Find the Best Event Registration Database Software for Your Nonprofit


Hosting events is essential to the operation of most organizations, whether they use them to raise funds or secure, retain, and engage members. To ensure that every event is a success, it is important to invest in tools that optimize all the moving pieces. That is where event registration database software comes in. Nonprofit databases do not just store contact info; they offer fundraising features, automated real-time analytics, and many other opportunities to make event planning both easy and lucrative. 

In this article, we will share which features to look for when purchasing an event registration database, and present some of the best options on the market from trusted software companies. 

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What is Event Registration Database Software?

Event registration database software is a series of interconnected solutions that are designed to take the hassle out of event planning and fundraising for nonprofits. The features and tools available often change according to the needs and budget of the organization. Therefore, choosing the best database software for small nonprofits will be a completely different exercise than choosing one for global organizations. 

Pro Tip: To get a good idea of just what you are looking for in a software platform, have a meeting with your event-planning committee. Create a list of available features for event registration database software, and do a brief cost/benefit analysis for each to decide which are the most essential to your organization. There is no point in paying for tools that you will not use. 


Which Features to Look for in Event Registration Database Software

There are several key features to look for when choosing a database software for your nonprofit organization. Some of these can be classed as "must-haves" and others as "nice-to-haves", but all are tools that can make your events simple to plan, organize, and run. 

Online Payment and Registration Capability

You want to work with a brand that offers a simple and convenient registration and donation process for attendees. Participants should be able to quickly register without creating an account, and only need to input limited data (such as name and contact information). Reducing the amount of steps it takes to sign up or donate increases the likelihood that patrons will complete the process. 

event-registration-database-what-isDavid is ready to jump into event registration databases!

Links to CRM

Of course, although the registration process should be simple for your attendees, you want to make sure that you are getting all of the information you need for reports and analytics. Links to CRM makes connections amongst data shared by patrons who provide information about themselves, so you know better how to serve everyone on the whole. If your organization already has a database built on trusted software, make sure that your registration software can integrate with your existing database. 

Pro Tip: If you do not already have an automated member database (or are not 100% invested in your current solution), it may be a smart move to choose a registration software that has the capacity to build one. Many software brands offer an easy data transfer feature. 

Multiple Options for Giving

As a nonprofit that utilizes fundraising as a means to continue your work, you are already well aware that most donors have a preferred method of giving. The best way to optimize any fundraising campaign is to have software that offers a variety of ways to accept payments, for example credit card, check, cash, and more. 

Thank You Receipts

Kill two birds with one stone (terrible expression, we know) with automated and personalized thank you receipts. This is your first chance to thank your donors and members directly after signing up for an event. It is important to make your supporters feel appreciated throughout the process, and a thank you receipt with their first name is a great way to start. Also, this confirmation should be a clear receipt that they can save for their tax records. 

Mobile Optimization

So many events these days are hosted online, especially those that have to do with fundraising - a few examples include social media campaigns, crowdfunding, P2P, and text-to-give. For most participants, their mobile phone is the medium of choice. If your sites are not optimized for mobile use, it can be difficult for your supporters to participate, and most people are not going to jump through hoops to figure out how to do so. Members and donors should be able to engage easily - and user-friendly software that helps you create mobile-optimized sites can make this a reality. 


One of the easiest ways for your donors to give is through a text-to-give service. It can be run as its own campaign, or as an add on to a larger event like a gala. It is a huge favorite for busy donors. Most text-to-give features follow the same 3 simple steps:

  • Your organization receives a special text-to-give number and keyword that you forward to your supporters.

  • Participants text the keyword to your number to initiate the donation. The number will send back a link to an email confirming the donation.

  • To complete a donation, the giver will send the email. There are a few fields to fill out initially, but any subsequent donation will bypass this step, as the information is already in the system.

Excellent Customization Tools

To engage your donor and/or membership base as well as draw in new supporters, you want your communications, fundraising and membership pages to really shine. Most small nonprofits do not have the funds necessary to hire an internal web designer, so you will want your event registration database to offer excellent customization tools that allow for things like logo branding, as well as templates to help you build visually stunning sites. Charitable contributions database templates can help you learn more about how to style your website in a way that both reflects your nonprofit’s work and draws people into the message you wish to convey.

Social Media and Online Fundraising

So much fundraising now is done online. People are busy, and while live fundraisers are fun, not everyone can make it to in-person events. Be sure that your software has the tools to create and share fundraising pages, including P2P events. Gamification tools can help drive participation as well: this includes things like leaderboards, badges, rankings, and fundraising thermometers. 

