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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?



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!

Bethany Lister
Community Engagement Manager
Nonprofit Technology Network

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!



Syed Ali
Digital Communications Manager
New York, NY