Virtual events are prime fundraising opportunities for your nonprofit to build connections with supporters and earn donations. While they might not require venues or catering, virtual events often demand intensive planning to create a positive experience for guests from beginning to end.
- Keep your forms short.
- Add upsell opportunities.
- Use customizable templates.
- Invest in a secure payment processor.
- Ensure your forms are accessible.
- Monitor your guests’ completion process.
Your guests’ event experience begins long before they join your virtual gathering. In fact, their opinion of your virtual event starts forming from the moment they access your event registration form. Additionally, registration forms provide your event team with vital information for planning your event, including how many attendees you’ll have and any necessary preparations that need to be made in advance to accommodate them.
To help your nonprofit start your virtual events off on the right foot, this guide will explore six key registration form tips, including:
The right software should equip your team with many of the necessary tools to follow these tips, but even the best software needs to be leveraged correctly to live up to its full potential. Keep these tips in mind as you set up your event registration software to create convenient forms for your attendees and your staff.
1. Keep your forms short.
Like with your donation forms, your event registration forms should be short and to the point. Lengthy online registration processes can lead to page abandonment where visitors back out of the page before completing the form.
To prevent this and drive more submissions on your registration form, limit your form to a single page in length. Here are a few ways you can cut your registration forms’ length:
- Remove unnecessary questions. It can be tempting to use your registration form to collect as much information on your guests as possible. However, unnecessary questions can make guests feel like they’re wasting time, which may cause them to abandon the form altogether.
- Reduce data re-entry. Many of your event’s attendees have likely supported your nonprofit in the past. For these donors, you can use information from their donor profiles to automatically populate basic information fields such as name, email address, and phone number.
- Use conditional logic. If you do need to ask guests many questions, consider using an event registration form with conditional logic. Forms with conditional logic use your guests’ answers to questions to determine which information fields they’ll need to fill out. For example, if you are hosting an event with catering, you might ask attendees if they have any dietary restrictions. Guests who select “no” can move on with the form uninterrupted, while guests who select “yes” will be prompted to provide additional information.
Test your forms before encouraging supporters to fill them out. All of your software should be integrated so data from your registration form flows straight into your CRM. However, technical breakdowns can and do happen, so regularly test submitting your forms to ensure you are capturing all guests’ information.
2. Add upsell opportunities.
You can leverage your registration process to earn additional revenue for your nonprofit. Guests completing your registration form will need to enter their payment information to purchase a ticket, and well-marketed upsell opportunities can encourage them to add additional items to their cart.
On your check out page, prompt guests to make extra purchases that will also support your nonprofit. For example, for your virtual fundraising events, you can upsell guests with branded merchandise, event add-ons (such as access to additional activities and exclusive gatherings), or extra donations, which is especially appropriate for fundraising focused events.
When positioned strategically, upsell opportunities give guests a chance to browse and make purchases without needing to re-enter their payment information. However, when placed poorly, upsell opportunities can seem unnecessarily market-y and forward. Be thoughtful about how guests navigate your registration process to place your upsell opportunities at the right moment.
3. Use customizable templates.
Most event registration software will come with a set of templates you can use as a jumping off point to design your registration forms. If your nonprofit hosts a variety of activities, customizable templates can save your team time and resources (and ensure no important items are left off your forms).
Different registration software comes equipped with different templates. Look for a solution with a variety of base templates, including ones for events, forms for logged in members, and forms that account for unique activity schedules.
Additionally, your initial registration form is not the only message you’ll need to send your guests. Your registration process will also include confirmation emails, reminder messages, and ticket receipts. Use your registration software’s templates to build a consistent message stream, then segment and personalize your messages to create a unique experience for each donor.
4. Invest in a secure payment processor.
While there are many honest organizations out there like yours, your guests are likely wary of scams, viruses, and other information-theft schemes posing as nonprofits. You can reassure your guests that your events are real and that their information is safe by investing in a secure payment processor.
The right payment processor will make guests’ registration experience easier and establish your organization as trustworthy and professional. Regpack’s guide to accepting payments online lists a few criteria to look for when assessing payment processors:
- PCI compliant security. PCI compliant payment processors have the necessary protection to keep your guests’ information safe against data breaches.
- Multiple payment options. Invest in a payment processor that allows guests to pay in the way most convenient for them. Your payment processor should accept multiple forms of payment, including credit cards, debit cards, and ACH checks, and reward credit cards.
- Branding features. Guests may feel nervous about your payment processor if they are directed away from your website domain to a new page. Reassure guests that they are still giving to your organization by branding your payment pages to your organization or even embedding your payment forms directly into your registration page.
Additionally, if your nonprofit has a membership program, subscription service, or event pass, consider investing in a payment processor with robust recurring billing features. Recurring billing allows you to automatically collect payments from your guests on a routine basis, reducing membership churn and lapsed payments.
5. Ensure your forms are accessible.
All of your guests should be able to use your registration forms without issue. This means your registration forms should be accessible and take into account guests using assistive technology, such as screen readers, to navigate your form.
While the entirety of your website should be accessible, your registration form should receive extra attention as forms and information fields have several accessibility pitfalls any organization can easily fall into. Here are a few accessibility measures to look out for as you design your registration form:
- Display directions outside of the information text field. When your guests begin typing, any directions that are only displayed inside the information text field will disappear. This can be challenging for guests using assistive technology and those who step away from their computer in the midst of the registration process.
- Use more than one visual marker to indicate required fields. It’s common for registration forms to use the color red to indicate required fields. However, color alone can be a difficult visual cue for screen readers to pick up on. In addition to color, use other visual markers such as an asterisk or even a text description to explain that a field is required.
- Ensure your text and background have adequate color contrast. Most information forms will need at least three colors: the page background color, the information field background color, and the text color. View your page in grayscale to ensure there is an appropriate color contrast between all three, so all guests will be able to navigate the form.
In addition to your registration forms, make sure that your virtual event also accommodates all guests. Review the accessibility options on your event management and hosting tools to ensure every aspect of your virtual event is equally accessible to all of your attendees.
You may need to make a dedicated effort to find event management tools that are fully accessible. Resources like Double the Donation’s event management software guide can help your nonprofit directly compare multiple solutions base features. Then, reach out to your top choices to ask specific questions about your event management needs, including accessibility.
6. Monitor your guests’ completion process.
Your registration process is a process, meaning it takes several steps to complete. Increase the number of guests who see this process through to the end by using analytics tools to view the steps guests take, then make targeted improvements based on this data.
Analytics tools work by monitoring guests’ behavior on your website based on specific tasks you set up the tools to track. For example, before your virtual event, you would use your analytics tools to monitor how many guests complete the goal of submitting your registration form. Then, your analytics tools will collect data that shows the path guests take on your website to complete your registration form.
Some data points will indicate straightforward next steps. For example, if you notice a high drop-off rate on a specific part of your registration process, that component will need revision. However, other behavior might require more analysis. For instance, if you notice guests going back and forth between pages, it might mean you need to improve your navigation system or that key information on one of those pages might need to be copied over to the other page, as well.
Virtual events help your nonprofit’s supporters stay connected to your organization, even when they are physically far away. Improve your guests’ event experience from the very beginning by optimizing your registration forms for added convenience. Invest in the necessary software tools, then explore your options and leverage the available technology to collect key data that can help lead to even more positive future registration experiences.
Author: Asaf Darash, Founder and CEO of Regpack, has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and investor. Asaf has built 3 successful companies to date, all with an exit plan or that have stayed in profitability and are still functional. Asaf specializes in product development for the web, team building and in bringing a company from concept to an actualized unit that is profitable.