Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp—4 takeaways for great check-in

This is a guest post by Ty White from our product team. Ty recently helped out with check-in at Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp, an awesome nonprofit event here in the Bay Area. Here’s his take on what made it a success!

I recently had the pleasure of attending and assisting with entry management for the Craigslist Foundation Boot Camp event in Berkeley, CA. The event brought together hundreds of people from various backgrounds who are trying to build stronger communities. The speakers, panels, and roundtables were designed to inspire and connect community leaders to turn their ideas into reality. The event took place on the Berkeley campus, with most of the sessions taking place inside, but with registration, food and beverage, and corporate booths outside. The registration area consisted of a line of tables facing the street from which most attendees were entering. A well-staffed and well-organized registration process made entry management a breeze, something that every event organizer should strive for as the first step to a successful event. Some takeaways:

  • Have as big a staff as you can get on-hand for check-ins You want the attendees’ first experience at the event to be a positive one, and waiting to register may make them restless. The Craigslist Foundation had about six people handling standard check-ins, another couple helping staff and speakers, a third handful doling out badges, and four people manning laptops for on-site ticket purchases. The result was hundreds of happy attendees, as no one had to wait in line for more than a minute.
  • Don’t be afraid to split up the check-in process If you don’t have your badges printed and encased ahead of time, make check-in and badge management separate parts of admission (again, this will keep people from waiting in lines if one registrar is being asked to do too many tasks). At this event, attendees checked in at the front desk and were handed a lanyard, which they then filled with a badge at a second station. A second solution would be to have two people at each check-in list, one checking names off the list, the other searching through the badges for the name.
  • Use signage to lead people through the process The fewer questions people need to ask, the faster and friendlier your check-in process will be. Help people easily figure out where they are supposed to go. At Boot Camp, the only real issue we saw was with people going to the badge station before the check-in station. The confusion could have been easily solved with some simple signage.
  • Use Eventbrite credit card processing for walk-up registrations Even if you usually use PayPal or Google Checkout options, the Eventbrite processing will speed walk-up registrations significantly and eliminate the need for attendees to sign in and out of accounts on a shared computer. The staff asked attendees for a credit card and a business card, then entered the information into an Eventbrite page set up with credit card processing and fees included in the ticket price. Almost everyone was done with the process in just a minute or two.