrite collect donations?
No. Eventbrite claims they can by suggesting that you create multiple tickets with a range of suggested donation “prices” and then allow your donor to select one of those tickets. While this works, it provides a terrible user interaction and I would strongly recommend against it.
How can I contact Eventbrite
If you are looking to contact Eventbrite about a specific question, you can fill out their contact form here: https://www.eventbrite.com/blog/contact-us/ .