EventBrite for Social Work Event Planning
I helped my local chapter of NASW put together the ticketing system for this year’s Social Work Month celebration. It was our fourth Event using EventBrite. I’m writing this now to help you plan your fall events.
EventBrite is a service that builds a legitimate and solid site for you to promote your social work (and non-social work) events. If you want to charge, issue tickets, and get paid for delivering your awesome workshop, event, or gathering, EventBrite makes it easy. If you’re not charging fees, you can still use EventBrite to keep track of attendees. EventBrite is super easy for you to navigate as a host or a consumer that is buying tickets.
Why I Used EventBrite
NASW has the most antiquated none-user-friendly set-up for collecting information and fees. It was offered to us as free, but it is a convoluted mess that involves filling out several spaces (name, address, etc.) in a non-userfriendly way. You get what you pay for. The registration process is archaic, clunky, and was probably cutting edge during the second term of the Clinton Administration (of four we’ll be having).
Putting together a training or an event takes time, resources, and marketing. In all cases, it takes recruitment of a great speaker and you get what you pay for. In spite of colleagues supporting our efforts, we want their presence and more importantly, their money, to make the event sustainable. They are buyers and as people are so finicky, they will walk away from inconvenience and embrace the simple and easy. Removing the barrier of registration promotes ticket sales.
Using Eventbrite as a Host
As a host, Eventbrite is easy to sign up for and it takes one page of navigation and three steps to set up your event.
Step 1: The Basics
Give your event a title, find a venue, and indicate the start and end date/time of your event. If you have an event image, even better!
Your event description should include as much detail as you need to convey what the participants will be getting. A FAQ is very important!
To give your event more legitimacy, complete the Organization Description and write about yourself or your group.
Step 2: Creating Your Tickets
Be aware that with fees, Eventbrite can collect by passing them along the attendee, taking it from the ticket price, or splitting the difference. I’ll explain this below (see: Fee Structure)
Step 3: Additional Settings
You can indicate whether you want this event listed as a Public Page so that people near the venue can see it listed with all other EventBrite listings or you can list it as a Private Page where only people that have a link can access the page.
There are other great features for the service.
- Ticket Master. You can create different types of tickets, put an expiration date for certain tickets (e.g. early bird specials), and have pricing tiers. Adjust to your heart’s content
- Discount Coupon Codes. You can create a discount code (e.g. “friendofiggy”) that your pal can activate at any time when they go to buy a ticket to your event. You can set the amount or percentage that the ticket price is discounted. This is great for helping poor college students come to your event.
- Track Your Sales. This was my favorite part of using Eventbrite; every sale resulted in getting an email. This helps to plan your event accordingly.
- Download the EventBrite app. Track sign-up rates, gross ticket sales, and scan attendees into your event from the app.
- Print a list of attendees. In case you’re not keen on hauling out your smartphone to check people in.
- Print out name tags. EventBrite will allow for you to print out name tags for your attendees to wear.
EventBrite works on the Freemium Model. It is free to use, but if you are going to use their premium features, i.e. sell tickets and collect money, you have to pay for it and it is my opinion that the fee is reasonable for what you’re getting.
I have used EventBrite to set up events, e.g. mixers, where we were not collecting money, but had to let the venue know how many people were coming.
If you are collecting money for your event, EventBrite makes it easy to sell tickets, collect money, and get paid in a timely manner. This is a premium service that has worked very well for me.
At present, EventBrite charges the following rate: 2.5% of the ticket price + $0.99 per ticket + a 3% payment processing fee
So if a ticket fee is $50… The service fees will be : $3.74
Face value of ticket = $50.00
+ Baseline Fee (2.5% of face value) = $1.25
+ Fee Per Ticket = $0.99
+ Processing Fee = $1.50 (3% of $50).
= $53.74 (face value of ticket + fees)
Eventbrite let’s you eat the fee, add on the fee, or split the fee.
An Absorbed Fee means that for each ticket sold, that same amount is taken from the ticket. The attendee pays $50 and the organizer receives $50 minus the service fee. The organizer nets $46.26. This type of fee is attractive because people like paying for what’s advertised, sans any fees.
A Passed on fee means that in addition to the ticket price, you receive the entire $50 and your attendee pays the additional: $3.74 for a total purchase of $53.74. The organizer nets $50. This type of ticket is less attractive, as your buyer is spending more money than was advertised.
A Split fee means that your attendee will split the fee. Your buyer pays the service fee ($2.24) and the seller pays the EventBrite Service Fee ($1.25). The organizer receives $50 minus $1.25. The organizer nets $48.75. In spite of the lower fee, this type of ticket is still less attractive, as your buyer is spending more money than was advertised.
What I Learned From Using EventBrite
Provide Food, if Possible
If you can score food at your event and can factor that into ticket cost, do it! People love being fed and if you are hosting a daytime event, your attendees will appreciate not having to scourge the surrounding area of the venue during the lunch time you provide. It helps with selling tickets.
Making a FAQ Saves A Ton of Headaches.
Imagine you’re an attendee… What questions would you ask about the event? Will CEUs be provided? Food? (If no food, what are some lunch options nearby?) What’s parking like? How should people dress? Will handouts be provided?
Specifically indicate what your terms are for refund.
This should go on your FAQs, but the more prominent, the better. Be clear, firm, fair, and consistent. This should be completed before you tell EventBrite to make your event live. As an organizer, you also want to be crystal clear about conditions for refunds or transferring registration.
Each Sold Ticket = Less Worry About Costs
I prefer selling on EventBrite rather than advertising that tickets will be sold at the venue. When somebody pays money for the event you’re hosting, they are locked in. Money has been charged to their credit card and whether they show or not, you have one more body to add to your headcount and planning, as well as income. When people pay money up front and commit to the event, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you will have an attendee (and their money) at your event.
Money is important when hosting an event, especially when you have costs for your speaker, venue, and food. The more money you have secured, the less worry you will have.
If you can, put on your event with a team.
Flying solo means being responsible for food, drink, entertainment, marketing, decorating, and all the fun stuff that makes an event memorable.
Real-Time Tracking = Real-Time Updating.
Every time somebody signs up for your event, you get an email. You haven’t lived until you see your email flooding with RSVP confirmations of people that have signed up for your event… When email after email pours into your inbox telling you you have an RSVP, it’s exciting.
In helping my local chapter, I have been times were we set a goal of attendees and plan accordingly… then we see a swell of registrations, which means that we increase the limit of attendees. And we need to increase the number of chairs, food, etc..
“It was easy to register”.
The most validating feedback I got from attendees was how easy it was to register. The other surprising feedback I got from several attendees was comparing the ease of registration through EventBrite to other registrations they have done.
You get what you pay for. I am going to continue using EventBrite for my professional projects because it is easy for me to use, easy for my buyers to give me money for my event, and easy for me to get paid after the event is completed. Free or cheap does not always mean good. I think that EventBrite’s fees are reasonable, fair, and inexpesive.
EventBrite saves me the worry of chasing down people for money, trying to finagle people to commit, and not having to deal with a bunch of personal checks, cash, or other way to collect money. Instead, I can worry about putting on the best event I can for my attendees.
I worked on this post for several hours without any intention of making a profit.
Prior to publishing this blog post, I googled “Eventbrite referral program” and saw that there is a referral program that pays a percentage of revenue generated by people that sign up with the links to Eventbrite in this post. If you decide to sign up with that referral link, whatever revenue I get from that will help to defray the costs of this hobby, e.g. hosting, domain renewals, equipment. This is as close to advertising as my blog has gotten, but again, this post was not written with the intention of generating revenue.