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Author Archives: Greg Shula

About Greg Shula

Greg has spent a decade analyzing business and marketing performance metrics of the companies he has worked with. He uses his analytical mind and investigative skills to find trends and simple answers from complicated data sets. Greg is also an amateur photographer who loves to capture nature from new perspectives.
  1. Jackrabbit Alternatives to Simplify Class Signup and Management

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    Your theater or music school originally chose Jackrabbit class management software because your friends over at the dance school said it worked for them. Now you’re starting to experience the frustration of: 

    • Features that are unnecessary or just not useful for you, like uniform management and staff time clock.
    • Confusing options that create a repetitive and time-consuming process for completing a task.
    • Labor-intensive waitlists that require a staff member to monitor the dashboard and email students when a seat becomes available. 
    • Fees charged for students who aren’t even enrolled in a class. Jackrabbit charges you for both active and inactive students at the end of each month.

    The truth is that Jackrabbit is designed for dance and gymnastics classes, but even these programs sometimes get frustrated and start looking around for Jackrabbit alternatives. 

    The right class registration and payment software can transform the way you interact with your students and their parents. The best ones include all of the features you need, streamlined processes, and a clear fee structure that doesn’t charge you for registrations you’re not getting.

    Here are five Jackrabbit alternatives that might be a better fit for your students, their parents, and your program as a whole.

    Jackrabbit Class Alternatives: 

    1. CourseStorm
    2. Sawyer
    3. RegFox
    4. Regpack
    5. Jotform

    Ready to try a Jackrabbit alternative that simplifies class registration and fits nonprofit budgets? Start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

    A screenshot of CourseStorm's homepage. A hand is using a laptop to register for a class through CourseStorm's platform. Test includes Impossibly simple class registration software. Save time. Enroll more students. Perfect whether you offer classes in-person or online.

    #1 – CourseStorm

    Coursestorm is the simple class registration software that automates tedious administrative tasks so you can focus on giving your students the best possible class experience. 

    Built for nonprofit and arts organizations, CourseStorm includes everything you need and nothing you don’t. 

    We make it easy for parents to register their children and themselves in your classes, while never charging you for students who aren’t actually enrolled. 

    Here’s why arts organizations, music schools, and theaters are choosing CourseStorm.

    Marketing, Catalog, and Checkout Features You’ll Actually Use

    Uniform management might be handy if you’re putting on multiple dance recitals a year, but for the rest of us it’s a useless feature that just clutters up the software. You’re looking for the features that will be most valuable to you and your program, features like auto marketing, a class catalog website, and cart-based checkout.

    At CourseStorm, we’ve included all of the core features you need to market your classes and register students. Auto marketing emails make sure students and parents know about upcoming classes that may be of interest to them. Then course catalogs and cart checkout make registration seamless.

    Picture this, a parent opens their email to find a message from you telling them about your upcoming summer theater session. They’re excited because their kids took a theater class with you over April vacation and absolutely loved it.

    They click through and find your course catalog. They add the class to their cart, but figure they might as well explore your course catalog a bit more, since they’re already there. That’s how they discover that you’re also offering an adult improv class. They’ve always wanted to try improv, but never found the right time. 

    They add the improv class to cart and check out in one seamless checkout process. Just like that, you have two sign-ups for upcoming classes, all because you had the right features in place. 

    Screenshot of CourseStorm's family registration feature that allows you to register multiple kids at once

    Edit All Your Forms From One Easy-to-Access Menu

    Class registration should be easy and intuitive. Too many steps or irrelevant questions, and registrants won’t bother to finish the process. But ease for the customer shouldn’t come at the expense of frustration for you and your team. 

    You should be able to easily customize registration forms, move students between classes, and even issue refunds if you need to. With CourseStorm, you can do all that and more, without digging through dozens of menus or being a technical guru. 

    Take our registration forms for example. They’re fully customizable and easy to change. You can make global changes that affect all registration forms by clicking “for all classes.” If you need to change the form for a group of classes you can choose “specific classes” or you can edit one form at a time for maximum customization.

    No more sifting through a huge list of options to find the one or two questions you need to ask. Just type the question, choose what type of answer you expect, and view a preview of the result. It’s that simple. 

    Screenshot of how to customize registration forms in CourseStorm: "Do you have any food allergies?"

    Automated Waitlists That Keep Your Classes Full Without Extra Effort

    You shouldn’t have to stare at your course management dashboard all day to notice when a spot becomes available in a waitlisted class. And you shouldn’t have to waste time calling or emailing potential students until you find one able to fill the seat. 

    In fact, you shouldn’t have to directly manage your waitlists at all. With CourseStorm, advanced Waitlist management ensures that your classes stay full without any extra effort from you. When a spot opens up, the software automatically notifies people on the waitlist. There are no buttons to push, no emails to send, and no notifications to monitor. It all just happens. 

    Sometimes it’s a busy Monday, when you have meetings to attend and work to do and you don’t open your course management dashboard all day. With CourseStorm, you won’t come in on Tuesday morning to find a notification waiting letting you know that a seat for a class has been open since yesterday. Instead, you’ll see that a student canceled and another took their place, all without any action from you. 

    Screenshot showing how to perform waitlist actions in CourseStorm

    Clear and Transparent Pricing Tied to Actual Enrollment

    Jackrabbit says they charge based on the number of students, but the truth is a little more complicated. Actually, they charge by family whether or not all members of that family are actually enrolled in a class. That means that if Luis, Isabella, and Sofia all sign up for violin lessons, but Isabella and Sofia pause their practice in the fall because they’d rather play intramural soccer, you’re still paying a monthly fee for all three potential students. 

    Not at CourseStorm. At CourseStorm you’re only responsible for the students who actually sign up for any given class. If Sofia doesn’t sign up, you won’t pay for her. 

    Her parents can still register her anytime using the information stored in their group account. So it’s still easy for her to start up lessons again in the winter. But your overall cost goes down when she’s not enrolled. 

    Experience the ease and simplicity of CourseStorm class registration and payment software. Start your free trial now.

    #2  – Sawyer

    Sawyer is a common Jackrabbit alternative because it is also focused on kids’ classes. They’re model is a little different. In addition to listing classes on your own website, you can also list directly on theirs. That’s great for visibility, but does pit you head-to-head against other programs in your area. 

    Like some other options, their pricing seems straightforward, but gets complicated when you look closer. Your monthly fee does not include the marketplace fee charged for signups that come through the Sawyer website. Those registrations can incur a fee of up to 30% of the registration price. Custom forms and waitlists are also premium options that require a higher monthly subscription fee. 

    Features and functions:

    • Robust marketplace
    • Focused on kids’ classes
    • Easy to use

    #3  – RegFox

    If you offer classes for both kids and adults, you might consider RegFox. This event registration software was designed for conference registration management, but also offers services for classes and camps. As a result, their features are well-targeted to even planners, but may miss the mark for some course providers. 

    They offer support for merchandise and product sales, social incentives, and editing and upgrading of existing orders. So, by all means, if you’re putting on a conference, choose RegFox. For arts and education programs offering classes, you might want a different solution.

    Features and functions:

    • Event focused
    • Merchandise and product sales
    • Social incentives for registration

    #4 – Regpack

    Regpack is another option designed for a different audience that has made its way into course registration. Initially focused on billing automation, Regpack offers tons of features related to payments and billing. They’re a good fit for subscription-based programs, where students pay a monthly fee for unlimited drop-in classes. 

    The main concern on customer review sites seems to be the customer support. Users complain that they can’t get the help they need and that the response time is slow. If you’re already a technical expert, that might not be a problem. 

    Features and functions:

    • Automatic course billing
    • Discounts and variable pricing for learners
    • Centralized registration database 

    #5 – Jotform

    Programs looking to simplify their registration system sometimes turn to Jotform. It’s a good solution for making fillable online documents that can take payments. However, it lacks the features that make registration and marketing seamless. 

    You can’t email all of the students in a specific class, manage waiting lists, or automate marketing. Registrants can’t update or change submitted information and there are no group or family profiles. Jotform is form customization software, but class registration is about so much more than a form.

    Features and functions:

    • Form building and customization
    • Simple interface
    • Integrates with third-party payment processing

    Test Your Jackrabbit Alternative

    We hope that this list has given you the information you need to start exploring Jackrabbit alternatives. The best way to tell if a solution is right for your program is to give it a test drive. If you’re ready to see the difference for yourself, start your free trial of CourseStorm today. 

