When you need to manage large numbers of event registrants, figuring out how best to structure your registration forms is critical. You'll want to set up your registration forms to make sure you collect the required information for future planning activities.
The advice in this article is true no matter if you're still using manual registration methods (PDF's, email, paper), or you've decided use ClearEvent to streamline your registration experience.
What is a Registrant Type?
Before we go too far, it's important to know that when you create a registration form in ClearEvent, a new Registrant Type will be created automatically.
Any registrant that signs up for your event using the registration form will be assigned the Registrant Type you set for the form.
Every registration form must have a unique Registrant Type.
The impact of organizational structure on registration forms:
Events come in all shapes and sizes. Some events have small organizing teams with a flat organizational structure. Other events are larger and follow a committee-based approach for managing registrants. Your event's organizational structure will influence how you set up your registration forms.
Let's clarify the difference between these scenarios with some examples that show how both a small and large event may handle volunteer registration:
Scenario A - Small Event: If your event is small, has a flat organization structure, collects the same information from all volunteers, or you need the greatest flexibility when assigning volunteers to jobs, a good approach is to create a single registration form named "Volunteer" with a Registrant Type of "Volunteers".
Scenario B - Large Event: If your event is large, has multiple committees in charge of their own groups of volunteers, or needs to ask different questions to different types of volunteers, a good approach might be to create multiple volunteer forms for each type of volunteer like "Safety Volunteers", "Crowd Control Volunteers", or "Kids Zone Volunteers".
Structuring your event's forms:
Depending on the type of your event, you may need to register a diverse set of registrants. ClearEvent helps events register and manage volunteers, staff, competitors, vendors, VIPs, suppliers, entertainers, sponsors, media, and more.
For each of these registrant types, you'll need to decide what information you want to collect from them when they register. You may need to ask different questions to registrants depending on their role. You may also wish to charge a fee for some registrants to attend in your event, but not others.
For example, you need to ask your safety volunteers various questions related to first-aid certification, but for other volunteers types, you don't. If your event is a race, you may wish to charge competitors an entry fee and ask additional competition-related questions.
As you can see, determining how many forms you need to setup will be based on your specific event needs. To help you figure our how best to set up your forms, please review the following tips & recommendations:
General considerations for setting up your forms:
Set up at least one unique registration form for each Registrant Type (e.g. Volunteers, Vendors, Competitors, VIPs, etc...)
Try to create as few forms as possible. If you can get away with a single registration form for each type of registrant, this is often the best and most flexible approach.
When planning Jobs in ClearEvent, consider using a single form to register both your volunteers & staff. In ClearEvent, registrants can only be added to a Job that has the same Registrant Type as the registrant. By registering your volunteers & staff using the same form, you'll ensure they'll have the same Registrant Type and can both be assigned to the same Job.
When adding fields to your forms, keep questions to a minimum. Ask only for what you absolutely need to plan your event. Making a form that asks too many questions and is too long will result is fewer event registrations.
Minimize File Attachment fields. Asking your registrants to upload too many file attachments when they register (e.g. signed waivers, proof of insurance, etc... can result in low event registrations. Registrants who may not understand how to upload a digital copy of a file may find this difficult and/or frustrating. Also, registrants with slow Internet connections may experience long delays when uploading larger file attachments. Whenever possible, favor collecting "digital signatures" / acknowledgement instead of a physical signature. You can do this by adding a required Checkbox field, and linking it to an online disclaimer or policy document.
When adding fields to forms, use the Input Hint field setting to include clear instructions for each field (or even better, give an example). This can make it much easier for a registrant to complete the registration form without having to contact you.
How granular should your registration forms be?
Sometimes event managers wish to collect different registration details from very similar types of registrants.
For example, when registering volunteers, it may be useful to collect slightly different information based on the role the volunteer may fill (e.g. standard volunteer, medical volunteer, crowd control volunteer, etc...).
It is often tempting to create a separate registration forms for each volunteer role (e.g. "Standard Volunteer Form", "Medical Volunteer Form", etc). However, in our experience this creates extra maintenance work and can introduce complexity down the road, especially if volunteers will be assigned to Jobs.
A better approach is to create a single "Volunteer Form", then add free Fees for each volunteer role, and assign a Fee Group to each fee. Fee Groups can then be used to conditionally display registration questions depending on the chosen volunteer role. Individuals registering using the "Volunteer Form" will need to choose a fee (e.g. "Standard Volunteer", "Medical Volunteer", or "Crowd Control Volunteer") and will then only be presented with questions you have determined apply to the chosen role.
The following list summarizes common scenarios and suggestions for building your forms that will help you streamline future registrant and form management efforts:
Scenario: You have a large event where multiple committees operate independently from each other. For example, one committee is in charge of the Kids Zone and has their own team of trusted/known volunteers. Another committee is in charge of the Beer Garden and has a team consisting of a broader group of volunteers that meet certain age & skills criteria.
Suggestion: Create separate forms for each committee.
Scenario: You need to ask different questions depending on the role of the registrant. For example, an Art Show with both Food Vendors and Art Vendors. In this case, you want to collect food safety information from your Food Vendors, but not your Art Vendors. From your Art Vendors, you want to ask about their preferred medium or artistic style.
Suggestion: Use Fees & Fee Groups to customize the registration form questions depending on the chosen fee.
You expect you will assign registrants to Jobs.
Suggestion: Create a single registration form for all registrants you expect to assign to a job.
You need to communicate with various groups of registrants independently. For example, an Art Show needs to communicate different information to their Food Vendors than their Art Vendors.
Suggestion: Create multiple forms for each type of vendor. Messages can be targeted to each Registrant Type ("Food Vendor", "Art Vendor").
You need granular control or tracking of registrations by registrant type. For example, you need to distinguish between Food Vendors, Art Vendors, Non-Profit Vendors, limit capacity by Registrant Type, or possibly even charge different early, standard and late pricing.
Suggestion: Create multiple registration forms. You'll be able to specify target and capacity registration limits and track your registration goals much more closely. This approach can also enable you to implement a cleaner pricing strategy if you charge registrants.
You need to specify different availability requirements (shifts) for different Registrant Types. For example, you only want to ask "Kids Zone Volunteer" registrants if they're available on Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon. For all other volunteer types, you need to know their availability across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Suggestion: Create multiple registration forms. Availability Period information will be collected from all registrants that use the same registration form. There is no way to turn it off for some of the registrants but not others if they use the same form to register.
The three main things to consider when creating your forms are:
Jobs - If you'll be assigning registrants to Jobs, you'll need to ensure all registrants that will be assigned to the same job use the same registration form when they sign up.
Communications - Registrant Types are the mechanism used by the Messages section to target messages to specific groups of registrants. If you need granular control over over messaging, you'll likely want to create multiple forms.
Registrant Information - If you need to collect vastly different information from each type of registrant, create multiple forms. This approach created separate Registrant Types and keeps your custom form fields lean and increases registration checkout conversions. Remember to try and keep forms short and sweet.
If you need guidance or have questions setting up you forms, our Event Experts would love to help you out. Just click here to get help now