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Acteva Event Management

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Acteva: Event Management Made Easy. Today we are joined by Ed Lemire (EL). Ed is a marketing professional with over 24 years of experience marketing computer software. He serves as the executive vice president for Acteva, the company that we'll be discussing today. And they are one of our donor partners here at TechSoup. He's played a key role in developing their target marketing initiatives, setting the company's strategic product directions and leading the development of new product enhancements. We are also joined by Jonathan Cohen (JC). Jonathan is the executive vice president of the Cohen Camps which is part of the Eli and Bessie Cohen Foundation. They are the sponsors of Camp Pembroke, Tel Noar, and Tevya. I don't know if I pronounced all of those right. JC: Excellent. BW: Great. He's the third generation of his family running these residential summer camps serving more than 1200 children each summer. So he's joining us as a non-profit who has used Acteva to run his events and we'll be getting some of his personal experiences as a case study here today. And I am Becky Wiegand (BW) here at TechSoup. I'm a staff writer here and also help with our webinars and editing. I will be facilitating this today. You'll also see a few people helping manage the chat. Rachel (RK) from Acteva, Kami Griffiths (KG) from TechSoup, and Pat Shaw (PS) also from Acteva who I didn't list here but he's also on the line to help. So going over very quickly our agenda for today. We'll be looking at a general overview of Acteva. Then taking some time to dig a little deeper going into the real features, show some screenshots of how it really works and then discuss it as a case study. We'll also be looking at what's coming soon as far as Acteva's features and functions are concerned, sharing some resources, and also looking at some comparison articles and resources if you're trying to decide which tool is right for your needs. Then we'll take some time for Q&A then we'll wrap it up. So to get us started a little bit, I'd love to have Ed talk a little bit about what is Acteva. Who are you guys? EL: (laughing) Who are we guys? EL: Other than a name that's hard to pronounce and hard to spell and people thinking that we may be a drug or something else, we are a solution that's been in use by organizations since 1998 to help them register people to come to their events, collect donations, and accept payments for different types of services. We provided that assistance to over 14,000 customers since our inceptation and about 30-40% of them are in a non-profit or an association type of an organization. We also have, other than our event registration capabilities, we now have introduced capabilities for creating private social networks for organizations so that you can drive a community around your organization, your event, or your cause. And we've recently introduced as well solutions that, if there's a huge training effort or education effort, there are a lot of unique needs in the area of registration for a learning training environment, and we have a solution for that as well. BW: Great, that's really helpful to kind of get the background of the organization. We'll go a little bit deeper into the functionality in a couple of minutes but first I'd like to have people raise your hand and let us know if you are a registered TechSoup user already if you've already ordered, donated, or discounted products through TechSoup's donation program with our donor partners. So I'd say about half. You're welcome to put your hands back down, thank you. For those who aren't a TechSoup user yet, and for those who are, we wanted to talk a little bit about what TechSoup's donation with Acteva includes. So Ed, could you give us a little bit of background about exactly what the donation for TechSoup includes and maybe in comparison what the non-donation products look like for people who may not be eligible. EL: Sure, the donation product that we actually have is the ability to receive two event activation credits within the system. What that means is that you can define two events to accept registrations and there is no charge to actually create those events within the environment. Normally that is a charge of $100 to define an event into the environment. What that provides you once you have that event set up is the ability to use all the marketing tools, all the promotion tools, take advantage of all the advanced registrati capabilities. The next thing is, to accept a registration or to process a registration within the environment, there are two particular fees that can be incurred. One is for the use of the software and we call that registration processing fee credits and then the other is a payment management fee and that is for the taking care of all Visa/Mastercard charges and all of the services that we provide for answering questions for people, "What is this charge on my credit card?", "I would like a refund," "I wasn't happy with that event," "I want my money back" and all of that stuff that we do on your behalf. The donation provides for $300 to be added into your account to cover the costs of the registration processing fee credits. So the first $300 of those fees are not charged to your organization, only once you reach higher than the $300 on your account would you be charged the additional registration processing fees. The payment management fees, there is no donation for that because that is more of a human resources cost and/or a cost that we have to give to the bank and those rates are 2.5% for Visa/Mastercard and Discover and 3.5% for American Express. BW: Great, that's really useful. These fees are incurred if you're planning an event where you're processing payments for that event