Registration Guide

A formal registration process may or may not be necessary for your event. Thinking through the registration needs and process in advance will help event operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Registration Options

Open Event:
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.

Informal RSVP
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.

Day-of Registration
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.

Points to Consider

Consider these questions when deciding on your registration method:

  • Do you need/have an idea of how many people will attend your event?

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.


  • Will you require waivers/release forms for participation?

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.

  • Do you need to track participant results, numbers, or other information?

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.

  • Do you need to limit participation (for example, only letting each participant do 2 events at a track meet)?

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.

Registration Tips

If you will have a formal registration process, consider these tips:

  • Waivers/Permission Forms: Depending on when and where you will hold the event, you may need to obtain release or permission forms for individual participants. It is best to ask your school or organization administrator what the policy is. If one is needed seek advice from the school/organization's legal team for appropriate language. Here is a sample form to help you get started. On this form, you could include the release of the participant's image or likeness so you or the media can use photos, film, or quotes from the event. (Your legal team or press office can help with this.)
  • Even if a release form is not required, consider what information you need and make a form that clearly includes the pertinent information. For example:
    • First and last name
    • Date of birth, age or grade deepening on how participants will be grouped on event day
    • Class or teacher name
    • General contact info if you will want to reach out to the participants later
    • Emergency contact info
    • Activity selection if your event is set-up for students to choose.
  • Try to have one person in charge of all pre-registration so all entrants are tracked in one central place. Additional people may be needed for event-day registration.
  • Entering all the participant information into one database (i.e. Excel document) can be helpful in tracking numbers, finding participant info, grouping runners, printing labels, recording results, etc.
  • If whole classes or teams will be pre-registering, create a form that allows a teacher or coach to list the required info for all kids on one sheet. You can also collect the contact info for chaperones so you know how many adults to expect and how to reach them. Creating an electronic version of this form (such as an Excel document that can be filled out and emailed back to you) will make it easier for you to consolidate all the information later on. Sometimes schools can provide a complete school roster which can also be helpful.
  • Make sure to bring any waivers and registration forms and information received in advance with you on the day of the event for reference if needed. Blank forms should also be on hand for late registration or to replace lost forms.


Race Day Packets

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:

  • Race day schedule, instructions, and map
  • Bib, sticker, bracelets, or other identifier if being used for your event
  • Team/class roster if the coach or teacher will pick-up for a whole group

Event Fees

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.