Events are one of the best ways to engage your donors, meet and earn new supporters, and raise money. One of the most important aspects of any event is the registration process. How can you make it as easy as possible and ensure a smooth, frustration-free experience for people, maximizing sign-ups and ensuring almost everyone who visits your page actually buys a ticket?

As I explored this issue in my new book, Nonprofit Fundraising 101, I interviewed subject matter expert Tracy Kosolcharoen from Eventbrite. She shared five solid tips designed to help any nonprofit optimize its sign-up page:

1. Focus on Key Real Estate

There are three places on your events page that are the most important: the upper right hand corner, the area "above the fold" in the middle of the page, and your navigation bar. Use the areas where people's eyes naturally gravitate to share your event's what, where, when, and how.

2. Less is More

Don't ask people to register, donate, and share event information all on the same page. It defeats the entire goal of your events page: getting people to sign up! Minimize distractions that dilute your ask and use graphic buttons that say something like "Sign up now," "Order Tickets," or "Register" to ensure folks click through and complete the transaction. Once people have registered, only then should you invite them to share with others (see next tip).

3. Go Viral

Eventbrite discovered that 67 percent of shares happen just after registration, and that every Facebook share is worth $4 of event ticket sales. So it's critical that you use a platform that makes it really easy for people who just signed up to invite their social networks to join them - on the thank you page!

It should be as easy as clicking a Facebook or Twitter button that brings up a pre-populated message with a link in it, and then folks can either send it as is or customize it to their tastes. Your event registration platform should also optimize your page for mobile, sync with social networks so you don't have to create separate event pages there, and integrate with your CRM, so attendees are automatically added to your donor database.

4. Offer Options & Discounts

Make sure you offer group registration options, and ideally discounts, to incentivize people to buy several tickets and bring friends to your event. And always invite people to donate in case your supporters are unable to attend, as that brings in more revenue you would've left on the table otherwise. Scholarships are another solid option if you serve youth or disadvantaged populations and want to invite clients to attend that can't afford to do so.

Finally, offer a 10-20 percent early bird discount if people register more than a month out since 40 percent of events sell the majority of their tickets the week of the event, and this can help minimize last minute sales and facilitate proper planning.

5. Eliminate Unnecessary Fields

Research from Eventbrite and others clearly established that the more fields in your registration form, the lower your conversion rate. The Aberdeen Group found that even a one-second delay decreases conversion rates by 7-10 percent, plus longer forms simply turn people off. So focus exclusively on securing the information you need to register people - you can always collect more details later.

Learn more about event-based and other fundraising for your cause in Nonprofit Fundraising 101.


DARIAN RODRIGUEZ HEYMAN is an accomplished fundraiser, social entrepreneur, and best-selling author. His work "helping people help" started during his five-year tenure as executive director of Craigslist Foundation. Heyman is also an in-demand fundraising consultant and a frequent keynote speaker at social impact events around the globe.

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