like if you're selling tickets or registering people for a paid or ticketed event. EL: A paid or ticketed event, yes. BW: If you just want to use it as a way to get RSVP's but are not actually charging anything, is this a kind of tool that would be useful to still use the event credits for or is it really primarily geared towards those who are charging for an event? EL: It can be used as an RSVP tool but there is a basic charge for, and I need to be clear on that, I'm sorry, for when you asked that first question. There is a $1.49 charge for each free registration as well so there's a handling charge within the system. So even if you are using it for a free event, you would start taking some of that $300 credits to process a RSVP type registration. BW: Okay, that's really helpful to know because I think most people who are calling in are probably doing so because they're planning an event that would be helping to raise money for their organization or their cause but if there are folks who are not charging money but just need a way to collect RSVPs, it's useful to know kind of whether this would be the tool that would fit them best or not. EL: One thing we've found in organizations that do that type of an event and they've actually raised a great deal of extra money is that while it may be free, you can also put in the bottom "Do you want to donate some money?" and put a "Donate" button in the exact same registration and lo and behold there is a lot of times some people will give $25, $50, $100 and they can type in the open amount that they would want to have in there. So it may be free to go to the event but there may be a way to get some additional money through a donation. BW: That's great to know. Additionally, I just want to make sure it's clear to folks that it's not a totally free product. Acteva donates it for free although TechSoup has to charge an admin fee and that's just for us to be able to operate our own non-profit, to have people here to be able to verify eligibility of different organizations and whatnot. So it's a $50 fee paid to TechSoup to receive the donation through Acteva for the two event credits and the $300 in registration processing fee credits. And this really long link down here at the bottom, you again don't have to worry about writing that down, we will go ahead and send that out to you later this afternoon along with the follow-up resources. Thanks for that summary, Ed. But I'd like to get a little bit of the broader things that Acteva could be used for so we've mentioned paid events, but do you want to talk a little bit about the different uses? EL: The uses of the Acteva solution are very wide-ranging. We have people using the solution for they're doing a fundraising walkathon and they want to take donations to sponsor an individual who are actually doing the walking and raising money, to the "Do you want to go and pay and register and go to the after-walkathon brunch?" to large fundraising galas where you're trying to have guest speakers and entertainment and you potentially have sponsors trying to buy a full table and then maybe re-selling that as part of a fundraising activity. We have customers from as small as the young JDRF, Young Diabetes Foundation of St. Louis, all the way up into Apple Computer running their partner management training conferences so we're a business-grade as well as a small type of a solution as well. One of the things that is very valuable is to use it for your fundraising efforts, collecting donations, and there's a feature and a functionality within the system where any individual can put any variable amount of money. You don't have to say $50 or $75 or force them into a particular amount. You can say, "I want to donate now." You can put a minimum amount that you would want to collect in there. The other thing you could use it for is if there is a annual membership or quarterly membership to be part of your organization, you can collect those particular dues. BW: Great. So more than just for regular events, you can use it to really process some of your donations and handle membership events and membership dues. Really, really useful. To talk a little bit about one of the examples, I'd like to pull Jonathan up to talk for a moment on how this tool can help non-profits and in particular how it's helped him organize his events. JC: Thank you, Becky. The Eli and Bessie Cohen Foundation where the Cohen Camps were branded, we run three children's summer camps. The first one was started by my grandfather 75 years ago, Camp Pembroke, which you see on the screen, the registration we did for that. It's an all-girls camp and the women who were helping us plan the reunion wanted to hold the reunion during camp so that the women who had been alumnae could be there and see the kids, the campers and staff and vice versa. So this was a situation where we wanted to generate as much registration as possible. And so using Acteva was an easy way for us to be able to get people to be able to most easily register for the reunion. Camp Tevya is another one of our camps which celebrated its 70th season in the summer. That was held before camp started. So in addition to alumni registering, there was also the possibility people to bring their spouses and children and children camp. Since we weren't in session, it was a lot easier to handle more people. We chose Acteva as a way of being able to allow people to easily register online, especially as we're communicating with our folks via email using Constant Contact as well as driving them to our website. This seemed like the quickest way to start converting people into coming to attend the reunion. BW: That's great. And we'll get into more detail in this next section "Digging Deeper" about the real nitty-gritty functionality that Acteva offers as well as some of the specific functions that Jonathan