Invitation Management

Billy Fluck
Billy Fluck
  • Updated

Invitation management is a way for fundraisers to track RSVPs and attendance for development events, such as donor receptions, smaller fundraising events, or opening nights. In this article, we will show you how to use this tool, why it’s useful in special event management, and how to report on responses.

In this article, we’ll cover:

Invitations are one of the tools you can use to manage your relationships with your high-level donors, prospects, and VIPs. They’re managed in the Opportunities Interface and are designed to help you track who you have invited to an event, record your Invitees’ guests, manage their responses, and—crucially—track whether they attended or not. By keeping this information in your Spektrix database, you can report on your patrons’ responses, keep an updated list of responses, export an up-to-date RSVP list for seating and planning, and, if applicable, hold off on actually seating your patrons until you know who is attending your event.

There are a few things to note when using Invitations, first and foremost being that Invitations are a tracking feature in Spektrix, rather than an automated invitation mailing or RSVP tracker. When you invite someone using this feature, you’re telling Spektrix you intend to invite them; therefore, you will still need to manually:

  • Send them an invitation to the Event
  • Mark their Invitation as accepted/declined
  • Mark whether they attended the Event or not

However, you can use their Invitation status to manually send an invitation to your invitees, chase unconfirmed Invitations, or send them a reminder of an upcoming event they’ve accepted an invite to. You can also use someone’s Invitation status to power a Customer List Schedule – drop the Support team a line if you’d like to discuss how best to do this.

For this reason, we’d recommend using Invitations for smaller, more targeted events or groups. For larger events, where you might be looking to invite hundreds or thousands of individuals, and don’t necessarily need to keep track of each individual’s status, we’d instead recommend simply recording those invitations as Mailings.

Additionally, any user who will be managing Invitations will need the General Administrator, Insights & Mailings User, and Opportunities User user roles. For more information, see our article on adding users and user roles.

Setting up your Invitation

Using the Invitation functionality in Spektrix relies on first setting up an Event in the Admin Interface – bear in mind that you’ll need the General Administrator role to do this.

When setting up the Instance(s) you want to record Invitations against, you’ll need to make sure that, in the Basic Details tab, they’re set as visible and on sale in the Opportunities Interface:

While you’re only able to record Invitation responses in the Opportunities Interface, you also have the option to make your Event visible and on sale in the Sales Interface and on the web. Choosing these options will allow Sales Users to process tickets and/or allow people to “book” their ticket online. If the Instance you’ve created is also going to be on sale to the general public, we’d recommend holding back an allocation of tickets for your invited guests using a specific Lock Type.

Now it’s time to invite patrons to your event; this can happen either by inviting patrons to your Event individually, or inviting them in bulk.

Inviting patrons individually

In the Opportunities Interface, go to the fourth tab of the Pinboard on the right-hand side of the screen to open the Event Invitations panel:

From here, you’ll be able to choose an Instance from the dropdown:

This contains a list of all active Instances set to be visible in the Opportunities Interface. To view historic data, just select the Show All Instances checkbox:

Once you’ve selected the appropriate Instance from the menu, head to the menu on the left-hand side, click the People icon to enter the People Dashboard:

Here you can search for the individual's record, then drag the blue person icon into the Event Invitations panel:

You can also add an individual in much the same way by navigating to the Opportunities Dashboard:

From here, just click the three dots alongside the individual’s name, and drag this over to the Event Invitations panel:

Once they’ve been added, you can click the Edit button and amend the following details:

  • On behalf of: if the individual is being invited on behalf of an organisation, select the organisation they have a relationship with from the dropdown
  • Guest invited: enter the number of guests this Invitee is being invited to bring; this is a mandatory field, but 0 is a valid response
  • Invitation sent on/Response expected on: set the date you’re planning on sending the invitation to this individual, and when you expect a response; these are mandatory fields and both default to today’s date
  • Response: this is where you can later change the status of an Invitation, choosing between:
    • Not replied
    • Accepted
    • Declined
    • Accepted - Cancelled
    • Accepted - No Show
  • Details: a free text box where you can add outline specific information relevant to the Invitation; for example, an invitee’s allergy information could be listed here, or a reminder to introduce this invitee to another guest
  • Upload Attachment: using this button, you can upload an attachment to the Invitation; for example, a scanned PDF copy of a paper invitation you’ve sent out

We’ll cover how to add guests to an Invitation later in this article.

Inviting patrons in bulk

If you want to invite a number of people in one go, you can build a Customer List in Insights & Mailings based on who you’re inviting to your Event. Typical segments you might include are:

  • Customer Segment that looks for Tags that you’ve applied to specific people in your Spektrix database (e.g. Board Members)
  • A Purchasing Segment based on donation history, looking for your higher level donors (e.g. anyone who has donated £1,000+ in the last 12 months)
  • An Opportunities Segment that looks for people who have open Opportunities at a particular stage (e.g. anyone with an open Opportunity in the Cultivation stage)

NOTE: for more information, we’d recommend reading our articles on the Customer List Builder and the various Segment types available.

When you’re happy with your Customer List, navigate to the Choose an action dropdown and select Bulk create invitations:

From the pop-up window, find your Instance in the dropdown menu, set how many guests are invited (bearing in mind that you can edit this for individuals once the Invitations are created by going to the Opportunities Interface, just in case some invitees can bring more or fewer guests), set the date you are sending your Invites and when you can expect a reply, and any additional details you want to add to these Invitations en masse:

Once you click Ok, these Invitations will be created. You can navigate back to the Opportunities Interface and view your list in the Invitations panel:

NOTE: any Invitations created in this way will be identical; if you need to, you can always edit them individually by clicking into them in the Invitations panel.

