At an open event people simply show up and participate without needing to register. This might be appropriate for a school field day that all students will participate in, or for a town fun run where you don’t need to collect waivers or other participant information.
Having groups informally RSVP to confirm they will attend can help you plan for the right number of participants without adding the work of a more formal registration process. For example, for a field day at your school it might be sufficient for teachers to confirm that their class will be participating.
Having people register as they arrive at your event can work great for small events where you need to collect waivers or other participant information. At a small track meet for example, parents can sign their kids up and sign any required waivers as they arrive. You can then give each kid stickers with their name and the event name on it to serve as their ticket into an event. This helps keep things organized and can be helpful if you will record event results.
You may want to have pre-registration (either required or optional in addition to event-day registration) if you need to collect waivers or other participant information and your event will be large or the registration process will be complicated and time consuming. Pre-registration can also help you estimate the number of participants who will attend. This is also helpful if a coach or teacher brings the child to the event and parents are not there to sign the waiver.
Consider these questions when deciding on your registration method:
Some events are more flexible than others, but if you need to know how many people will show up it will be helpful to use either an informal RSVP system or a formal pre-registration system.
If so, you will need to have either day-of or pre-registration to collect forms and make sure only people with signed waivers are allowed to participate.
If so you will likely want to have either day-of or pre-registration. Participants can be tracked via other methods (such as collecting names of fun run participants as they cross the finish line), but is made easier if they register.
If so, you will need to have either day-of or pre-registration to monitor the events participants sign up for. Consider implementing systems such as issuing labels for participation that can then be used to collect participant's names to keep track of the results.
If you will have a formal registration process, consider these tips:
Whether or not you have a formal registration process, consider if there are any race essentials you need to distribute to participants as they check-in. Make sure to prepare them in advance for ease of distribution. Examples include:
While we encourage you to have events that are open to all participants and free to enter, we understand you may need to collect event fees to help pay for the event or if you are using the event as a fundraiser. If funds will be collected you should check with your school administration on your policy for collecting and handling funds. Many districts have set policies on assigning treasurers for certain types of activities and how money is collected and accounted for. You will also need to decide if you will only collect money in advance or if you allow people to pay on the day of the event. If you will collect fees on race day, make sure you have an appropriate amount of change and a lock box to secure the money.