Registrations via a Yahoo Group Database

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Please feel free to ask info(at)hsadventures [dot] org (Vanessa) or info(at)hsadventures [dot] org (Nic) for assistance with setting up your Database on our Yahoo Group.


Getting Started

To create a database,

  • go to the Database section of our Yahoo Group
  • click on Create Table in the upper right (under Database Help)
  • Under Choose A Template, select (empty) A blank template which is the first choice.

Table Information

Enter a Name for your database. We recommend that you use the following standardized format, but you may use any title that you think will be informative and useful to yourself and your participants:

  • event title
  • site name
  • city in which site is located

For example, Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience - Ordway Center for the Arts (Saint Paul)

You may find it useful to enter additional information in the Description field, such as ...

  • Event Date and Time
  • Organizer's Name, Email Address and Phone Number
  • Confirmation Requirements (if any)
  • the URL of Event Notice Message in the Group Message Archive
  • Cost per Participant
  • Registration Deadline Date (and Time)

but you are by no means required to do so!

For example, Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 10:30am. Contact Jor-El at jorel(at)krypton [dot] net for more information. You are not registered for this event until you have acknowledged your payment instructions from the organizer. More information at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hsadventures/message/8256. $3/person. REGISTRATION DEADLINE = WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010


Change Policy

Set Who can add records? to Group Members

This setting will allow all members of HSAdventures to register via the database.

Set Who can edit or delete records to either Group Members or Group Moderators or Table Owner

If you choose Group Members, then participants can make changes to their registrations such as correcting typographical errors, adding or subtracting family members, etc., which frees you from the need to make those changes for them.

If you choose Group Moderators or Table Owner, then participants can't surprise you by making the above changes!
This is a matter of personal preference -- decide which of the two above situations will be easier for you personally.

While such a thing has never occurred to our knowledge, it is technically possible for someone to alter or even delete another member's record when Who can edit or delete records to Group Members.

Set Who can edit the table to Group Moderators or Table Owner.

Edits are things like renaming the columns or altering the Change Policy. No one besides you needs access to those settings.

Important Note: When your registration limit is reached or your registration deadline has passed, you'll want to close your database by returning to Edit Table and changing Who can add records? to Group Moderators or Table Owner to prevent additional registrations. You may also wish to change Who can edit or delete records to Group Moderators or Table Owner if it had previously been set to Group Members

As an aside, Group Moderators have been known to accidentally register for a closed event because Table Owners can't lock them out and there is no indication that they should not have access. Please be understanding should this occur! You can prevent this by adding the word "full" or "closed" to your database title.

For example, Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience - Ordway Center for the Arts (Saint Paul) ** CLOSED **


Columns

You get 10 columns per database. Usually that's more than enough, but when it's not, you'll have to double up information fields. (Unfortunately, doubling up can lead to problems as someone might only fill in the first half -- for example, a request for both email address and telephone number results in an email address only).

You can label your columns any way you like or need (within the 60 character limit) but here's one method that has proved useful in the past:

  1. Date of Registration
  2. Name of Registering Adult or Contact Person or Name of Adult Checking in with Organizer at the Event
  3. Email Address that is checked regularly
  4. Phone number (preferably mobile or both home and mobile)
  5. Number of Adults attending at $_/adult
  6. Number of Participating Children (ages _ and up) attending at $_/child
  7. Number of Non-Participating Siblings (under _) attending at $_/child
  8. Child/ren's ages
  9. Names of All Attendees (for Name Badges)
  10. FOR ORGANIZER USE ONLY

Don't feel obliged to use those labels or to use them exactly as phrased above. Make any changes you wish so that it works well for you and your event. Other common column labels have been ...

  • Comments
  • Total Number of People Attending
  • Total Amount Due
  • Will you be staying for the post-event bag lunch/picnic?

More information on the database column labels suggested above can be found at the end of this file.


Click on Create Table in the lower right.

This will take you to your new blank database.

Register yourself (if necessary) by clicking on Add Record in the upper right list of options, filling in the fields and then clicking, Add Record again in the lower right.

Include the URL of your Registration Database in your Event Notice so that participants can find it easily. It will look like http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hsadventures/database?method=reportRows&tbl=___ (Alternatively, you can just direct people to the database section of the group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hsadventures/database.)


Database Maintenance

Once you've set up your database and send out out your Event Notice, you'll need to monitor it.

Databases do not "close" automatically when an event fills or when the registration deadline passes. To close a database, either ...

  • return to the Database section of our Yahoo Group and click on Edit to the right or your database's name in the list or ...
  • return directly to your database at "http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hsadventures/database?method=reportRows&tbl=___" and click on Edit Table in the upper right.

... then change Who can add records? to Group Moderators or Table Owner to prevent additional registrations. You may also wish to change Who can edit or delete records to Group Moderators or Table Owner if it had previously been set to Group Members

It's helpful to also add the word "full" or "closed" to your database title.

For example, Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience - Ordway Center for the Arts (Saint Paul) ** CLOSED **.

Note: HomeschoolRecess partially automates this step, automatically closing registration or switching to accepting Waiting List registrations when the event is full. At this time it does automatically close registration on the registration deadline date, but that functionality is in the works.


If you are emailing payment, confirmation or other instructions to registrants, you'll also need to visit the database regularly to see if anyone new has registered and is in need of those instructions. Track the status of registrants in the FOR ORGANIZER USE ONLY field.

