On-Site Check-In Process for P2P EventsPosted on: June 18, 2018
The countdown is over – the event is here!
Since most peer-to-peer events have both online and offline fundraising, you can expect to be receiving a lot of cash and check donations at your event. Are you prepared to handle this influx of donations, and organize it in a way that it gets correctly recorded in your donor management software?
Prior to working at Ministry Sync, I was the event coordinator for Life Network in Colorado Springs. I oversaw our annual Walk for Life, which consistently has over 600 fundraising walkers and runners. Nearly all of them fundraise both online and offline. Let me tell you – that’s a lot of money showing up on walk day! It is so important to have a well thought out (and well executed) check-in process to responsibly handle the funds that come in at the event.
I personally learned “the hard way” through my failures and successes over the years. I hope the information in this article allows you to learn from my mistakes in order to have a smooth check-in at your event!
Prepare for Success at Check-In!
Even with encouraging online fundraising, you’ll likely be handling a lot of donations at the event. These are gifts from donors, and ones that should be handled responsibly. Prepare for successful and accurate recording by doing the following:
- Train your volunteers. It’s a little extra work, but trust me – it’s worth it! Hold a training for your check-in volunteers within the week leading up to the event to not only walk them through the check-in process, but also role play some common scenarios such as:
- Fundraisers who show up, but forgot to bring some/all of their offline donations
- Fundraisers who come with more money than their online/offline pledge sheets say they’re supposed to have
- Fundraisers who show up with all offline donations, and nothing recorded online
- Expect the unexpected. Think through every scenario and possible need at check-in. Of course, you’ll need calculators and envelopes, but what if it rains? What if it’s windy? What if someone needs change? What if someone wants to make a donation at the event? Spend some time really thinking through all possible scenarios and make sure you’re prepared. If this is your first event, reach out to an organization that holds a similar event and pick their brain – most event coordinators welcome the opportunity to share their secrets to success!
- Bring the kitchen sink! (Or everything but.) Here is a sample list of the items we had available at our Walk for Life Check-in tables. I organized these into sets before the walk and each volunteer set up his or her own workstation.
Security is everything
When you have a lot of money coming in on walk day, it’s important to keep a close eye on it. A few things to consider:
- Know your volunteers! It’s worth it to run a background check on your volunteers to make sure they’re not recently out of jail for embezzlement. 😉 Handling money opens the door to temptation, and should be a position entrusted only to those who are trustworthy.
- Work in pairs. Consider having two volunteers working at each check-in table. This will not only provide another volunteer to bounce questions off of, but it adds a level of accountability as well.
- Secure the donations. Keeping a stack of cash and checks in reach of anyone attending your event is probably not the best idea. Plastic file bins like these are a great way to inconspicuously file processed pledge sheets and donations, then transport them back to your office. Consider keeping these behind the check-in tables, and have a couple extra volunteers collect and file your processed pledge sheets.
- Increase Security. Off-duty police officers are often available for hire at an affordable rate. Hiring one to be near the registration area will provide physical security should it be necessary (which hopefully it won’t!).
Double-Check Your Work
There are a lot of moving parts on walk day, and if you account for everything correctly the first time every time, then I need to learn from you! My elementary school math teachers’ advice to “double check your work” applies here too. Here are a couple ideas:
- Have an “at the office” Accounting Team. After check-in completed, we had a different set of volunteers back at the office, double checking each pledge sheet. At the event itself, check-in volunteers would staple an envelope to each walker’s Summary Sheet and/or offline pledge sheet and would document the amount of cash and number of checks accounted for. Back at the office, the Accounting Team would double check that the proper amount of cash and checks were received, then they would sort cash and checks to help our staff prepare for the much-anticipated bank deposit.
- Enter all donations received into FundEasy after the event so you have an accurate account of the finances for your event. Have a separate set of eyes spot-check your work for accuracy!
Peer-to-peer fundraising events are a great time and can be very successful both financially and in raising awareness of your organization. My hope is that these tips help you to think through your check-in process so it can run as smoothly as possible!
Have a great event!
This article was inspired by our customers and written to encourage your fundraising efforts. Although we work with ministries and events daily, our team members are not Event Consultants. We encourage you to consult with your event consultant, executive team, and/or affiliate organization before making any major changes to your events.