Membership events can also be tied to social media. You can directly host livestreams on some of your favorite and most prosperous networking sites, and simply encourage members to get involved with your organization by consistently updating them on upcoming events. Use database software online to not only allow members to register for web-based events, but to host relevant event pages as well.

Ticketing Capability

While this can be classified as a "nice-to-have", if your organization often uses tickets for events, having a streamlined ticketing process can be extremely convenient for your donors and members, as well as useful for tracking purposes for staff. Effective software can send tickets straight to a mobile phone or email address, and then store your donor’s or member’s information to alert your organization for the next event. 


Best Software for Large or Complex Structures: Whova

Large or particularly complex nonprofits require robust software systems to match their kaleidoscope of needs, and will in turn pay quite a large sum to secure it. That is why Whova registration software is used by thousands of nonprofits including The Rockefeller Foundation, TedX, and NASA. Included alumni database software also makes it the chosen company for colleges like Harvard University.

They offer a personalized approach, with a large variety of features built into a platform that works for your nonprofit. This includes in-person events, hybrid events, and online events. There are networking features, gamification, and a matchmaking tool that brings together attendees and their special interests. 

While this management system offers all the bells and whistles, it may not be appropriate for small or midsize nonprofits, as it can get expensive, and offer features that are not necessary. 


Best Budget Software: Eventleaf

Eventleaf offers a management solution for nonprofits that includes a free version for up to 100 attendees. This may be a good option for extremely small nonprofits and beyond, because it allows you to to test the software before you buy it. Their Basic version charges only $1.00 per attendee with no contract, and offers unlimited events and users. 

event-registration-database-best-budget-softwareSalma is looking for a budget-conscious software like Eventleaf!

You also get loads of additional features like event website, event registration, virtual sessions, and invitations and reminders. It is a solid choice for budget software, however if you want analytics, event and check-in app features, you will need to upgrade to the more expensive Professional Plan. 


Best Software for Integrations: Wild Apricot

Personify by Wild Apricot offers robust integrations with their own tools and widgets, as well as to third-party programs. Wild Apricot has a variety of tools available like member directories and events calendars that can be embedded and accessed from other websites. For anyone with an existing WordPress site, Wild Apricot has plug-ins that allow members to log into your site and let you display content from your Wild Apricot site on WordPress. 

Their integration feature - known as Integromat - creates ultimate customization with a drag and drop tool that syncs with close to 1,000 online apps (including Quickbooks, Google apps, and social media giant, Facebook). Sync calendars, third-party websites, and nearly any accounting system into your software operation. 


Best Overall Software: Springly 

Partnered with over 20,000 nonprofits, Springly (that’s us!) is our top overall choice for Event Management Software. Our all-in-one system makes it easy to streamline your event planning, fundraising, member database, and revenue building tools. Created to support small to mid-level organizations, Springly has strong customer service that can walk you through how to integrate and utilize their software to the greatest extent of your nonprofit’s benefit. 

They offer a number of tools to make fundraising simple and easy. When each ticket is purchased, CRM and finances are updated automatically. Your nonprofit can create and publish an event page in minutes, with endless customizations available for a more personalized experience. Real time data analysis allows you to tweak your campaign even as it is happening, and gives you the information you need to keep enhancing your donor and member experience. 

What makes Springly stand out is the number of features you get access to for the price you pay. With several price tiers and reasonable rates, Springly offers a huge menu of features and tools that can be accessed by almost any nonprofit, no matter the size!


Final Thoughts

Adding an event registration component to support your event organizers can greatly reduce the load they carry, and allow them to put their energy toward other more fruitful endeavors. To ensure that you are getting the best software for your organization, really brainstorm the features and benefits you need most. Look for a company that offers strong customer service, a lot of bang for your buck, and any other pros that are highly relevant and customizable to match your organization’s needs, like Springly. Do not forget to read the user reviews and make applicable comparisons between all of your options!

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💡How do I set up an event registration?

With the right software, creating event registration should be easy! Many systems work with your member database and track registration automatically, as well as updating your financial software. Find out more. 

🔑 How do I promote my event registration?

Social media is one of the top promotional tools used today for nonprofit fundraising events. However, email blasts, postcards, flyers, and texts are also great ways to get the word out. Use several channels based on what your donors historically respond to. Find out more. 

📝 How do I create a registration link for an event?

Your software should offer this option. Create your event page, and a link will be generated that you can then post in an an email or text to your supporters. Some may have a feature that make this completely automatic. Find out more.  

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