  2. Should You Use AI to Write Your Course Descriptions?

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    With generative artificial intelligence making headlines all over the place, some education directors and their teams are wondering whether they should use AI to write course descriptions. After all, course description writing can be time consuming, especially for those who are not confident writers or have heavy workloads and limited time to be creative. 

    Does AI really save you time writing course descriptions, or are you better off looking for other ways to streamline your processes?

    This question of whether to use AI to write course descriptions is not an easy one to answer. It comes down to your goals, level of comfort with the technology, and ethical stance on generative AI tools. Plus, it’s worth considering whether AI really saves you time, or whether you’re better off looking for other ways to streamline your processes. Since we’ve heard this question several times from CourseStorm customers and the internet at large, let’s discuss it. 

    Can an AI Writing Tool Create Course Descriptions?

    The answer to this question is theoretically yes. AI tools will attempt to write pretty much anything you ask for. Whether they do a good job of it is another story.

    Every course description shares a few common goals: 

    • Get students excited about the class
    • Inform them about benefits and outcomes
    • Tell them where and how to register

    A quality course description does all of this in a couple of hundred words. It uses words and ideas that will resonate with the intended audience and convince them to take action. This is the standard AI writing tools have to meet.

    We tested two web-based, free generative AI tools: ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. These are the most easily accessible options for nonprofits and small businesses. There are dozens of other tools out there, but many involve monthly subscription fees or desktop downloads. 

    The user experience for these sites is pretty simple. You visit the site, sign in, and enter your prompt into the chat box. A prompt is the question or request you’d like the technology to answer.

    The prompt: Write a class description for an adult improv class that includes “yes, and” improvisation, finding agreement, scene building, and team collaboration.

    ChatGPT: First Attempt

    The first result ChatGPT spit out was almost 400 words long, so we won’t reproduce the whole thing here. The opening line was: “Welcome to our Adult Improv Class where creativity thrives, laughter echoes, and spontaneity reigns supreme!” Which sounds more like the opening line of a game show than the start of a class description. 

    Second Attempt, ChatGPT

    One of the interesting things about ChatGPT is that you can ask it to try again and get an instant rewrite. Asking for something a little shorter gave us a much more manageable 95-word result. 

    Welcome to our Adult Improv Class! Dive into the exciting world of improvisational theater with a focus on “Yes, And” improvisation, finding agreement, scene building, and team collaboration.

    In this class, you’ll:

    • Learn the “Yes, And” principle: Embrace spontaneity and build upon your scene partner’s ideas.
    • Develop agreement skills: Enhance your ability to listen and create cohesive scenes.
    • Master scene building: Discover the essentials of crafting engaging narratives on the spot.
    • Foster team collaboration: Work together to create memorable comedic moments.

    Join us for a fun and rewarding journey into the heart of improv comedy!

    Missing Important Details

    This actually isn’t a terrible result. It seems to be factually accurate and looks like a course description. However, it lacks some of the essential information we’d like to see: 

    • An opening that hooks the reader
    • What students will gain from taking the course
    • A call to action

    The opening: “Welcome to our Adult Improv Class!” is just fluff. It doesn’t tell the reader anything. The second sentence isn’t much better, it simply lists the four skills covered in the class. It’s then followed by … a list of the four skills covered in the class. Neither of these lists get to the real benefits of the class. 

    The last sentence is trying hard to be exciting, but is also almost meaningless. What exactly is the “heart of improv comedy” and why should an adult want to discover it? 

    The longer-form ending was slightly better: 

    Whether you’re looking to boost your confidence, sharpen your comedic timing, or simply unleash your inner creativity, our Adult Improv Class offers a fun and rewarding journey into the heart of improvisational theater. Join us and embark on an unforgettable adventure where laughter knows no bounds and every moment is an opportunity to shine!

    While it produced a factually accurate result, there were lots of meaningless words. We give ChatGPT a C+ in course description writing.

    At least this version offers readers the outcome they can expect from the class: boost confidence, sharpen comedic timing, or unleash inner creativity. It’s still surrounded by a lot of meaningless words added simply to build excitement.

    Overall, we give ChatGPT a C+ in class description writing.

    Google Gemini: First Attempt

    Google Gemini is another free-to-use AI writing tool that many organizations have experimented with. The same prompt on Gemini gives a more promising result. It delivered about 200 words in a reasonable format. It certainly looks like a course description. 

    Unleash Your Inner Comic with Adult Improv!

    Have you always wanted to try improv comedy but felt too intimidated? Our adult improv class is the perfect place to start! In a supportive and fun environment, you’ll learn the fundamentals of improvisation, including:

    • The Power of “Yes, And” – The core tenet of improv is to agree with and build upon your scene partner’s ideas. We’ll explore how “yes, and” can help you create spontaneous, hilarious scenes.
    • Finding Agreement – Improv is all about creating a world together as a team. You’ll learn how to listen to your scene partners and find common ground to build upon.
    • Scene Building Techniques – We’ll teach you the building blocks of improv scenes, from creating characters to developing storylines.
    • Team Collaboration – Improv is a team sport! You’ll learn how to work together with your classmates to create scenes that are both funny and engaging.

    Benefits of Taking the Class

    In addition to being a lot of fun, improv offers a number of benefits, including:

    • Boosted confidence and public speaking skills
    • Enhanced creativity and thinking on your feet
    • Improved listening and communication skills
    • Stronger teamwork and collaboration skills

    Ready to Get Started?

    Sign up for our next adult improv class today! You’ll be amazed at how much you learn and laugh.

    Better Results, Subtle Issues

    This is a much better description right out of the box. It starts by speaking to one of the reasons people may be reluctant to sign up. Then it includes the skills actors will learn, defining terms that may not be immediately understandable to a novice audience. Finally, it lists the benefits of the class, which are essential points to convince adults that a class is worth taking.

    A closer read reveals some potential problems as well. The first line mentions that the reader might be intimidated, but the rest of the description doesn’t do much to overcome that objection. The phrase “supportive and fun environment” is inching closer, but it’s not going to convince a shy person to take action. 

    Then we get to those definitions and descriptions, and it turns out some of them may be missing the mark. The description on finding agreement includes the phrase “find common ground to build upon,” which feels more like a conflict resolution meeting rather than something that happens on an improv set. 

    Second Attempt, Google Gemini

    Unlike ChatGPT, Google Gemini does not offer a regeneration option. If you re-input the same prompt, you do get a different result. That result was clearly weaker than the previous one. It includes phrases like “Improv isn’t just about guffaws” and “springboard to hilarious spontaneity.” In fact, variations of the word “hilarious” appear four times in less than 300 words. 

    Pros and Cons: Using AI to Write Course Descriptions

    We can’t tell you whether you should use AI to write class descriptions. All we can do is present the pros and cons of using this technology.

    Why Use AI to Write Course Descriptions: 

    • It’s fast
    • You don’t have to be a skilled writer

    Drawbacks to Using AI to Write Course Descriptions: 

    • Results can be either bland or overly cutesy
    • You may need to spend more time editing and refining
    • Ethical concerns
    • Lacks your unique brand voice

    That last point is especially important. Learners have options. They can take classes online, travel to a different location, or simply stay at home and watch clips of “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

    Your brand’s unique voice and personality is part of what encourages learners to register. A human writer can draw on their own experience of learning. They may know what it’s like to live in your community or region and write from that perspective. 

    Just for fun, we asked Gemini to generate a class description suitable for a Midwestern audience. The results were … questionable. Let’s just say it opened with the line: Ever feel like you’re the life of the county fair but clam up in the city lights?  The “yes, and” approach was described as “like passin’ the gravy.” 

    Using AI for writing may alienate some potential students, since many artists and writers have strong objections to AI technology. 

    Generative AI programs may be able to write passable text, but they’re still missing a lot of the nuance that human writers bring. They also pose an ethical dilemma, especially for creative arts organizations. Using AI for writing may alienate some potential students, since many artists and writers have strong objections to generative AI technology. 

    How to Use AI to Write Course Descriptions

    If you do want to experiment with using AI to write course descriptions, get the best results with these best practices: 

    • Learn the technology. Writing a good prompt can go a long way. Learn how the technology works and how to write a prompt that delivers the results you want.

    • Edit before you post. Read the output carefully and edit where necessary. You should never copy and paste AI output directly into your class catalog. 

