Whenever your nonprofit plans an important event, your attendance list will ideally be pretty long. But sometimes planning and marketing an event—especially during a time when virtual events are a necessity—can be a challenge, especially if your registration process isn’t completely streamlined.
Many organizations might not think about how their website factors into event registration, but the way you present your nonprofit and its activities online actually has a huge impact on the number of registrations you receive. From creating an effective registration form to getting visitors on your site in the first place, every step counts.
So how can you effectively design your website to drive more event registrations to completion?
We’ve compiled some of our favorite tips for creating, designing, and highlighting your event registration on your website:
- Make Registration Easy to Find
- Focus on Your Registration Form
- Incorporate Visuals
- Make Everything Mobile Responsive
- Maintain Your Website
Whether you’re planning a large annual fundraising event or a smaller activity, investing time into your website’s presentation will make a noticeable difference in the number of attendees who sign up. Let’s dive in!
1. Make Registration Easy to Find
The first step to take when using your website to promote event registration is making the form easy to find. The more ways you give your web visitors to land on your event’s informational and registration pages, the more likely they will be to engage with it (and register!).
In order to make your registration form easy to find on your website, you should:
- Use CTAs. Calls to action (CTAs) encourage readers to engage further with the content on your website. Your event and registration information are no exception. This means you should feature CTAs throughout your website that clearly presents a registration link (for example, a “Register Now” button). The clearer you are about what you want your visitors to do, the more likely they will be to do it.
- Make your website easy to navigate. According to the Cornershop Creative team’s digital fundraising guide, your navigation should be detailed and organized. Be sure to use simple website navigation across your website so each section is easy to find, including the events page. Many of your web visitors may also view your website on a mobile device, so keep that in mind when creating your navigation menu. Think about how easy it should be for anyone to find information on your event, regardless of the device.
- Be brief and to the point. If you include a long-winded introduction about your event and don’t quickly get to the pertinent information attendees need to register, you may lose some readers. Make sure your introduction is short and sweet (about one paragraph or so), shows what the event is about, notes the date and location, and explains how to register. Don’t forget your CTA!
Here’s an example of an effective event page:
This page briefly introduces the event, presents the location, time, and contact information, and also offers registration information.
Your event won’t be well-attended if people don’t know how to register for it. By featuring CTAs throughout your website, offering easy navigation, and being straightforward with the event information, your attendance numbers will be sure to get a boost.
2. Focus on Your Registration Form
As we’ve mentioned, your website needs to drive visitors to your actual registration form. But once they’ve arrived at the form, what’s next?
It should be easy for attendees to sign up for your event. This means only asking for relevant information, presenting the form in a visually appealing way, and making sure the process is as smooth as possible.
More specifically, you should:
- Limit the number of fields. If you’re not going to use specific information, there’s no need to ask for it. Ask only the essential questions you need to process the attendee’s registration. This may include basic contact information, payment information, and anything else you can use while still maintaining the cleanest and simplest form possible. The fewer fields you have on your registration form, the more likely registrants will complete the process.
- Brand the form to your organization. Consistent branding is key to establishing trust in your supporters. Whether your registration form features your nonprofit’s logo, color scheme, or font, keeping everything cohesive in design will reassure supporters that they’re interacting with your organization and giving their information to the right place.
- Accept payments online. Does your event charge a registration fee? Are there other expenses that need to be covered? Accepting payments online ensures you receive the money faster and in a secure manner while avoiding potential accounting errors. And even more than that, accepting payments during the registration process is convenient for your attendees, too.
If you focus on streamlining the center of your registration process—the registration form—this will help you secure a higher attendance. Make sure the process is easy, convenient, and simple, and you’ll be on your way to a successful event!
3. Incorporate Visuals
We’ve discussed how your online registration form should be easy to navigate. But there is another element of web design that can also impact the number of registrations you receive: visuals.
Whether you use visuals on specific informational pages, your registration form, or CTAs, make sure you think about the kind of content you’re featuring. Keep these tips in mind:
- If you’re going to use photos to promote your event, choose real photos from past events, or photos of your speakers, rather than generic stock photos that don’t draw as much excitement.
- If you’re able to, consider using illustrated graphics that promote your event. Illustrations, drawings from pictures, or animated images may grab attention and ensure more interesting content. These are beautiful to look at and can still include essential information about your event, as well.
- Use visually appealing banners as CTAs on your website to promote the event and your registration form.
- Incorporate videos into your website. These can be highlights from past events, promotional videos, and other types of content that will stir up excitement for the event. If you’re planning to livestream your event (which is important to do this year!), you’ll already have a better handle on how to produce those videos.
Supporters want to see the impact your organization has had on its constituents, and what better way to do this than through images and video? Give your supporters a firsthand look at what you’ve done in the past, and you’ll inspire even more event attendance in the future.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this list of top nonprofit websites.
4. Make Everything Mobile Responsive
We briefly touched on mobile responsiveness earlier, and for good reason! Not only does a responsive website give your visitors a better experience, but it also helps with SEO. Ensuring your website can be viewed consistently on any type of device will help with your site’s ranking, as well as with visitor engagement.
That’s why everything should be mobile responsive. This includes:
- Each page of your website
- Your donation form
- Your event registration forms
Rather than making your attendees zoom in and out on the registration form to get from one field to the next, use a content management system that is mobile friendly so you can design your forms to look great on both desktops and mobile devices. If you use WordPress, or are looking to switch to this site builder, check out some of the best WordPress plugins for nonprofits that go beyond just mobile responsiveness.
Many of your visitors will be looking at your website on a mobile device. That’s why ensuring your site is mobile friendly will keep visitors there, increasing the likelihood that they will engage with your events.
5. Maintain Your Website
No one wants to get excited for an event they found online, only to learn it has long since passed. Make sure you’re keeping your website updated, checking that all your links work, and ensuring your visuals still load correctly.
This is part of your organization’s ongoing website maintenance process. Supporters who land on your website only to find an outdated blog and expired events will probably not stay for long. Make sure you’re constantly updating your website, including:
- Your blog
- Any routine updates the site needs
- Your events calendar
- Main contact information
- Facebook and other social media pages
This will reassure visitors that your nonprofit has plenty of activities going on! If you’re looking for more specific elements to look out for as you maintain your website, check out the Cornershop Creative team’s guide to nonprofit website maintenance.
Planning an event and developing an event strategy takes enough time, staff, and resources already. When you know your nonprofit’s website is doing a lot of the work for you, you’ll be in a good place to increase your registration rates.
Consider how web visitors find your registration information, how streamlined your registration process is, and how everything is presented and maintained. From there, you can focus more time on executing a great event and continue building relationships with your attendees!
Author: Ira Horowitz
With 15 years’ experience, Ira is an expert in nonprofit online communications and online fundraising. His work has resulted in increased funds and resounding supporter engagement for hundreds of organizations.
Ira oversees our project management team and works with clients to provide our clients with the best possible final product. He also manages all of our strategic engagements and helps guide nonprofits to determine their long-term strategy goals for online communications.