used for his two events. So I'd like to pass it back over to Ed to talk a little bit about how the in-depth features really work and to demonstrate a little bit some of the Dashboard and functions that are available. EL: Okay. In this section, I'd like to talk about some of the abilities to try to make people aware of your events and how you can market your events to individuals as well as how you can have a fully rich registration environment. In the area of the marketing capabilities, other than creating a very custom-branded registration page so you can make it your website colors, you can include your graphics, logos and have it a very rich experience using an editor that is like using a Word document, if you've ever formatted anything in Word, you create that nice environment but then you have the ability to upload lists into the system and send out invitations. The system also, once you have people already signed up you can send them the reminders saying, "Hey, two days from now the event's going to happen, "One day from now it's going to happen." Any last minute changes. "The event is going to be so much of a success, I have to move it from one location to the next." And you send out that particular reminder. On top of all of those type of things, we have marketing functions that promote your events into the web world. And we can do that automatically for you. Because we're all trying to drive awareness for people who would come to your particular event. There are some major consolidators of information, things like Zvents out there and Google Events as well as AmericanTowns that we feed your event information so it can show up in your local newspaper's webpage, your local TV station's webpage, and all that information there and being able to know about the event and to register for your event comes right from that particular posting. If you need any help setting all that up and branding yourself, we have all the availability and the assistance from our Acteva professional services side to make your webpages and your emails look even better than what you may be able to do yourself. I think Jonathan's going to be talking about some of the multiple booking option capability a little bit later but we have the ability to have early-bird and regular and late registration capabilities. We have promotion codes and promotion codes would say, "Sign up now and type in this code, you get 50% off." Or you get 25% off. You can control the use of how often it can be entered by somebody, the dates that that promotion code would be there available. Jonathan actually said we're doing a lot of emails using ConstantContact so it's a nice progression to provide an online registration environment. Well our system also allows for the ability to do offline registration. Take a phone call and you can use our 800 number and they can call us and we can take all the information over the phone. They can send in via email a check, they can send in a purchase order for billing later maybe if you have a lot of donors or sponsors that need to pay for sponsorships via an invoice or sent to the corporate headquarters, we have the ability to accept that information and start processing that information so we try to give you a full tool to be able to market your events, capture all the information about your attendees, and allow them to register in any way they want to and pay any way they want to. Because we all want to get people and have a successful event. BW: That's really helpful to know and we had somebody who chatted and asking about payment options for folks who are not from the US and I saw that Rachel responded to the full chat audience, Rachel from Acteva, saying that at the moment, you could process US payments but I wonder if you take credit cards, would it be too much of a difference if you just put the dollar amount and put in parentheses that this equals this much in Euros or equals this much? EL: What would happen is that the actual credit card transaction, if I'm coming in from France, let's use this as an example, and I'm coming to the event. They can put in their credit card information from their French bank. It would process into their credit card as a transaction in US dollars but it would be automatically then converted into from a French franc aspect on their own credit card. Most credit cards, if any of us have traveled internationally in their life, then there's usually another charge that goes underneath there that says, "Currency conversion" and it's up to that person's credit card bank relationship of what is that percentage of the amount. But the system would charge them automatically in US dollars regardless of where they are actually coming in from and what credit card they're using. But we cannot take a transaction in native dollars like Euros and process it fully in Euros. It will all be processed in US dollars. BW: Okay. It's a great thing to know that if you are planning events that may involve people from other countries can do so and can have those credit card payments processed, it just is a little bit, it's just not directly into their own currency. So they could put it in parentheses and say, USD $45 and Euros 65 dollars or whatever the conversion would be. EL: And I would put that "estimated" because the actual conversion charge which would show up on that person's credit card will be as of the date that the credit card transaction is settled with their bank. And as we know currency changes can fluctuate pennies, but pennies on the dollar, and if it's a $500 thing then it can be a $0.50 difference in a transaction. So I would put it as an estimated amount. You may want to put on your page in the description and I think you know you can describe and say that there will be an additional charge on your credit card if you're coming in from outside the US for a currency