    • Double-check for the basic elements of a class description: These include a hook, benefits, and call to action. As we saw, many AI tools miss at least one of these.

    If you’d rather write your own course description from scratch, these examples and templates will help get you started

    Better Ways to Save Time

    We at CourseStorm are not averse to using AI to save time and solve problems — in fact, we are developing a new AI-powered feature that will simplify running reports on your education program.

    In fact, every feature of CourseStorm’s online registration software is designed to save time and reduce the administrative burden on your staff while improving students’ experience at the same time. It’s simple, intuitive, and easy to set up and use, even if you’re not especially tech-savvy.

    An arts education director who tried it told us, “I opened CourseStorm and built a class in 3 minutes!” But don’t take our word for it. Sign up for a free trial today and find out for yourself!

  3. 4 Eventbrite Alternatives for Class Registration and Payments

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    Nonprofit arts organizations sometimes default to using Eventbrite for class registration because they’ve tried it for special events and it worked out okay. But pretty soon they start looking for Eventbrite alternatives, because they’re tired of using a tool that isn’t designed with classes in mind.

    Class registration requires different features than buying a ticket for an event, such as group registrations, waitlist management, and easily issuing transfers and refunds. 

    In over a decade helping nonprofit arts organizations register learners for classes, we’ve noticed some patterns in what they need from class registration and payment software. They all have to:

    1. Handle group or family registrations

    Arts organizations benefit when multiple learners sign up together. Registration systems should have built-in tools so groups of friends can sign up together and it’s easy for parents to enroll multiple kids.

    2. Communicate with students directly

    Registration programs designed for large-scale events rarely include tools that allow you to easily communicate with specific groups of registrants. Quality class registration software lets you email the learners in each class so you can provide information about their upcoming sessions.

    3. Manage changes in response to student needs

    Some registration programs are fine at taking registrations, but create confusion when plans change. Transferring students between classes or issuing refunds should be simple. Great class registration software lets you manage students’ personal, payment, and registration information securely and without calling tech support.

    4. Create and manage waitlists

    Waitlists are common for kids art camps and classes. In fact, 15% of arts classes offered by CourseStorm customers have a waitlist, double the average for all classes. Features like automatic waitlist opt-ins and notifications when a spot opens up can make it easier to fill every class, every time.

    Looking for Eventbrite Alternatives for Your Classes?

    To take back control of their classes, arts and education programs should look for software designed for class registration. They seek out solutions that let students and instructors easily communicate and manage registrations. The right class registration and payment software offers all the features they need without complicating the process.

    We’ll explore four Eventbrite alternatives to help you find the right class registration and payment processing solution for your program.

    If you’d rather see for yourself what all the fuss is about, start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

    4 Eventbrite Alternatives:

    1. CourseStorm
    2. Jotform
    3. Sawyer
    4. Regpack

    1. CourseStorm

    Advantage #1 – Adding Friends and Family Is as Easy as Typing Their Name

    Group registrations are an easy way to multiply your class registrations. If everyone who registers brings a friend, you can fill a class with half the work. But you could miss out on this benefit if your registration system makes it difficult to register multiple people at once.

    With CourseStorm, whoever is doing the registering just starts the registration as usual. Then they click +Add Person. If the registrant needs to enter a different phone, email, or address for their guest, they can. But it’s not required. The system automatically selects “use my info when contacting registrant.”

    No more double-entering info, no more frustration. That adds up to more registrations and happier learners for your program. Oh, and after a parent signs up their child for one class, the child’s information will be tied to their account. Next time they need to sign up multiple children, all they have to do is click the child’s name.

    Screenshot of CourseStorm's family registration feature that allows you to register multiple kids at once

    Imagine a parent wants to sign up all three of their kids for your Intro to Set Design class. They shouldn’t have to enter their mailing address three times. Because you use CourseStorm, they can just enter the name and age of each child, and they’re done. It might just be the easiest thing a busy parent does all day.

    Advantage #2 – Instructors Can Email Their Entire Student Roster to Keep Learners Informed

    Learner engagement starts long before the first class session. Instructors may need to cancel a class, change the venue, or remind students to bring specific supplies. Whatever the reason, it should be easy for both instructors and administrators to email everyone who has signed up for a specific class. Too bad some registration software providers don’t see it that way.

    With CourseStorm, instructors can communicate with students one-on-one or as a group through email. All the instructor has to do is log in, view their roster, and click the “send email” button. From there, they can email all of the students currently registered in their class.

    And after the class is over, learners can receive automated marketing emails anytime you offer a class they might be interested in. That means your most loyal learners are the first to hear about upcoming classes. CourseStorm customers who use automated marketing emails attribute 14% of enrollments to this feature alone!

    Screenshot of student roster in CourseStorm

    Imagine an unseasonable snow storm is being forecasted for the weekend your class is scheduled. Rather than fielding dozens of phone calls asking whether the class is still happening, you can simply email all of the affected students with a clear plan of action. That leaves you plenty of time to get to the store to pick up some ice melt for the walkway, just in case.

    Advantage #3 – Manage and Adjust Registrant Information Without Calling Technical Support

    Life happens, and sometimes that means plans change. It shouldn’t take a computer scientist to make simple changes to class registrations. With CourseStorm, you can cancel classes, issue refunds, and transfer students between classes with just a click or two.

    All you have to do is open the Registrations screen. Click the learner’s name and their profile will appear. The action button in the top right offers you the option to issue a refund, transfer the student, or cancel and refund the class.

    Screenshot showing how to Cancel, Change, or Issue a Refund for a student registration in CourseStorm

    That comes in handy when your student is registered for a drawing class that meets Tuesdays at 6:00 pm, but then finds out her work schedule has changed and she has to stay late for weekly meetings on that day. All she has to do is email you and you can click the button in her account to transfer her to the Wednesday class.

    Advantage #4 – Automate Waitlist Management to Fill Your Classes Without Overwhelming Admin

    A waitlist is a wonderful thing. It means that people are so interested in your class, they’re willing to wait to get in. But managing a waitlist can be a pain. You shouldn’t have to select specific people or make a special effort to sign in just to release spots.

    With CourseStorm, waitlists are automated. When a spot opens up, people on the waiting list for that class immediately get an email letting them know it’s time to register. There’s nothing for you to manage and no reason to give it a second thought. Your classes stay full on their own.

    Automatic waitlist management takes one more thing off your plate when it’s April vacation and you’re offering half-a-dozen activities that have garnered massive interest. Hopeful registrants won’t have to wait for you to find time to release open seats. And you can stay focused on preparing for those classes rather than juggling admin.

    By the way, if you often have waitlists for your classes, that might be a sign to either raise your prices or offer more sessions. Either way, you’ll know that the registration process is covered with CourseStorm.

    Experience how simple class registration and payment processing can be. Start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

    Screenshot showing how to perform waitlist actions in CourseStorm

    2. Jotform

    Since every class needs a registration form, it might seem like Jotform is a good solution. After all, it has “form” right in the name. And it’s true, Jotform is good at making fillable online documents and taking payments. But class registration takes more than a form.

    Sure, you can collect information. What happens next is the problem. It’s not easy to email every student who signed up for a particular class, and learners can’t update or change information that has been submitted. If you need to issue a refund, you’ll have to work with the third-party payment processor. All that can add hassle and complexity to what should be a simple process.

    Features and functions:

    • Form building and customization
    • Integrates with third-party payment processing
    • Autoresponder emails

    3. Sawyer

    If you’re running exclusively kids classes, you might consider using Sawyer. Their platform is designed for kids classes and camps. It even includes a proprietary marketplace where you can list your classes and events.

    Listing on their platform might give your classes wider exposure, but it also pits them against other similar classes both online and in your area. You’ll pay up to a 30% registration fee for registrations that come in through their marketplace. That means you either have to mark up your classes, making them less accessible, or take the hit to your income, which many nonprofits can’t afford because budgets are already tight.

    Features and functions:

    • Built for kids classes and camps
    • Proprietary class marketplace
    • Family or group registrations

    4. Regpack

    Regpack definitely has some class-focused features, but it was designed for billing automation. As a result, many of the tools and features focus on the billing aspect of registration. This makes them a good solution for subscription or membership based programs, but less ideal for general class registration.

