When it comes to registration and event program management, there are a number critical factors to consider when choosing a new system or upgrading existing tools. At Event 360, we keep a close eye on what’s available in the marketplace both for our clients and for ourselves, as we now are hosting our own signature events.
With these suggestions in mind, it’s also important to take a step a back and revisit some fundamentals—or what are now becoming fundamentals—in today’s world of event registration systems. A compelling look and feel, and social media capabilities aside, if you don’t have sound basics at the core of your systems, all the bells and whistles aren’t going to help you get the job done.
Here are five event registration tools criteria that every system should possess—if not now, soon:
- Makes the most of tried-and-true email communication – End users need the ability to tell their story through the fundraising link by sending emails to their network. Email remains the primary way people communicate and a system’s facilitating this kind of exchange is of utmost importance.
- Excellent data management and reporting features — Having clarity around what is working and what is not is a critical success factor. Being able to store, organize and analyze data is a must. Not all systems are good at this. In fact, capability in this area is good tell on whether or not a product is mature.
- Real-time communication — This relates in part to the social media capabilities we discussed last month. Your system should allow for postings and updates to sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and accommodate your audiences’ feedback/comments about your event. This should include the ability for them to upload event and other related photos and videos, as well. Allowing users to “sign in” using social media IDs is also desirable.
- Responsive design and optimization for mobile devices — Aside from the need for easy reading and intuitive navigation, the advent of smartphones (and now pads) means that you must be able to accommodate these now ubiquitous devices. Presentations and functionality that do not port to mobile devices will complicate—and for many, deny—access to registration and more. Look at the numbers and do the math. Mobile optimization is no longer a nice feature—it’s a requirement.
- Highly responsive — Lag time on donations or registration forms can lead to abandonment and lost revenue. User activity must be processed and reflected quickly, and a system should be able to scale to accommodate increases in usage with no problem with volume.
Of course, these fundamentals must be built upon reliable programs, so make sure you’re doing your due diligence on your provider’s history of customer satisfaction and ability to plug and play with any existing systems you have in place. In the end, a system that’s plagued by downtime can render your best intentions meaningless. On the other had, a powerful system that boasts the basics outlined above can organize, promote and enhance your fundraising event.