Learn About Your Organization to Find the Right Fit
Part 1 and Part 2 of our Enhance Your Event Strategy series focused more on the backbone of an Online Registration System and how understanding the tools can improve your events. In the final part of our series, we are going to share a story from a university client solved their need for registration technology beyond the class registration process.
It turns out the university and college environment has many events that require registrations. The most obvious may be students registering for classes, but once the semester begins there are meetings with professors, auditions for activities, and club participation that all require registrations. Additionally, there are external meetings with prospective students, or conferences held on campus and meetings involving faculty and staff. There are many gatherings that organizers need to have an attendee list.
The University’s IT department was getting requests for registration technology and they had developed a home grown system, but it lacked some needed features. First, it did not have enough security to protect those that were signing up and sharing some sensitive data. Second, it was not developed for privacy between university departments to limit the amount of information that was available to everyone. Finally, it was not easy to create registrations to support a diverse group of needs. So the IT department went shopping. Their criteria was:
- They needed an event system that was robust enough to create a solution for just about any event. They wanted it to be able to support different types of meetings from luncheons to large conferences (they had a conference hall that they rented out) and required that it was easy to train people to use.
- It had to be secure so that each department could login and have their own virtual lists of events they could create and manage. They wanted to make sure that no other department could reach the events for a different department. The security provided levels of access ranging from system administrators down to department level administrators and then people who were responsible for attendance reports, with each level permitted specific functions, so they can assign people to each level.
- The system needed to be able to handle multiple credit card accounts. The university had different merchant banking processes for different parts of the organization. This meant that the registration system’s merchant banking process had to be able to support many different vendors, so that on any one event they could use a different vendor to process credit cards.
- The system needed to handle simple forms such as student registrations for auditions in the music department, which are free and just need a name and time slot. In addition, it needed to be able to handle more sophisticated forms such as conference registrations, with multiple options.
- The system had to be able to handle limits of attendees. For example the music time slots allowed for two students per time slot. After two registered that slot was no longer usable for registration.
- The system needed to be able to handle hundreds of simultaneous users, both building registrations and registering at any time of the day or night.
- The system needed to be able to report on any single event or enable searching across all events for a person, or by email address or by company.
- The system needed to be able to edit registrations, make changes and resend confirmations.
- The system needed to be able to process payments and show who still owed money and who had paid, as well as when and how they paid, so that each event could be managed by the people responsible and not have to rely on other departments to help track funds or details.
The University needed a distributable sign up process that could handle diverse needs, without a great deal of customization. When they looked at their organization’s needs they could define how flexible their registration needed to be. After some research they found a system that would support their audience.
As you look for registration software, be sure to research a bit internally to understand the needs of your users, and then look for an application provider that can meet those needs. In this day and age, there are a lot of choices and you will find a solution at a reasonable cost.