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Event Cancellation: Processes and Best Practices
Event Cancellation: Processes and Best Practices
Are you cancelling an event? Follow these steps for best practices on cancellation notice and ticket refunds!
Liz Ragland avatar
Written by Liz Ragland
Updated this week

We understand that as concerns around COVID-19 grow, you will need to cancel events and/or refund tickets for your donors. Here are some steps to follow if you need to cancel an event and additional steps to take if you will be refunding purchased tickets. 

Part I: Let Event Guests Know Your Event is Cancelled
When you make the decision to cancel your event, you will want to reach out to your ticket purchasers as well as their guests. To do this, you will want to create a group in Donor Management based on your Event Guest List in Fundraising Pages by following the steps below. (If you only have Fundraising Pages, you can skip this step entirely!)

  1. Go to My Tools -> Fundraising Pages and click Manage on the Essential Events page that you are cancelling. 

  2. Go to the Tickets tab and edit your tickets to have an expiration date of today (or yesterday) so that they are no longer available for purchase on your Event page. (You may also want to put some information in your event description to inform people the event is cancelled)

  3. Next you want to export your full guest list: click the Guests tab and use the Export button to export your guest list into a CSV format. (Note: In order to generate a list of everyone who has a ticket to your event, you must export the list of guests from Fundraising Pages. If you create a filter in Donor Management of just those who purchased a ticket to the event, you will miss out on telling any guests of ticket purchasers that the event is now cancelled). 

  4. Next, you'll need to create a group in Donor Management. (My Tools -> Donor Management) You'll be importing the list of guests for your cancelled event to this group so choose a name that makes sense to you. To add a group navigate to Contacts -> Groups -> Add Group in Donor Management. 

  5. Once your group is created, you'll then want to start your import of the list of guests you just exported from Fundraising Pages. Go to the Imports tab (either using Settings -> Imports or going to Contacts and clicking the Import button).

  6. Upload the file you exported from Fundraising Pages so you can add all your guests to the group in Donor Management. You can remove all columns besides the name and email fields for each attendee, then add a column where you will put the name of the group you created as the header, and then an X in each row so that each guest is imported directly into this group (more details on how to do this can be found in this article).

  7. Once your guest list is imported as a group, you can then create an Email Blast in the Communications tab to reach out to your event registrants (using the group you just imported!) to let them know your event is cancelled. 

Part II: How to Refund Some or All Ticket Purchases*
If you only need some tickets refunded, you can follow the steps below to help the Network for Good team process your request in a timely manner.

  1. Go to My Tools -> Fundraising Pages and click on the Reports tab.

  2. Select the Event Summary Report and make the date range as wide as needed to encapsulate all tickets purchased for your event. Then click Export and make sure to export into CSV. 

  3. If some registrants do not want a refund, you can remove the row that contains their information. Please only send us the data for donors who are requesting a refund. Please make sure to keep all headers so that we can easily find these ticket purchases and initiate refunds for your registrants.

  4. Note that the Transaction ID column on this spreadsheet is extremely important. When you submit the file be sure to include the Transaction ID numbers because these are necessary to initiate the refunds. 

  5. Once you have the final report, please email and title the message "Event Cancellation and Refund Requests," and add the CSV or Excel file of refunds to be processed as an attachment. 

  6. Our team will follow up via email when the refund request has been processed.

Please note that refunds may take some time, especially if there are a lot of tickets to refund OR if the funds for the ticket purchases were disbursed to you already. We will let you know when we begin and complete the request, and appreciate your patience and understanding in the meantime!

Part III: How to Transfer Ticket Purchases to Donations
If you have given your ticket purchasers the option to turn their ticket into a donation, you can follow the steps here on how to mark a ticket purchase as "refunded" in Fundraising Pages, and you can then re-enter the ticket price as a donation in the Offline Donation tab.

*If you use WePay as a processor rather than Network for Good, the steps for refund as listed above do not apply. Instead you will process refunds through WePay directly.

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