Setting Up an Automatic Payment and Registration System for Remote Demonstrations

Last week, Cindy Drozda hosted a remote demo for our Chapter. Prior to the event, I set up a simple system that allowed people to register and pay for the demo in advance. This worked really well, and several other Chapter officers asked how I set it up. Always a firm believer in documenting your work, I decided to put together a detailed write-up on how I set it up. It describes two methods that I came up with to accomplish the task. I believe the first method is better, but the second method works too. Pros and cons of each are discussed. 

The system I put in place:

  • uses free, off-the-shelf e-commerce tools;
  • automates the registration and payment process;
  • automatically sends the customer an email confirmation that contains the Zoom ID link and password for the demo;
  • also sends an email to several FSW Officers, notifying us of the sale;
  • generates a list of the sales with the date, time, buyer, buyer’s email, etc. which can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet.

This system, combined with a quick marketing campaign, was – by pretty much all measures – a resounding success. I believe it was our most attended meeting ever, with people from all over the country – and even a couple international guests – joining us! We brought in more than enough in admission fees to cover Cindy’s demo fee, and the excess provided a healthy contribution to our general fund.

In the current environment, I believe automating the registration and payment process should make it easier to expand our audience for live virtual events, and thereby help cover our costs and make these events a sustainable proposition. If you’re a Chapter office and want to implement such a system, please feel free to download my guide. It could also be useful for artists, makers, content creators, or other types of organizations.

You can download the document here.