We have a number of retreats each year which require attendees to register and pay. Back in the day forms and checks were the way to go. However, recently I’ve been exploring online registration and payment.
Here are my thoughts on three services I’ve explored.
Google Spreadsheet is a great way to collect information; I only wish it could send an email confirmation once the form is completed as well as easily redirect to Google Checkout for online payment.
Wufoo can do all of that at their entry-level plan ($10/month); if one upgrades to the second-tier plan ($25/month), one can make it even slicker as payment is integrated directly into Wufoo (however, there is no way to registrants to pay by check).
EventBrite is slickest of all with a complete event site (complete with calendar and map integration) and timed tickets (for example, and early bird tickets which is only available until 10 days before the event). In addition, because everything is integrated, it keeps track of how much everyone has paid. IOW, all of their information is kept together. However, EventBrite would be the most costly of the three surveyed here.
In sum, here are my requirements and wants:
- Gather custom information from registrant
- Allow registrant to pay by credit card (via Google Checkout) or check (offline)
- Timed tickets which expire (e.g. – “early bird”)
- Email confirmation sent to registrant
- Graphs of data (like grade or payment vehicle)
- Free or inexpensive
On that last note, if we have ~50 people, here is the cost breakdown (per person) of the registration system (not counting Google fees):
- Google Spreadsheet and Checkout: $0.00
- Wufoo entry-level: $0.40
- EventBrite: ~$2.50
Currently, I’m thinking of staying with the Google Spreadsheet and Checkout route, but we’ve used Wufoo in the past with good success.
5/29/2012 Update: We’re now using Smart Events for our retreats. Made especially for these types of gatherings.