    The good news is that they do have built-in email communication tools so you can contact specific groups of students. They also point out that this lets you automate payment reminders. All-in-all, if making and tracking money is your goal, Regpack is a good fit. If you’re more focused making it easy to register for and attend classes, you might want a different Eventbrite alternative.

    Features and functions:

    • Payment plans
    • Group registrations
    • Automated recurring billing

    Classes Are Not Events: Find a Better Solution for Your Registration Needs

    We hope you’ve found the right Eventbrite alternative to meet your needs and keep your learners engaged. The right solution doesn’t just take registrations, it also lets you communicate with students and manage their accounts easily. To see this kind of ease in action, start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

  4. The Best Summer Camp Registration Software for Online Sign-Ups

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    When summer camp registration season hits, you have to be ready. The torrent of forms, payments, and questions can leave your team floundering.

    Camp directors start looking for summer camp registration software when they get tired of:

    • Complex registration systems that confuse parents and frustrate staff members.
    • Wasting time chasing down payments or missing forms.
    • Manually managing changes to registrations, cancellations, and payment plans.
    • Paying monthly subscription fees for a program they only use a few months of the year.

    With the right summer camp registration software, you can ride the registration wave. Parents can register online with a self-service tool that liberates staff from the administrative burden. Say goodbye to frustrated parents, frantic last-minute calls, and lines wrapping around the block.

    Finding the Best Summer Camp Registration Software

    Here’s a look at 5 summer camp online registration software options so you can find the best summer camp registration software for your campers, parents, and staff.

    Registration Options Compared:

    If you need a camp registration software that can simplify the process and make changes easier, start your free trial of CourseStorm now.


    CourseStorm is an impossibly simple class and camp registration software that’s flexible enough to meet unique program needs. Whether your camp is a supplement to the classes you run all year round, or a seasonal event that happens once a year, we have the tools you need to register campers while keeping parents and staff happy.

    Key Feature 1 – Registration and Payment Software in One Simple Package

    Paper forms, call-to-register, and parent walk-ins just don’t meet your needs anymore. If you’ve ever had to hire temporary staff or deal with phones ringing off the hook, it’s time for a better solution. Maybe you’ve tried using Google Forms and a third-party payment service, resulting in missed payments and mismatched records. Your staff and parents deserve better.

    With CourseStorm, you get a seamless all-in-one registration and payment solution. Parents can click a button to register and pay without ever leaving your course catalog. If they want to register multiple children, they can do that all in the same transaction.

    Payment plans are also built in. Parents can opt in to have funds automatically deducted from their account on pre-set dates. Suddenly, camp is more accessible and your staff is free to focus on campers rather than credit cards.

    Picture this: the registration window opens for your summer arts camp. Within minutes, your program is completely sold out and you have a waiting list. That might sound like a fantasy, but it’s a real experience from a CourseStorm customer. Within days, those payments are in their account and ready to be invested back into the camp.

    Key Feature 2 – Collect the Exact Information You Need Without Frustrating Customers With Unnecessary Requests

    Parents have enough on their plate without filling out unnecessary information on a one-size-fits all form. Make that the norm, and you’ll end up with frustrated parents and duplicate information to sort through.

    CourseStorm offers fully customizable registration forms that let you collect exactly the information you need and nothing more. Add links to your privacy policy and get parental consent with the click of a check-box. All of the information is securely stored in the user profile so they can easily update, change, or manage their registrations.

    If you’re offering both day camp and overnight camp, you’ll need additional information from your overnight campers. You might want to share a unique supply list or get consent for special programs and events. With CourseStorm you can easily build custom forms for each audience including all of the sign-offs and information sharing you need — and nothing you don’t!

    Key Feature 3 – Effortlessly Manage Changes and Additions Online

    Some camp registration software makes you dig through complex menus or even call customer service to change a reservation or issue a refund. At CourseStorm we believe your program and registrants should have full control over the process. You can manage registration changes, refunds, or even move campers between programs with just a few clicks.

    According to our 2024 State of the Arts Report about 15% of kids’ arts camps and classes have waiting lists. If you’re one of them, parents on the waitlist will be automatically notified when a spot becomes available for their child. Take back control of your registrations with CourseStorm.

    Just imagine it’s two days before the start of your Shakespeare in the park summer acting camp, when the weather stations start warning of a hurricane coming your way. You’re going to have to contact the families of 40 kids to let them know that camp is canceled. It’s not ideal, but you don’t have to panic because you have CourseStorm.

    With just a few clicks you can email everyone and offer a refund or transfer to another session. Everyone knows exactly what’s going on, and you can focus on preparing for the storm instead of fielding phone calls.

    Key Feature 4 – Affordable Software That Flexes to Fit Your Budget

    Summer camp season is short, but some software providers make you pay for your summer camp online registration software all year long. That doesn’t make sense to us. At CourseStorm, you only pay for the students you actually enroll. There are no contracts and no monthly fees. Just simple, transparent pricing that flexes with your registration levels.

    Maybe your museum-based arts education program only offers classes a few times a year. Summer camp is your biggest draw, but you also offer some sessions during spring break and in the lead-up to the holidays. CourseStorm will get a percentage of the registration fees you collect, but in the off months, you won’t owe us anything.

    If you’re ready to try the best summer camp registration software for arts and community education programs, you’re ready to try CourseStorm. Sign up for your free trial today.

    Screenshot of CourseStorm's pricing plans as of March 2024: Core, Pro & All Access


    Sawyer is built for kids camps and classes, which they list directly in the “marketplace” on their website. Registrations through those listings incur a 30% marketplace fee, which gets smaller as you upgrade your plan. You’ll also pay a monthly flat fee in addition to that marketplace charge.

    That price tag comes with some useful features. You can take registrations directly on your site, offer discounts, and integrate with Constant Contact or Mailchimp for marketing.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Marketplace listings
    • Family profiles and group registration
    • Standard add-ons like early drop-off and late pickup
    • Weekly secure payouts


    RegFox is event registration software that also offers some functionality for camps. You can set up merchandise and product sale add-ons, which is great if you have tee shirts or other camp swag to sell. Other tools, like badge printing, are more useful for adult events.

    They do offer capability for onsite payments, design customization tools, and plenty of 3rd party integrations. Services like email marketing automation and text messaging come with an extra monthly fee attached.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Check-in App
    • Social media plug-ins
    • Collect donations from your registration page
    • Lots of page design options


    Another kid-focused registration software, JackRabbit is designed for gymnastics, dance, swim, cheer, and music programs. This is a great solution for youth activity centers that already use it for their year-round classes.

    They offer a parent portal that lets parents track their child’s skill development and access account details. Parents can even watch classes with live streaming.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Student skill tracking
    • Staff time clock
    • Uniform and performance management
    • Integrated point of sale system


    Originally designed for billing automation, Regpack has some useful tools for managing payments. They’re a great fit for subscription-based programs, but may be unwieldy for seasonal camps or day camps.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Customizable registration forms
    • Payment plans
    • Campers can reserve spots without paying
    • Group registration

    When’s the Best Time to Choose Summer Camp Registration Software?

    Our SOAR report revealed that students register an average of 71 days before summer arts camps or classes, so you can’t put this off.  It’s time to pick the best summer camp registration software for your program. If you need a little more help deciding, start your free trial of CourseStorm today and test drive our camp registration software for yourself.

  5. 5 Regpack Alternatives to Help You Manage Class Registration

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    What makes Regpack users look for an alternative solution? Often it’s because they’re tired of using a tool that isn’t designed specifically for education programs, students, and instructors. They struggle with:

    • Poor-fit features that don’t quite meet their needs and require extra labor.
    • Time wasted doing marketing tasks that should be automated.
    • Lost data because their registration system doesn’t integrate with other services they use.

    To save time and frustration, education directors should look for software designed specifically for class registration. A solution is the right fit if it has the specific features instructors, students, and education programs need. This includes things like student rosters, automated marketing tools, and easy integration with the software you already use.

    We’ll help you fit your best-fit class registration solution by investigating 5 Regpack alternatives.

    5 Regpack Alternatives Worth Exploring

    We’ll walk you through all of these options, but if you’d rather try a Regpack alternative for yourself, start your free trial of CourseStorm today.


    CourseStorm is a class registration software designed specifically for education programs. We’ve built in all the features nonprofit arts and culture and community education programs need to deliver a seamless class registration and payment process to their learners.

