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Six Must Haves for an Event Registration System

By Rich Campbell

One of the main sources of revenue for nonprofit organizations, as well as some government agencies is events. With so much riding on each event, it is important that your organization’s event registration system is robust enough to handle not only the volume of events you host, but makes the attendee experience as easy as possible – from finding the event on your website and registering to attending the event and providing you with valuable feedback after the event.

Flexible Data Collection

Ultimately you want to be thinking about what information you need to collect to run an effective event. If your event registration system doesn’t allow you to collect what is necessary, then you are stuck. You need a registration system that is flexible enough to customize registration forms in order to capture the appropriate data needed for specific events. That could mean age groups and divisions for sports leagues, prerequisites for classes, or different tracks for conferences. It’s all about how you are organized and effective to pull off a great event.

Multiple Payment Options

Consumers have become accustom to being able to having multiple payment options online, and will expect it from your organization as well. Therefore, being able to offer flexible payment options is important. You want to look for a registration system that allows registrants to pay by credit card, check or PayPal.

Integrated Calendar

The more events and classes your organization runs, the more important it is to have a calendar view available online that integrates with your event registration system. This provides visitors to your website with important details about the event, and a direct link to register. For conferences or large events where session details may change over time, integrating your calendar with the event registration system increases staff efficiency as the system automatically updates the calendar when changes are made to the event.

Automated Communications

Part of running a successful program –whether it is a sports league, educational courses, camps or conferences – is communication. Communication about the event starts with your organization’s website and continues long after they leave the event.

Communications can include confirmation emails for registrants, emails reminding individuals to complete an unfinished registration, email reminders leading up to the event and emails after the event to solicit feedback from attendees. An event registration system with the ability to send these types of communications automatically, instead of staff managing them individually, increases efficiency as well as ensures each point of communication is accurate and timely.

If communication is a high-priority item for your organization (hopefully it should be), then you should also consider utilizing text communications. If an event registration system has this functionality, organizations can send attendees texts when a session at a conference is about to begin or if there are any changes that may occur in the middle of an event – such as a room or field change. It can also be used as an emergency broadcast system in the event of an emergency.


Being able to provide up-to-the-minute registration reports, as well as analytics after events, are increasingly important as organizations weight the costs of events verses the profit. An event management system that has robust reporting capabilities will not only allow staff to create rosters for events, but also provide raw data to develop event collateral and reports to help evaluate an event’s success.

Across All Devices

With more people accessing content on their smartphones, it is imperative that your event registration system is responsive. This not only benefits individuals registering for your events, but the staff working the events who can access the back-end functions they need on any device during the event.

As with any system, an event registration system needs to meet the needs of your organization today, and in the future. Choosing an event registration system with these six functionalities will put your organization on the path for success.

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