General Question

Jeruba's avatar

What do I need to know and do as registrar for an event?

Asked by Jeruba (41856 points ) June 24th, 2009

I am thinking of volunteering to serve as registrar for a conference. I’ve worked on all-volunteer conference committees before, but not in this capacity. If you have intimate knowledge of the job, can you tell me what all needs to be done before I decide if I’m up to it?

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3 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

i worked for a medical communications company for a while, and we had to handle all aspects of the conference setup and operation.

do you mean you’re simply sitting there, helping people sign in, or are you handling sending out invites, etc? obviously the latter is considerably more time consuming. also, how many attendees are expected to attend? is it a free conference, or is there a fee? are you targeting a specific audience, or group?

sorry, lots of extra Qs…

Jeruba's avatar

This would be for a group conference. Registrants would include members and nonmembers. Something like 300 would attend. Registration would not include responsibility for publicity and promotion. I would not simply ask the last people who did it because their work was a model of what not to do and caused chaos at checkin time. I’d appreciate the voice of competent experience to supplement my own assumptions and guesses.

As registrar I would expect to
— create a registration form (meaning needing to know all the things that would have to be on it and setting it up graphically)
— track advance registrations received by mail and online
— receive, record, and transfer reg. fees
— enter registrant information in a database
— send confirmations and follow up on missing information
— deliver advance counts to the chair
— handle cancellations and refunds
— handle special-category registrations such as for presenters and committee members
— organize and set up the check-in table
— prepare lists of registrants for various uses
— provide for walk-in registrations
— prepare name tags
— prepare registration packets
— instruct and deploy onsite reg. table volunteers

Have I missed anything?

eponymoushipster's avatar

i would definitely spend a considerable amount of time thinking your forms, databases and spreadsheets through. We had a multi-level process of checking through all these things. Prep is gonna save a lot of time/headache/multiple mailings and phone calls in the long run.

One thing i’d do is create relational database, and use various “flags” to flag different member types, who paid, hasn’t paid, cancellations, waiting list, etc. Are you familiar with/have access to a program like FileMaker or Access?

I’d be prepared for a lot of time spent with FedEx/UPS or whatever. We had a dedicated station when i did it, but we had up to 20 conferences going at once.

seriously, this sounds almost exactly like what i used to do. you sound like you have a good list going. Do you have specific questions about any of your list items?

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