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1.  Collecting contact info at events

Posted Feb 08, 2017 10:24

Hi Hivemind,

My organization is looking to improve the ways we collect names and contact info at events. The two main scenarios are:

1) tabling at conferences - we typically still go the paper-on-clipboard route (with a bowl or basket to collect business cards) though occasionally put out a laptop or tablet with a spreadsheet or form/survey. We tried a business card reader but it didn't work for us, and sometimes our events are with college students or others who don't carry cards.

2) large scale speaking engagements where our founder is onstage - in this case, he often does book signings immediately afterward and so we've experimented with having whoever from our staff is traveling with him work the line and collect contact info, but this can be awkward. People here have brainstormed things like old school paper comment/postcards that could be distributed on attendees' seats and collected by our staff at the end, to mobile solutions like telling attendees they can have "exclusive online access" to a chapter of his book if they go via their phones and give us their name/email address in exchange for it, both of which would require time and money to implement so I'm trying to evaluate what's really worth it. 

While my colleagues understand that lead gen is important, they don't love doing the data entry that a paper clipboard generates and they're also hesitant about coming across as too salesy with "join our email list!" pitches from stage, so I'm looking for ways to make this easy and painless and maybe even a pleasure. Does anyone feel like they've cracked the code on either creative tactics to entice people to share their names and contact info, and/or the best mechanisms by which to collect 'em?

THANKS!

Julia



2.  RE: Collecting contact info at events

Posted Feb 10, 2017 11:33
I am super interested in hearing feedback on this myself. I typically resort to paper sign-in sheets which is often painful.

I really like the free book chapter idea!

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Bethany Lister
Community Engagement Manager
Nonprofit Technology Network
bethany@nten.org
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3.  RE: Collecting contact info at events

Posted Feb 10, 2017 11:47

Hi Julia,

This is something we struggle with too. As an organization that recruits AmeriCorps members across the country, we often have different people tabling at career fairs and speaking at events of various sizes. Because there are so many people, we have some technology limitations and usually resort to the good ole clipboard-and-pen route. 

You might already be doing this, but one idea we've been playing around with putting out a laptop or tablet and having a Google Form for people to use to sign up on the spot. I prefer this to having people fill out a spreadsheet on a laptop or even a printed sign up form, which oftentimes can look like a printed out spreadsheet. We want our users to have a clean, un-intimidating experience. We can also customize the Google Forms with our brand colors and a custom cover image. If it's an event that will be advertised online, you can include a shortlink to this form in the event description too. The benefit on the administration side is that you then get a clean spreadsheet already typed up that you can then import to whatever program/database/service you'd like. That's important for us because we want all of this information to live in Salesforce, and we sometimes send a follow up "welcome" email after the event.

If email is your exclusive goal, I know that some services like Campaign Monitor have sign up forms/apps that can be presented in tablets or computers.

We don't do as many large scale events, so I have nothing to contribute there. And I hope the Google Form isn't the best solution for the tabling either—it's still a little awkward. Excited to hear others' wisdom!

Thanks,

Syed



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Syed Ali
Digital Communications Manager
FoodCorps
New York, NY
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4.  RE: Collecting contact info at events

Posted Jul 04, 2017 13:51
Edited by Jason Shim Jul 04, 2017 13:58
One method that has worked quite well is asking folks to text us their email. This is particularly effective when there is a speaker at the front of the room and the number is displayed on a large screen. The MightyText app on Android has been handy to copy and paste them en masse.

A more efficient system (that we haven't yet developed, but would be relatively straightforward for someone who knows their way around Twilio) is to have folks text a number which will auto-respond with a link to a form (our personal favourite is typeform.com for mobile-friendly forms) and that way you'd be able to download a structured format for all the info afterwards. You can use Twilio's Billion Messages for Good program for this: A Billion Messages for Good: Twilio.org Launches for Nonprofits - happy to chat further about this if you have any questions about implementation!
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Jason Shim
Associate Director, Digital Strategy and Alumni Relations
Pathways to Education Canada
Toronto, ON
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5.  RE: Collecting contact info at events

Posted Jul 07, 2017 20:55
These are great ideas, @Jason Shim!

About the number that you have folks text: Is that a staff member's number? Do you have an org line set-up to accept texts?

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Bethany Lister
Community Engagement Manager
Nonprofit Technology Network
bethany@nten.org
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6.  RE: Collecting contact info at events

Posted Jul 08, 2017 13:32
Thanks for the followup question @Bethany Lister! In the past, it's been a staff member's phone number, but in the last couple of years, we've transitioned to Twilio numbers. However, beyond auto-responding, we're still working out some challenges around what it may look like to use the text number as a chat-like system that is accessible by multiple staff members.

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Jason Shim
Associate Director, Digital Strategy and Alumni Relations
Pathways to Education Canada
Toronto, ON
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7.  RE: Collecting contact info at events

Posted Jul 10, 2017 10:35
You might consider the Burner app for phone numbers. They're very responsive to client needs and want to expand their user base for activists.

Why You Need Burner for Activism
https://blog.alexaroman.com/burnerforactivism-b71c14c090ad

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Karen Borchgrevink
Taproot Foundation
Los Angeles CA
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8.  RE: Collecting contact info at events

Posted Jul 11, 2017 18:23
A bit late to the party here, but happy to join! :-) I'm part of the Mobile Strategy team at Mobile Commons, and our software platform actually offers a super convenient way for organizations to allow people to text into a shortcode (ex. 877-877) and then move through SMS-based interactive "conversations". A very basic illustration of this experience can be seen if you'd like to try texting the word JERI into 30644 (the auto-reply message will send you a link w/my LinkedIn profile and you can feel free to add me to your contacts) At events, this can be a perfect way for attendees to text in an provide their first and last name, email, address, DOB, other pieces of information - all data is automatically captured and stored in your Mobile Commons account, which essentially functions as a mobile CRM

Mobile Commons "chat" functionality also offers the ability to engage in 1-to-1 text message conversations with your supporters, members, potential donors etc. If you'd like to learn more you can drop me a line and also check out
https://uplandsoftware.com/mobilecommons/

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Jeri Lim
Mobile Strategist
Mobile Commons by Upland
Brooklyn, NY
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