    Benefit #1 – Tools Learners and Instructors Need to Succeed

    Class registration is special. You have to meet the expectations of both learners and instructors while also getting the information your organization needs. Regpack tries to manage registrations for group travel, conferences, and classes all through the same software. As a result, it’s lacking some essential tools.

    CourseStorm’s class registration software includes student accounts, where your learners (or their parents) can easily manage their registration and payment information. Instructors also get special treatment. They can easily see who is registered and communicate with all the students in their class through integrated email tools.

    Imagine an instructor for an ongoing life drawing class wants to remind students to bring a photo of a pet to their next class. With CourseStorm, they can easily draft and send an email that goes out to all of the students signed up for that class.

    Benefit #2 – Automated Class Marketing Connects Learners With Their New Favorite Class

    Successful education programs don’t just sell individual classes, they build ongoing relationships with students. Regpack gives you transactional emails, but that’s not enough to maintain a long-term relationship.

    CourseStorm’s automated personalized class marketing emails keep students engaged by automatically notifying them of classes they might like. It also lets them know if a class is in danger of cancellation due to low enrollment and can send automatic SMS reminders about upcoming classes.

    A student who enrolled in last month’s Intro to Beadwork class might also be interested in your upcoming Beaded Earrings course. CourseStorm will automatically email them to let them know about that and any other classes they might find interesting without you having to lift a finger.

    Arts programs that use CourseStorm’s automated emails to send students personalized class recommendations attribute 14% of enrollments to this feature alone.

    Benefit #3 – Easy Integration With Other Tools You Use Everyday

    Much as we’d love to have one software solution to rule them all, the truth is that most education programs need multiple tools to keep things running. You need to be able to transfer data between various tools, something Regpack does not do easily.

    CourseStorm integrates with many of the software solutions you already use and depend on. Get WordPress plugins, use our calendar feed, or access thousands of app integrations through Zapier. Because we’re designed with nonprofit programs in mind, we also integrate with PatronManager and Little Green Light. All of these integrations help your data flow smoothly between software tools, so it’s always exactly where you need it.

    Integrations that work with CourseStorm's software.

    How do integrations help you? Here are a few examples: If you’re running the education program for a theater company, you might use PatronManager for ticketing and fundraising, Google Calendar to schedule classes and events, and Wordpress to run your website. CourseStorm integrates with all of these and thousands of other apps so you never have to waste time manually reentering data.

    Explore a Regpack alternative that offers all of this and more. Start your free trial of CourseStorm today and experience the difference for yourself.


    Sawyer is a kid-focused solution designed for camps, classes, and events. They offer an embed option so you can include class listings on your website, but their core offering is a class listing on the Sawyer site.

    This pits your classes head-to-head against others in your area. Parents can easily see and compare classes from multiple education programs. If you opt for their basic plan, you’ll pay a marketplace fee of 30% per registration.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Class marketplace on their website
    • Group registration and family profiles
    • Basic reporting

    Modern Campus

    Modern Campus offers an enterprise-level solution with a price tag to match. Their focus is firmly on higher education. This makes it a great solution for colleges and universities offering non-degree programs, but a bit costly for the rest of us.

    Designed for “non-traditional student management,” this platform helps you manage student schedules, marketing, reporting, finance, curriculum and credentialing. It’s ideal for campus-based education programs and the students that enroll in them.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Campus maps and virtual tours
    • Non-traditional student management
    • Digital credentials to share with employers


    Jackrabbit focuses on schools or youth activity centers that offer gymnastics, dance, swim, cheer, or music programs. Their features are tailored for these types of programs and students.

    A front desk point-of-sale system helps with merch selling. Skills-tracking features allow instructors to share student progress with parents, and the built-in timeclock helps administrators track instructor work hours.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Built-in costume and recital management
    • Staff time clock
    • Skills tracking through parent portal


    RegFox is well-suited to event registration, but may be a less attractive option for class registration. Their event page builder is ideal if you’re doing a few high-volume events a year. You can spend the time you need to build out an inviting event page.

    On-site check-in tools, support for merchandise and product upselling, and email-drip campaigns are all valuable for yearly events that draw big audiences. This software might be an ideal alternative to Eventbrite or Cvent, but doesn’t have everything students and instructors need.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Attendee management
    • Real-time event analytics
    • Up-selling and merchandise add-ons

    The Regpack Alternative You’ve Been Searching For

    By now, we hope you’ve found the Regpack alternative you’ve been looking for. If you’re still on the fence, maybe some experiential learning can help you decide. Start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

  6. Choose the Best Registration Software – 5 Options Compared

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    Education directors at nonprofits usually turn to class registration management software because they’re:

    • Ready to move away from manual payments and inefficient registration systems
    • Seeking time savings and want an efficient system to promote classes
    • Looking for a streamlined process for canceling classes and issuing refunds
    • Under pressure to provide better reporting and proof of impact

    Registration software saves time and reduces errors by allowing attendees or students to directly input their information. The best registration software systems also allow you to create reports and sync registrant data with other software including email, donor management, and event ticketing tools.

    How to Find the Best Registration Software for Your Organization

    We’ve compared 5 of the best registration software solutions. Our goal is to help you find the one that fits your needs. From adult education to kids camps and activities, we’ll walk you through the available options and show you where each one shines.

    If you’d rather skip the list and try a solution for yourself, start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

    Options Compared:

    CourseStorm: Best Registration Software for Classes

    CourseStorm is the impossibly simple class registration software designed to help community education and arts and culture programs save time and enroll more students. CourseStorm’s cloud-based platform is the best class registration software for programs offering education to kids and adults.

    Key Feature 1 – Students register and pay seamlessly and securely online

    Some registration systems aren’t really systems at all. They cobble together multiple tools to gather information, share policies, and take payments. This results in lost information, frustrated students, and extra work for your team.

    CourseStorm streamlines the registration and payment process into a single mobile-friendly system with secure payment processing. Your students can register and pay quickly from wherever they happen to be. Meanwhile, your team can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time delivering the services and programs your patrons love.

    Key Feature 2 – Collect the exact information you need from students

    Some registration systems use the same form for every course. This leads to issues like adults having to answer questions about their age, when that’s really only relevant for kids classes. When you ask the right questions, you get the information you need and avoid frustrating registrants.

    CourseStorm’s custom registration forms make your process more efficient. You get the information you need and students get a quick and painless registration process. They type their information once and answer only the most pressing and relevant questions.

    For instance, if you’re running a kids’ class you will want to get emergency contact information for each student. You can easily customize the registration form in CourseStorm to collect this at the same time parents or caregivers register their child.

    Key Feature 3 – Easily cancel, change, or refund payments for classes

    Nobody likes canceling classes or issuing refunds, but it’s part of running an education program. People get sick, weather intervenes, and sometimes a class just doesn’t get the traction it deserves. When this happens, some software tools make you jump through hoops to cancel classes and issue refunds.

    Not CourseStorm. We made canceling, changing, and refunding payments for classes as simple as possible. You have full control and can make changes with the push of a button, no tech support required.

    Let’s say someone registers for a class held on a Tuesday. Their schedule changes, and they’d like to switch to the Saturday session instead. You can easily do this in CourseStorm, even if the classes are different prices.

    Key Feature 4 – Information about your program’s performance is at your fingertips and can be easily exported

    You should have complete access to your own data, yet some software solutions make it almost impossible to find what you’re looking for. They use proprietary systems, complex reports, or just don’t sort data in ways that make sense for you and your nonprofit.

    At CourseStorm, we recognize that reporting helps you make smart decisions and prove your program’s worth to your board or funders. That’s why we offer clear, intuitive reporting. Sort data in your CourseStorm dashboard, or export an Excel file for even more control.

    We’re always working to make reporting easier, more useful, and more streamlined. Right now, we’re working on AI-powered reporting to help you build custom reports. It will be available on our Pro plan soon. Stay tuned!

    We’re convinced that CourseStorm is the best registration software for nonprofits that need class registration and payment processing. But don’t take our word for it, start your free trial today and see for yourself.


    RegFox bills itself as event registration software. Classes come third on their list of priorities after conferences and camps. Marketed as easy to use, the system may be best suited to organizations looking for an alternative to Eventbrite and Cvent.

    They offer support for merchandise and product sales, social incentives, and editing and upgrading of existing orders. All of this is well-targeted to event management, but less relevant for class registration.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Synchronized reports
    • Host virtual events in platform
    • Multi-class registrations
    • Flexible forms


    Regpack was originally designed for billing automation. Unsurprisingly, they’re very focused on the billing aspect of registration. Theirs may be the best registration software for subscription-based programs. For example, a gym with a year-long contract might use it to collect monthly fees.