conversion for this transaction. BW: That's a great point. Sure. So I'd like to just share really quickly a screenshot of one of Jonathan's registration pages on the backend. Jonathan do you want to walk us through how this page works and what the details are? JC: Sure. On the left, you see what the screen looks like to a potential attendee. Now we would send out emails to our alumni via ConstantContact and on it was a link that they click that took them straight to this Acteva page, created for us, branded at least with my logo. I had to use common colors for both of my camps even though they use different colors and have slightly different branding. But it worked fine. So people could go there from the email directly to this form and process their registration. They could register themselves, they could register their spouses and children and any other guests. They could also make a contribution. We left that up there to try to generate some Padditional contributions. Part of our $36 registration fee, half of it $18 went to our scholarship fund to help pay for camp scholarships which we provide. But this was all included in this. In addition on our camp website under our alumni section on the Upcoming Events page, we also had a button directly there because we were also driving them to that page because we also would list the names of alumni who had already registered because that's an important way of getting other people to come, if they can see an old friend or somebody they know who will be there, it certainly helps them want to come themselves. That was what they saw on the left side. You'll see there's alumni registration and late registration. Those are really mutually exclusive but within Acteva you can see how you can change that so the alumni registration, the basic registration, goes up until a specific date. And then it stops and you set the date. So the late registration starts then. And all this you set up at the frontend. At the right hand ... EL: Jonathan, we had turned that on so you could see both of them but only one would show based on the date that you put in. JC: Right. And on the right-hand side was the screen that was used for setting up behind the scenes this form to register people. There's also a survey because there may be other questions you want to ask people to collect that information that sort of secondary to registering them. You can make questions required or you can make them optional. The only thing we had required from people is to find out what years they were at camp so we could include that in the list of who's already signed up. The rest of the stuff that was optional was, "Do you need a ride?", "Would you give someone else a ride?" just some other things to try to help people come to the reunions. BW: That's a great overview of this page and you can see from looking at it that it's not, it's a little difficult to see with these little screenshots but you can see that along the tops here it has the standard What You See Is What You Get buttons that can help you format their pages. So it looks like it's a pretty easy tool to use. EL: When we created the user interface and redesigned it a few years back, we spent a lot of time in looking at tools that many users use and the tool that we felt we would want to pattern ourselves after was a tax tool. So if any of us have used TaxACT online or TaxCut or something it's very, there's a wizard that walks you through the process - "What do you want to do next?", "How do you want to do it?" You can skip over, you can move back between sections at any point in time as you move forward. So we learned from others when we redesigned this interface. JC: And just to say, it is not that much different than what I'm used to in ConstantContact or other tools out there. In evaluating the various event management sites when I was making this decision, I saw that there wasn't that much difference from one tool to the next and ultimately it comes down to learning how each tool works. Whether A goes before B or B goes before A but they're usually pretty straightforward. EL: Yes. BW: Great. So I'd love to have Ed talk a little bit about some of the booking options features that he mentioned earlier. EL: In this area, this is where you start defining some of your rules and the pricing actions. Can people see my mouse going over here? Let me try this, there you go. This is where you would start defining when you would be selling your particular registration, what is its name. Is it a date controlled set of sales, how many am I going to offer, am I going to allow a waitlist capability in the future. As Becky talked about here, this is like doing something within Word, bolding, inserting pictures, making things red, all of those types of environments. When you get down in this particular environment, this is where you start telling what you're actually offering. And there's a type - and the reason you choose a type is so that there's some standard wording that comes up on the screen: Am I offering a registration, am I offering a ticket, am I trying to get a donation. And so the user gets presented with wording that's more attuned to the type of situation that you're offering and providing to them. How many of them are you offering, the description of it, and then you start putting in, is it a fixed price, is it a variable price, information. And then if it's a fixed price, you type in the actual price of the option in here. And over in this environment, I know there is a question that came in in the chat, this environment here

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Duration: 1 hour
Country: United States
Language: English
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Views: 97
Posted by: techsoupglobal on Dec 1, 2009

Acteva Event Management

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