So you’ve got an event coming up that you need people to sign up for. Right now, you’re probably not sure how you’re going to accept those registrations, whether it’s to use mailers, paper forms, an expensive registration system or a combination approach.
Having been in the registration space for a number of years, there are several tips I’d like to pass on as must-haves for event registration. The first is that you need a software.
Paper forms are obsolete -- there, I said it. Like the outdated typewriter and the telegraph, PDF documents for registration are done. Everyone wants a digital, do-it-on-your-phone approach, and it’s not difficult to see why.
There are three main pieces to an effective event registration software.
It has to have a user-friendly approach for the registrant
People have short attention spans. If your registration process is too complicated or too drawn out, your registrants may lose focus and interest.
Keep your questions simple, concise, and if possible, give the registrant choices to choose from.
Once they answer the questions, have them directed to payment forms immediately. This way there are only two steps: Answers to registration questions and payments. That’s it. It doesn’t need to have more steps than that, and you’ll thank yourself once the registrations (and money) come pouring in.
Registrant data must be easy to extract
What’s the point of asking specific registration questions if you can’t access that information quickly and efficiently?
Organizations like the Friends School of Wilmington were using standard paper registration forms. This ancient method was making it difficult for staff and administration to access the files of its students. It was not until they decided to use Payscape’s Registration software to eliminate physical storing files and accessing information for students right at their fingertips.
Once you’re in the administration side of your registration software, you should be able to select the event in question and pull all the information you gathered on your registrants. This way, rosters, payment records, and essential information is at your fingertips within minutes.
Compared to paper documents, which could take hours to organize, an online record database will take mere moments.
Funds must be deposited quickly
We’ve all waited on a friend, family member or acquaintance to pay us back for something and wondered if they’d ever get around to it. That’s the last worry you want on your mind when hosting an event that charges per head.
Keep this part simple: have the registrants pay up front and online, whether that’s with a credit card or ACH payment. Just be sure you don’t have to track anyone down for their money because, especially with an event coming up, that’s a headache you don’t need.
Many payment processors can have your money deposited directly into your account within a couple business days, and in my opinion -- the sooner the better. Money in hand is way better than money promised.
Depending on your event, your registration software may need more specific features than this, but this covers the bases for many events.
Keep in mind, if you’re not taking registrations online, you’re only costing yourself and your organization countless hours of needless admin work -- which really translates to money wasted.
Still considering transitioning to online registration? Check out why online registration beats paper.