    They offer automatic course billing, discounts and variable pricing for learners, and a centralized registration database that features your branding. You can also share live-streamed or pre-recorded video content with registrants.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Mobile-ready
    • E-signature capabilities
    • Payment plans
    • Group registration


    Focused on kids classes, camps and events, Sawyer lists classes directly on their website. You can also embed listings on your own site. Because they’re kid-focused, they offer features like family profiles so parents can list authorized caregivers.

    Sawyer is a robust platform with many useful features, but the cost quickly adds up. Registrations made on their marketplace also incur a 30% “marketplace fee.” This fee shrinks as you upgrade your plan.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Kid-focused marketplace
    • Family profiles and group registration
    • Basic reporting
    • Online and in-person classes


    Jackrabbit helps gymnastics, dance, swim, cheer, and music programs register students. They focus specifically on schools or youth activity centers that offer these courses and their features are tailored to the needs of these types of schools.

    Jackrabbit includes a point-of-sale system for the front desk, skill-tracking so teachers can share student progress, and a time clock for tracking staff hours. All of these features make them the best class registration software for dance and gymnastics schools.

    Features and Capabilities:

    • Built-in costume and recital management
    • Staff time clock
    • Skills tracking through parent portal
    • Made for dance and gymnastics classes

    Test and Find the Best Registration Software for You

    Hopefully this article has given you an idea of what registration software is available to you. Information is great, but we think the best way to choose registration software is by testing it out for yourself. Get your free trial of CourseStorm today and find out if our impossibly simple class registration software is right for you.

    All information current at the time of publication. Please verify prices before purchasing.

  7. Are You Confusing Your Customers? How to Craft Clearer Marketing Messages

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    Jargon, buzzwords, industry speak — whatever you call it, most organizations have an internal language that doesn’t make sense to outsiders. That’s fine in a board meeting, but it can lead to confused customers when you’re marketing your classes. 

    Even the most down-to-earth organization can evolve its own language over time. What sounds like a perfectly clear offer to you can end up confusing your potential students. That’s a problem because people don’t buy what they can’t understand. 

    As part of our commitment to simplicity, we want to help you clarify your message. Let’s talk about how to notice when your message is confusing, and what you can do to fix it. 

    How to Tell if Customers Are Confused

    Most organizations could benefit from making their messaging clearer. Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell that a message isn’t as clear as you thought. After all, you know what you mean. Keep an eye out for these four signals that you might have a messaging problem.

    1. People don’t seem to understand your offer. 
    2. You hear the same questions over and over.
    3. Registration is low overall (or for a specific class).
    4. You get no response from a normally engaged audience.

    Any of these four situations can point to a messaging problem. Stay alert for these signals, because most customers won’t reach out and say, “Hey, I didn’t understand your last email at all.” They’ll just ignore it. 

    Clearer messaging in your course marketing can lead to more engagement, fewer questions, and higher registration numbers.

    It’s up to you to notice that there’s a potential problem. Then you can test and see if clearer messaging leads to more engagement, fewer questions, and higher registration numbers. Before we get into how to do that, let’s consider some common sources of customer confusion. 

    Common Sources of Customer Confusion

    Any email, social media post, or class listing you publish has the potential to cause confusion. Everyone has their own perspective and context. So what’s perfectly clear to you might be as muddy as old paintbrush water to your students. Here are a few circumstances that often result in confused customers.

    Offering too many options in a single class listing or email. 
    You might think that offering lots of choices is the best way to meet student needs. In reality, too many choices can be overwhelming. If you’re offering multiple sessions or formats for the same class, set these up as unique course listings. 

    Assuming knowledge of your registration system or process. 
    You’ve been using the same system or process for a while, so you assume that everyone knows how to use it. Keep in mind that someone might have just discovered your program for the first time, and they won’t know anything about how it works. So you have to tell them. Include clear directions on where and how to register.

    Offering too many options, assuming people know how to register, and using unfamiliar jargon or language are all common sources of customer confusion.

    Sharing non-essential details in the class listing. 
    You don’t want to assume knowledge, but you also don’t want to bombard students with too much information. Think about which information they need to know up front, and what can wait until the first class. For example, the time and location of your class are essential, but you can wait until the first day to tell them that they’ll need to bring a photo of themselves to the third session.

    Using unconventional language in headings and descriptions.
    You may have strong opinions about how your industry should work. Sometimes that is reflected in the language you use. You might think that we should stop talking about “art” and start exploring creative play, but parents looking for an art class for their child may skip right past your listing for a creative play class because they don’t immediately understand what it means. 

    Besides, using common words and phrases helps people discover your classes. Try to use the words and phrases people are most likely to type into a search engine when looking for classes like yours.

    Using confusing language anywhere. 
    Jargon, acronyms, and overly formal language can confuse potential registrants. The word “dramaturgy” may be correct, but inviting students to a “playwriting” class is more straightforward. Unless you’re offering an advanced course, keep the language simple and accessible. 

    Are You Confusing Your Customers? Chart of 5 problems and solutions

    How to Fix Your Messaging Problem

    If you suspect you have a messaging problem, take action. The longer you delay, the more students are likely to miss out on your classes. Here’s a four-step process to help. 

    Step 1: Identify the source of the confusion using the list above.

    Step 2: Rewrite or redesign your message for clarity.

    Step 3: Talk to students and ask for feedback on the changes.

    Step 4: Monitor your results.

    The best way to tell if your changes worked is to track the number of questions and registrations you receive. If questions decrease and registrations increase, you’ve probably made your message clearer. 

    “We’ve increased enrollments and eliminated nearly all the phone calls we used to receive from confused parents.” – a CourseStorm customer

    By using CourseStorm, Princeton Academy of Art has reduced the time they previously spent managing enrollment by 80% and increased enrollments in their classes. In addition, “We’ve eliminated nearly all the phone calls we used to receive from confused parents,” they shared.

    One Last Tip to Eliminate Customer Confusion

    A convoluted registration process can confuse customers as quickly as poor messaging. CourseStorm’s integrated online registration and payment platform keeps registration simple. Registrants can easily fill out your registration form, pay for the class, and even get class meeting reminders all on one simple platform. 

    To see how easy it is, start your free trial of CourseStorm today.

  8. 4 Reasons Not to Use Google Forms for Class Registration

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    You had some good reasons for choosing Google Forms for class registration. You already know how to use the tool. Besides, it’s free, and nonprofit arts organizations are always looking to stretch the budget. So at first glance it seems like Google Forms is an okay solution, but it comes with hidden costs you might not have considered. 

    Google Forms is a great solution for some things, but it’s not ideal for class registration.

    Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with Google Forms in general. It’s a great free solution for a quick survey or student feedback form. We’ve used it ourselves many times. But when it comes to class registration, your learners deserve better.

    1. The Form Is Just One Small Part of the Registration Process

    Your class registration form is just one small part of a complete course registration system. You also need a course catalog where people can discover your classes. When a learner registers, you need payment processing tools to collect their payment. After they’ve registered, they’ll ideally be able to use a student portal to manage their registration. 

    On the back end, you need reports that can help you understand registration trends. Your instructors could benefit from class tools that let them take attendance and quickly email everyone who enrolled in a class. Of course, security and data protection are essential too. 

    If your only goal was to collect information, a Google Form would do the job, but class registration is a more complex process. The right registration tools can make all the difference. 

    2. Free Tools Can Cost a Lot In Labor

    By now you may be thinking, “I agree with all that, but Google Forms is free.” That’s a great point. Nonprofits need to be responsible stewards of grant and donation funds. You don’t want to add to overhead and administrative costs if you don’t have to.

    However, there are times when spending some money up front can save your budget over time. As part of the Google Workspace suite, Google Forms is free for individuals and nonprofits. (Businesses pay around $12 a month.) Unfortunately, free tools can cost more in labor and hurt the student experience. 

    Google Forms doesn’t naturally integrate with your payment processing, course catalog, or donor management systems. Someone will have to organize and enter all of that data by hand. Every time a learner’s information is recopied, you introduce the possibility of errors. Missed payments and transposed phone numbers can cause headaches for everyone involved.

