Registration is a Great Place to Grow Your Membership

Event Registration is a Great Place to Grow Your Membership Image

At a chapter event, your registration table is your first (physical) point of contact for members and guests. Their experience there often sets the tone for their experience at the event. Notice we said it’s their first physical point of contact. There are a number of things that happen, or should happen, in your registration process, before members and guests get to the table.

Making your registration experience as positive and as easy it can be goes a long way when it comes to keeping members happy and turning guests into new members.


  • Allow online registration and payment. And make it easy. Most of your attendees – members and guests -- want to take care of all the administrative activities related to the event before they get there. It ensures there’s a space for them, but more importantly, with all they have to remember in a day, registering and paying while they’re reading the event email gives them one less thing to think about down the road.
  • Send reminders to those who’ve registered. Include essential details, like date, location, link to directions, the agenda, so they don’t have to search your website for them. And, set up your system so that it doesn’t continue to send “hope you can come” reminders once someone has registered.
  • Let people register for themselves and others at the same time. This will help increase the number of attendees, as only one person needs to remember to register.
  • Charge different fees for members and guests. And show the difference on your website. Charging guests a higher price shows the value of membership in your organization.
  • Collect information during online registration. Ask guests if they’re interested in membership. If they say yes, that’s your cue to have someone at the registration table ready to talk to them when they check in. And, don’t ignore members during registration. Ask if they have questions, or if they’re available to volunteer, at the event or another time, so you can respond before they get there, or have information ready when they arrive.


Check in

  • Man your registration table effectively. This means having enough volunteers that people don’t have to wait long to check in; too many is better than not enough. It also means:
    • Having a specific line for non-registration questions, like “where’s the bathroom?”;
    • Printing name tags and copies of the registration list ahead of time;
    • Collecting office supplies ahead of time, like extra name tags, markers, extension cords, enough copies of the registration list, etc.;
    • Keeping at least one person at the table throughout the event, so latecomers can check in; and  
    • Creating a list of “might need” phone numbers, like the venue maintenance person, your catering contact, and cell numbers of your event committee.
  • Ensure those staffing your registration table see the importance of their roles. Hold a pre-event meeting with these volunteers to cover anything they need to know, like guests who’ve expressed interest in membership or members who’ve expressed an interest in volunteering. And this meeting will also allow you to confirm that you will have someone available to talk to these people when they sign in.
  • Get some of your board members to the table. Introduce board members to guests, whether they’ve expressed interest in joining or not. This makes them feel wanted and connected to at least one person when they walk into the event.


After the event

You have a list of those who attended, as well as those who registered but didn’t attend. Follow-up with both groups. Email those who came and include a summary of the events either through a link or right in the email. Send a “you were missed” email to those who didn’t attend. Ask attendees to complete a post-event survey, to show you value their opinion and that you’ll use their feedback to make your next event even better.

Guests are one of your biggest opportunities to increase membership. They’re already showing an interest in your chapter, and you don’t want to let them get away. Make registration, and your entire event, an experience they’ll remember. Registration is a key part of your recruitment approach and your process should be strategic and insightful.

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