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How to Convince Your Nonprofit Board You Need Class Registration Software

Nic Lyons

February 23, 2024

Your nonprofit arts education program has grown and your classes are in high demand. A small but dedicated team of staff and volunteers keeps things running, but they’re getting overwhelmed with administrative tasks. The process of registering students for classes using a cobbled-together system of free tools just isn’t efficient enough anymore. 

Now, you want to convince the board of directors that your arts education program needs class registration software.

Factors to Convince the Board You Need Class Registration Software

When education directors at arts nonprofits start considering class registration software, many face the challenge of convincing the board of directors to make the investment. Our clients tell us there are four key factors they need to address to convince the board: 

1. Budget and Return on Investment

Nonprofit organizations often operate on tight budgets. At the same time, they have a responsibility to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them by donors and funders. Your board will want any class registration solution to maximize return on investment. 

2. Transition Management

Adopting a new system means training staff, volunteers, and participants on how to use the software. Nonprofit organizations need software that is easy to learn and accessible from the devices stakeholders already use. A board may hesitate to make a change in case the transition is too much to handle. You need a solution that minimizes disruption and improves the user experience.

3. Benefit to Participants

Nonprofit boards are often especially concerned with how new technologies will support or benefit participants. They want to invest in tools that help them better serve their target population. Often, they choose investments based on whether they can improve the participant experience or boost satisfaction.

4. Reporting for Impact Tracking and Decision Making

Clear and accurate reporting is a special concern of nonprofit boards, because their impact and investment numbers help them secure funding and grants. An easy reporting system provides the right information at the right time. 

Getting the Board on Board

Building and administering an easy-to-use registration software for nonprofits has given us an inside look at what they need most. We created CourseStorm’s simple class registration software to be the solution boards could get excited about. Let’s take a closer look at what our system can do for your arts education program and how you can communicate the benefits to your board. 

CourseStorm Class Registration Software

Benefit #1: Return on Investment

When budgets are tight, many organizations keep struggling with cobbled-together free solutions because they’re concerned about the investment of a yearly or monthly fee. CourseStorm ensures you only pay for the students you actually get. Our per-registration fee structure means that seasonal or periodic programs never pay for software they’re not using. 

Benefit #2: Transitions Made Simple

Many registration tools require in-depth training and lots of technical guidance. We believe a new solution doesn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, we’ve designed and refined CourseStorm to be as simple and intuitive as possible. As one of our customers recently said, “If you can use email, you can use CourseStorm.” 

Adopting new software should be as simple and intuitive as possible. One of our customers said, “If you can use email, you can use CourseStorm.” 

Even though our software is amazingly easy to use, we will still offer all the support you expect from a quality software solution. Email support and live group webinar onboarding guide you every step of the way. 

Benefit #3: Ease of Use for Participants

Participants get frustrated when they have to use multiple systems just to register for a class. Programs that ask students to bring cash or call to register during set business hours may drive them to look for other options. CourseStorm combines course registration and payment in one easy tool. Learners can register for classes, make payments, and even manage their account from their computer or smartphone at any time of the day or night. 

They also get automated reminders about upcoming classes, an easy way to register multiple people in a single checkout, and the ability to join a waiting list if a class is full.

Benefit #4: Reporting Made Simple

Tracking registrants with manually built spreadsheets or multiple software systems invites errors into your reporting process. CourseStorm offers easy reporting at the push of a button. Whether you’re wondering how many students attended a particular class or looking for how this year’s registration numbers compare to last year’s, you’ll find that information easily. 

We have a new AI-powered reporting feature in the works that even helps you build the exact report you’re looking for. You don’t have to be an Excel expert or use complicated form fields to find the data you need. 

Google Forms: An Imperfect Solution

Many nonprofits rely on Google Forms or similar solutions to help them collect information for course registration. While Google Forms is free to nonprofits, it’s also not built to handle the full course registration process. 

Course registration is more than a form. It involves marketing, student communication, and payment processing. Class registration software does all of this, alleviating administrative burden.

Course registration is more than a form. It involves elements of marketing, communication with registrants, and payment processing. Google Forms is great at collecting information, but it can’t process payments, doesn’t provide an accessible student portal, and can’t customize your reporting. 

It may seem like a budget-conscious solution, but the added administrative burden creates added costs. Participants may also get frustrated when they can’t find, change, or pay for their registration without calling your office.

An integrated registration and payment solution saves everyone time and reduces frustration all around. 

Drop-in or Call-to-Register Inconveniences Students

Speaking of ways to frustrate participants, asking students to call or drop in to register demands time and resources they may not have. It forces them to register when you’re open and have a staff member available. This may mean they delay registration or don’t bother to sign up at all. 

Some programs try to solve this by asking registrants to pay on the day of the class. This puts the burden on instructors to collect and manage money. They have to track who has paid and potentially turn away students who forget or don’t have the right payment method available. This uses up valuable class time and may alienate students. 

A fully online registration and payment system ensures that every learner is fully registered and paid before class begins. Instructors can focus on teaching so learners get the best possible experience. 

Convince the Board to Streamline Class Registration with CourseStorm

Cobbled-together systems built out of free tools make registration inefficient and frustrating for both learners and nonprofit organizations. To remove these challenges, you first have to convince the board that class registration software is worth the investment. 

CourseStorm offers a streamlined solution with flexible payment options and accurate reporting. It’s user-friendly for staff, volunteers, and participants who can access essential information from their desktop or mobile devices.

Show your board how easy class registration can be. Sign up for your free trial of CourseStorm today.

Nic Lyons

Nic is skilled in scaling start-up edtech and education organizations to growth-stage success through innovative marketing. A former journalist and copywriter, Nic holds a postgraduate certificate in digital and print publishing from Columbia University School of Journalism's publishing course.

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