    You might even cancel a class unnecessarily because the roster wasn’t updated in real time and you thought you didn’t have enough students.

    Plus, if learners need to change their registration, add a friend, or ask a question, they have to call or email. Now you have a staff member or volunteer fielding calls instead of spending their time on service and creative tasks that can’t be automated. 

    3. Nobody Likes the Payment Matching Game

    Unless all of your classes are free, you’ll need to collect a payment for each registration. With Google Forms, you’ll need a third-party payment processor. There are plenty to choose from. The problem starts when you have a bunch of payments in one document and a bunch of registrations in another.

    Then someone — usually your already busy volunteer bookkeeper — has to manually match each payment to the right registration. They get to solve puzzles like “does this payment from Katie Smith’s credit card go with the registration for Jane Smith or the one for Steve Smith?” Maybe it’s actually for Tom Johnson.

    Some organizations skip this whole mess by asking learners to bring cash or checks to class. That might sound like a solution, but really it just passes the buck. Now instructors are responsible for handling money and tracking payments. What do they do if someone shows up without payment? You’ve put them in the awkward position of turning students away.

    4. Google Forms Are Not Made for Class Registration

    We’ve already talked about class rosters. Google Forms can dump all of the form responses into a spreadsheet. From there it’s up to you to organize that information. If you’re taking registrations for multiple classes, or multiple class sections, you may be sifting through a lot of data to find what you want. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to print a detailed class roster with the click of a button? 

    Now imagine you have a really popular class. It’s generated a ton of interest and people are signing up faster than you can process them. What happens when the class is full? This is a common situation for many arts education programs, yet Google Forms has no way to set seat limits. People can just keep registering until you turn off the form.

    With Google Forms, class rosters and waitlists need to be managed manually, and group registrations aren’t an option.

    If you want to create a waitlist in Google Forms, you’ll need to manage it manually. This could lead to some pretty uncomfortable phone calls with people who already paid, only to learn there’s no room in the class for them. Seat limit warnings and waitlists should be part of any class registration system. 

    Then there’s the group registration problem. If a parent has two children and wants to sign them both up for a class, they’ll have to fill out the form twice. If a group of four friends wants to sign up together, they each have to complete their own registration. Group registration would make classes more appealing to parents, couples, and groups.

    Google Forms vs CourseStorm - features comparison

    Simplify Registration With the Google Forms Alternative

    CourseStorm’s streamlined student registration and payment system is the smart Google Forms alternative. It includes class rosters, low enrollment warnings, and waiting lists. Group registration and student portals make it easy for customers to manage their registration. 

    Integrated payment processing means nobody has to play the payment matching game. Your course catalog seamlessly connects with the registration system. We take data security seriously with encryption, 2-factor authentication, and PCI-compliant systems.

    Our pricing is designed to help your organization thrive. So we don’t charge you an annual membership fee or monthly subscription. You’ll only pay when students actually register. This is ideal for smaller organizations, seasonal organizations, and anyone who wants to pay only for what they get rather than betting that they’ll get enough registrations to offset the cost. 

    Plus, our registration software integrates with common donor management software like Little Green Light and PatronManager. We’re adding new features and integrations all the time. Each one is carefully chosen to make registration easier and help your nonprofit fulfill its mission. Start your free trial today and see why CourseStorm is the smart Google Forms alternative for course registration.

  9. Using Event Ticketing Software for Class Registration? Why You May Want to Reconsider

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    We are still seeing the impact of just how hard the pandemic hit the arts. Many regional theaters shuttered, and those that survived are staging fewer productions. The good news is that arts education is still going strong. Arts organizations that offer classes, workshops, and summer camps have been able to sustain and even grow their revenue in many cases.

    Event ticketing software, which many arts organizations use to sell tickets to performances, is not a great fit for registering people for classes.

    The bad news is that event ticketing software, which many arts organizations use to sell tickets to performances, is not a great fit for registering people for classes. That’s because theatre ticketing software, sometimes called performing arts ticketing software or box office software, serves a different purpose than course registration software. 

    In this article, we’ll compare event ticketing software vs. course registration software, showing the features, benefits, and differences of each. We’ll also show you how many organizations integrate the two types of software to best serve their audiences for both performances and educational classes.

    Common Features of Event Ticketing Software

    There are many different brands of event ticketing software, some specifically for performing arts organizations and some not. Eventbrite, Arts People, ThunderTix, PatronManager, Tessitura, and Spektrix are just a few examples. Pricing can range from free to various monthly subscriptions based on ticket volume. 

    What these types of ticketing software have in common is that they are all designed to sell tickets to one-time events to maximize attendance. While the specifics of each event ticketing software vary, common features include:

    • Mobile, online, and onsite ticketing
    • Barcode/ticket scanning
    • Customer data management
    • Promotions management
    • Seat management

    Performing arts organizations will want to pay particular attention to certain features. For instance, ThunderTix and Spektrix offer a reserved seating option, while others do not. All of the event ticketing software platforms listed above include the option to sell season tickets, except for Eventbrite. Be sure to find out whether the ticketing software you’re considering has the features your organization needs. 

    Specific Features of Course Registration Software

    Event ticketing software is built to sell tickets to different types of events and performances. That could be festivals and conferences, or concerts and plays. Class registration software, on the other hand, is designed to meet the unique needs of education programs. This means it has some helpful features that box office ticketing software lacks. 

    Features of course registration software that ticketing software lacks include an online course catalog, customized registration forms to collect the info you need, and automated waitlists that notify students when a spot opens up.

    Some features of course registration software include: 

    • Online course catalog. You can create an interactive course catalog with search and filtering tools, so students can browse by topic, date and time, instructor, or other criteria.
    • Waitlists for popular classes. Don’t miss out on potential revenue by keeping track of interested students even when a class is full. CourseStorm has a new feature that allows programs to send customized emails to students on your waitlist when a spot opens up. The registration invitation expires after a set time so you can move on to the next person on the list.    
    • Class rosters. Giving instructors access to class rosters lets them monitor enrollment. You can also notify all the students in each class at one time if there’s a cancellation or message you need to share.
    • Customized registration forms. Tailor forms to collect the specific information you need for each class. You can also include policies and release forms for students to sign.
    • Student portal. Give students access to their class history, payment methods, and upcoming classes. They can also update their contact information and add themselves to classes or waitlists.
    • Attendance tracking. Instructors and admins can track attendance for their classes on desktop or mobile devices to see who attended which classes and who logged attendance.  

    The best registration software for classes offers all of these features and more to help you manage courses and support students. Events and performances don’t require most of these features, so event ticketing software is unlikely to have them built in.

    Event Ticketing Software vs Course Registration Software: Features chart

    Event Ticketing Software vs. Course Registration Software 

    Are you thinking that having two different software platforms—one for ticketing and one for classes—sounds unnecessary or too complicated? It’s not when you consider that each of these tools serves a different purpose. 

    You might already be using ticketing software and donor management software. If so, you know that they have different features related to each function and you need both. It’s the same with course registration software. Neither ticketing software nor donor management software has the specific features that benefit both education programs and their students, such as customizable registration forms, class rosters, waitlist management features, and more. 

    As far as being too complicated, that’s not at all the case with CourseStorm. Designed to be simple and streamlined, it takes very little time to set up your course site and start taking registrations. Our customers appreciate how easy it is to use, and the time it saves them from taking registrations manually or with another tool not designed for that purpose. 

    Additionally, it is possible to integrate your various software platforms if you wish. That way, you can use each tool for what it’s intended AND streamline the flow of information back and forth and simplify tasks. 

    PatronManager + CourseStorm = PatronStorm

    PatronManager is one popular ticketing, fundraising, and customer relationship management platform that built an integration with CourseStorm. Their customers were asking for a solution that would allow them to provide a better class registration experience to students and would also allow administrators to manage things like waitlists, refunds and exchanges, and other class management tasks. That’s how PatronStorm was born.

    “We love CourseStorm’s interface. We think it’s so great for our clients to have a truly tailor-made interface that’s designed for class registration.” – Shasti Walsh, PatronManager

    “From the PatronManager perspective, we love CourseStorm’s interface. We think it’s so great for our clients to have a truly tailor-made interface that’s designed for class registration rather than trying to shoehorn it into another system,” said Shasti Walsh, PatronManager product manager.  

    If you have event ticketing software with all your ticket buyer data, and that integrates with your class registration software that has all your student data, you can do targeted outreach specific to certain audiences. 