Processing RSVPs

When you hear back from your Invitee you can then process their response. To do so, you’ll first need to navigate to the Invitation. You can do this one of two ways:

  • Click into the Event Invitation tab on the Pinboard on the right-hand side of the screen, select the appropriate Event from the dropdown and find the customer in the guest list:

  • Click the Invitation tab on the customer record in the Opportunities Interface. This will list all the customer’s Invites, both past and upcoming:

Changing an Invitee’s response

The default response after an Invitation is created is Not Replied. Once you receive RSVPs, you have the option to change a patron’s response from this to one of the following:

  • Accepted
  • Declined
  • Accepted - Cancelled
  • Accepted - No Show

It’s important to keep your Invitee’s response up-to-date so that you can later report on responses and track the engagement of your patrons.

Adding Guests

At this point, you can also confirm the number and names of the Guests attending. In the Invitation tab, you’ll see the Guests attending section and a dashed box labeled Drag an Individual here or click "Add guest" – this is where Guests can either be added with their Spektrix customer record, or as a free text name if they’re not yet in your system.

If a Guest has an existing customer record, head to the menu on the left-hand side, click the People icon to enter the People Dashboard and search for it here. Then drag the blue person icon to the Guest Attending sections:

You must also add the Invitee as an Attendee if they are attending.

If you just want to add their name, click Add guest and type the Guest’s information into the pop-up:

Click OK and they’ll be added as a Guest:

You’ll notice that Guests added this way don't have a blue person icon next to them, whereas those added from a customer record do.

Adding notes about Guests

You can also make notes about specific Guests to pull into an Attendee report (we’ll cover this in the Reports section below). This can be a useful place to record dietary restrictions or notes as to why someone is bringing a particular Guest (e.g. this is a board member’s new colleague who is interested in learning more about your organisation’s work).

To do this, just click the blue sticky note icon alongside the Guest’s name and enter this info in the pop-up:

Click Save and you’ll see the blue sticky note icon now reflects that a note has been added:

Selling Guests tickets to Events

If this is a ticketed Event, you can use the blue basket button in the Guests section to process the transaction from inside the Opportunities Interface:

Click this, choose a Sales Channel and the seat selection will appear in a pop-up.

Unreserved Events

In the case of an Event with unreserved seating, this will look something like this:

Click Add Seats and you’ll be able to complete the transaction in the Basket on the right-hand side of the screen.

Reserved Events

If the Event has reserved seating, the pop-up will show the seating plan, where you can select exactly which seats you want to allocate to these attendees:

Click Add Seats and you’ll be able to complete the transaction in the Basket on the right-hand side of the screen.

Spektrix will allocate seats to each Guest in turn. Which seat has been automatically allocated to which Guest will be visible alongside the green ticket symbol in the Invitation:

You can reassign the seats by dragging the green ticket icon from Guest to Guest, so you can sit those that need to be in adjacent seats together.

NOTE: processing a transaction will not automatically update the Invitation response; you’ll still need to edit this as necessary.

Reporting on Invitees

Because you’re keeping track of your invitation list in Spektrix, this means you can easily report on it! Here are a few ways to report on your Invitees and their Guests.

NOTE: While there are not standard report templates for the Invitee and Attendee reports, clients can build their own reports or reach out to the support team for a custom template. Both Invitee and Attendee type reports will be available in the Insights and Mailings interface and the Reports tab in the navigation bar on the left-hand side of the Opportunities Interface:

Invitees Report

You can use this report to get information about everyone who has an Invitation on their record. It pulls one row for each Invitee, and can include information such as the organisation a patron was invited on behalf of, the response rate and whether or not tickets have been booked, any invitations details, etc. You could use this report to see who still needs to respond to your Event and to look at response trends across Events.

Attendees Report

You can use this report to pull everyone who has an Invitation on their record and everyone who has been added as an Invitee’s Guest. It pulls one row for each Attendee (i.e. Invitee or Guest), and can include information such as who invited them, the organisation the Invitee is attending on behalf of, seat information, attendee notes, etc. You could use this report as your check-in list or to see if there are trends in who is invited as an Invitee’s Guest across Events.

Customer Lists

As touched upon in the earlier section around inviting patrons in bulk, you can use Invitee and Attendee Segments in Customer Lists to pull, for example, the details of customers who have not replied to an Invitation so you can follow up with an email. For more information, have a read of our articles on the Customer List Builder and the various Segment types available.

Adding Guest information to tickets

Along with the name of the Invitee, it’s also possible to add the names of invited Guests to a ticket design. This could be used for handling arrivals at an organised fundraising Event. To do this, you’ll just need to create a ticket design specifically for use for these Events. In Admin > Document designs, create a new ticket design (or copy an existing one to edit it) and, instead of using Full Name, use Attendee Name; you’ll find both of these under Text Fields > Customer:

To learn more about designing tickets, check out our article on the Ticket Design Tool here.

After the Event

Once your organised Event has taken place, it's important to track which of your RSVPed guests actually showed up.

After the Instance date has passed, the check boxes in the invitee’s invitation become editable. If anyone in the Invitee’s party did not attend, you can uncheck the checkbox beside their name and decide if you would like to edit the response. For example, here you can see that Maya, Nia, and Oliver attended, but Nia’s guest did not:

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Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Spektrix Support team if you’ve got questions about any of what’s been covered here, or would like to talk in more detail about anything fundraising related.

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