    Here’s an example: A community theatre is running a Shakespeare class for teens. They want to email all the parents and let them know there’s a weekend performance of Hamlet coming up, weeding out the people who’ve already bought tickets. PatronStorm allows programs to pull the reports necessary to do this.

    Other Ways to Integrate CourseStorm With Your Ticketing System

    CourseStorm is developing integrations with other performing arts ticketing software platforms as well, such as Spektrix. If you’re interested in being a beta tester for our Spektrix integration, get in touch with us

    If you use another event ticketing solution, you may still be able to integrate it with class registration software. Check out Zapier to see if your software can connect to CourseStorm.

    Zapier is an online automation tool that connects your apps and services with no coding required. “Zaps” are connections you can build between two or more apps to automate repetitive tasks without relying on developers to build the integration.

    There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for events, classes, and donors that meets the needs of every organization. But there are tools available that offer the features you need for each of your offerings. CourseStorm is a great way to streamline and even grow your class registrations, with helpful integrations to boot. Try CourseStorm for free and learn how it can work for your program!

  10. How Much Does Registration Software Really Cost?

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    If you’re in the market for online registration software for your classes, camps, or workshops, price is probably a primary concern. Most community and arts education programs need to keep costs as low as possible. For non-profit organizations, the cost can be even more of a concern. Of course, price isn’t the only factor to consider when you’re assessing your options for class registration software.

    Simply comparing the numbers doesn’t take into account factors like the time you save from having all the right features integrated. Sticker prices don’t show you how much your registrations will increase because of how easy this software is to use. You can’t measure time saved on a price comparison sheet.

    Whether you are currently using course registration software or another method to register students, we’ll walk you through the questions you should ask to understand how much registration software is really worth.

    Pricing of Common Class Registration Software Solutions

    When it comes to class registration software, it can be hard to compare apples to apples. Some software providers charge a monthly fee. Others charge a per-registration fee. Some have hidden fees or add-ons you might not be aware of until set-up. Whatever their model, you can be pretty sure that they’ll pass credit card processing fees on to you. Some common fees include:

    • Expected number of student registrations
    • Expected total of payments processed
    • Monthly fee

    Depending on which system you choose, monthly fees may range from $0 to $8,500 per month. Per-registration fees may be a flat fee or a percentage between 2% and 6%. Many programs also charge a convenience fee of between $1.50 and $2.99 that you can choose to pass on to the student or cover yourself. 

    Remember to ask about set-up fees, additional admin fees, and any other costs that might pop up. Some providers charge for technical support beyond the first few hours. At CourseStorm we provide support at every level for all customers, regardless of pricing plan. Some software providers do not, however, so it’s smart to ask about it. 

    The Cost of Not Having Registration Software

    With all of these costs to consider, you might wonder if it’s worth having registration software at all. That, at least, is easy to answer. Yes, the right class registration software is worth it for several reasons. 

    The right course registration software improves the student experience, saves your staff time, and can save you money.

    First, because it improves the student experience. They can register and pay from their smartphone at any time of the day or night. No need to print and fill out forms, or wait on the mail to deliver their check to you. 

    Second, it saves your staff time. Registration software eliminates the needs for manual tracking of registrations and payments. A student’s registration and payment status are automatically linked in the system. You can also easily print reports and class rosters.

    Third, it can save you money. Yes, you’ll pay for the software, but you’ll save on staff hours. Plus, the best registration software automates payment plans for big-ticket courses so payments come in on time month-after-month. 

    Finally, the best registration software maximizes your enrollments. For example, CourseStorm’s software includes built-in waiting lists, warns students when a class is in danger of cancellation, and offers group registrations. All of these features help you avoid cancellations and fill classes. 

    So the cost of not having registration software could be hundreds or thousands of dollars a year in lost enrollments and work hours. 

    How to Pick Registration Software That’s Worth the Cost

    When you understand the value of registration software, choosing the right software becomes the more important question. You want software that is worth the cost you pay for it. Asking these questions will help you choose the software solution that offers the best return on investment for your program. 

    1. What is this software designed for?

    This might seem like a silly question to start with, but it’s actually a vital one. Many education programs are using software that wasn’t built for them. They’ve picked a solution like Eventbrite, which is great for one-off events and ticketing, but just wasn’t designed to manage courses.

    Using event software for course registration can cost you time and money.

    Using event software for course registration can cost you time and money. Someone on your team will waste hours manually entering data and students may get frustrated. That’s a price no one wants to pay. 

    The best registration software for classes is designed specifically for class registration and payment so make sure you find software specifically built for those functions.

    2. What features does it offer?

    If you’re looking for course registration software, you want a tool that handles the full student registration system. It should help you with marketing your courses, collecting registrant data, and of course, processing payments. 

    Does your current software offer features that make the registration process simple for students? Features like: 

    And don’t forget marketing features like: 

    Each of these features represents added value for your program. That means that registration software without these features is essentially leaving money on the table. 

    One program brought in $2,300 in registrations in 2 weeks by sending automated class recommendation emails to students.

    For a concrete example, look at the value one program gained by sending automated class recommendation emails to students. In just two weeks, the program brought in $2,300 in registrations from class recommendation emails. 

    3. Does it integrate with other services you use?

    Since no software can do it all, integrations can come in handy. Theaters and other arts organizations might want software that integrates with PatronManager. Non-profits might benefit from Little Green Light integration. CourseStorm integrates with both. 

    CourseStorm integrates with PatronManager and Little Green Light, as well as other tools you may already be using.

    Consider if and how a software solution integrates with other tools you might be using. Does it seamlessly connect to your email marketing tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact. What about scheduling tools like Google Calendar or Apple Calendar?  

    Integrations like these can save you time, which ultimately saves you money. No more entering data multiple times. Integrations can also help you bring in more donations by rolling your student list into your donor list. When it’s time for your annual campaign or other fundraising push, you can easily include your students in your mailing list. 

    4. What is the registration experience like?

    Ultimately, registration experience is the true measure of value for any registration software. Potential students may just decide not to register if the process is too challenging.

    Before investing in new registration software, run a few trial scenarios and rate the difficulty of each one:

    • Try to find a specific class in the course catalog
    • Register for a class
    • Register multiple family members for the same class
    • Register using a mobile device

    If you get frustrated while tackling these tasks, imagine how students might feel. Consider the registrations you might be missing from students who won’t stick with a challenging registration system. 

    5. How is their customer support?

    Responsive customer support can save you time and frustration. If you have to wait two days to even get a response to a question you could be missing out on registrations. Worse, potential students might not wait for you to figure out your technology and may find another class from another provider.

    Unfortunately, the quality of customer support can be hard to gauge before you start using a software solution. Some have great sales teams, but drop the ball when it comes to customer support. If you can, chat with some other programs that already use the software. 

    Ask them: 

    • What kinds of issues have you run into?
    • How long does it take customer support to respond to you?
    • What medium do you use to communicate with customer support?
    • How do you feel about their support?

    You can also take a look at the software’s help library. Do they offer clear guidance? Is it searchable? Remember, less time spent on technical issues is more time you can spend on directly serving your students.

    6. Is your class registration solution easily scalable?

    Some software providers charge fixed monthly fees in addition to per-transaction fees. If your registrations stay fairly consistent year-round, fixed monthly fees may not pose a problem. 

    On the other hand, if your program is like most, you probably have a busy season and a slow season. There may be months at a time when you’re running no classes at all. In that case, the fixed monthly fee starts to feel a lot more costly. 

    Fixed monthly fees and contracts can be costly for programs with a busy season and a slow season.

    Additionally, some registration software solutions require a contract. You’re locked in for at least a year. If your program (or the market) experiences an unexpected change you might be stuck paying for a solution that no longer fits your needs. 

    Consider whether a fee-per-transaction model might make more sense for your program. That way, the software provider only gets paid when you do. It makes your program a lot easier to scale. Look for one that offers unlimited students, classes, and administrators. Your student registration software shouldn’t limit your program growth, it should support you through every stage.

    So, How Much Does Class Registration Software Cost?

    By now we hope you see that pricing is one thing, but cost is something else entirely. Budget-priced registration software can cost a lot more than you realize. It’s important to look beyond the sticker price to understand the value you’re getting for the money.

    Testing is the best way to know whether a class registration software solution is right for your program. Start your free trial of CourseStorm today.