Note: HomeschoolRecess automates this step, automatically and immediately send a payment instructions or registration confirmation email as soon as a participant registers for your event.

You may also use the FOR ORGANIZER USE ONLY field to track payment received, payment reminders sent, phone calls made, etc.


Database Limit

Each and every Yahoo Group is limited to a total of 10 databases at any one time.

If you are organizing a series of related events (for example, an entire season at The Children's Theater), you should try to combine registrations into one database so as to not use up our entire allotment.

In order to free up a database for other organizers, please use the Export Table function and then delete your database once you no longer need the database for registrations. That could be as soon as your registration period ends, as soon as the event fills up, or as soon as you have all the information you need.

You can save the exported database on your own computer or, if you want to keep it listed where people can find it, you can place it in the Sign Up List folder. If you have any trouble moving your database, just ask Nic or Vanessa for assistance. Some options are ...

  • Click on Export Table in the list of options in the upper right of your Registration Database, copy the result, and then click "Create Text File" in the Sign Up List folder and paste in the copied information, enter the name and date of the event, and save.)
  • If you can create a PDF, click on Printable Report in the list of options in the upper right of your Registration Database, print to PDF, and then upload the resulting PDF to the the Sign Up List folder.
  • Click on Export Table in the list of options in the upper right of your Registration Database, the save the result as a CSV file and then import that file into Excel or your favorite database management software.

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More information on the database column labels suggested above

Date of Registration

This lets you keep track of when people registered. It's not essential, but can be useful for tracking payments -- as your reimbursement deadline nears, you're more likely to be concerned about being reimbursed by someone who registered weeks ago then someone who registered the day before. Also, while this is a very rare occurrence, if you overbook an event, it can help you cancel registrations on the basis of last registered - first cancelled.

Name of Registering Adult or Contact Person

You'll want to know the name of the person who registered for the event. Sometimes this is not the same as the person who will bring the child/ren to the event, so you may prefer to use the phrasing Name of Adult Checking in with Organizer at the Event. If you're organizing an event for teenagers, you may be comfortable having the contact person be the teen instead of the parent.

Email Address that is checked regularly

Most communication will be by email. In general, your email communications will go smoothly, but one of the common excuses heard from problem participants is "Oh, I never check THAT email address," so it helps to specify that you want an address that will be checked on a regular basis.

Phone number (preferably mobile or both home and mobile)

It's rare that you'll need to communicate via phone, but you'll be glad you have the number if you do need it. You're most likely to need phone numbers if there are unexpected last minute changes that occur after many people have left their houses for the event, which is why it's helpful to ask for mobile numbers. (For example, Nic once arrived to find that almost all the roads to the location and the location's parking lot had been closed due to a gas leak at a nearby building. She was able to call everyone and get them rerouted to another parking lot nearby. Unexpected things like that happen very rarely, but when they do happen, you'll feel much calmer being prepared.)

A phone number is particularly helpful to have for problem participants as the first excuse usually offered is that they did not get your emails. If someone hasn't responded to payment requests, it's nice to be able to call at least once before you cancel their registration (although it's certainly not your obligation to call first).

Phone numbers can also come in handy with latecomers as you can call to determine if the problem is that they are lost, running behind, or were planning to be "no shows."

Number of Adults attending at $_/adult

Even when adults are admitted for free, most locations want to know how many adults are attending so that they can be sure to have adequate space for all the bodies. Your event may be a drop-off event, in which case you can skip this field.

Number of Participating Children (ages _ and up) attending at $_/child

 

How "Participating Children" are defined will vary with the event but "by age" is certainly the most common method. You might also choose to say Paying Children if, for example, your event is targeted toward 9 to 12-year-olds but all children over the age of 3 must pay the full fee while toddlers and infants are admitted free.

Number of Non-participating Siblings (under _) attending at $_/child

Not all event are able to permit non-participating children, but when they do, children outside the target age range are often admitted for no charge or for a reduced fee, particularly if they are younger siblings. At the very least, infants should be admitted for free.

Child/ren's ages

Locations often want to know the ages of the children attending to help with planning. Participants often ask the ages of the children already registered.

Names of all Attendees (for Name Badges)

Preprinted Name Badges are not necessary but some organizers like to use them as a handy "check-off" system to keep track of who has arrived and to pre-sort larger groups into smaller ones. If you decide not to use preprinted badges, you might still want to ask for Names so that you know the names of the children (and any other adults) attending, although there are events in which this will not be important or useful.

FOR ORGANIZER USE ONLY

This is where you'll keep track of payments, confirmations and any other notes you wish to make. You can just make a participant as "Paid" or you can record details like the amount received, the check number, and the date it was received. For example, paid 2010-06-24; $6; check #1234.

If you want to get more detailed, using a standard set of status labels with a contact date first in the year-month-date format with two-digits for the month and year will allow you to later sort the database by status and last date of contact. Here's an example from a registration database sorted by the FOR ORGANIZER USE ONLY column which allows an organizer to quickly see all participants grouped by their status and last date of contact:

Cancelled 2010-06-02; Called 2010-05-31; Resent 2010-05-29; Instructions Sent 2010-05-27 
Confirmed 2010-05-22; Instructions Sent 2010-05-21 
Confirmed 2010-05-28; Instructions Sent 2010-05-28
Confirmed 2010-05-31; Instructions Sent 2010-05-29  
Confirmed 2010-05-31; Resent 2010-05-30; Instructions Sent 2010-05-28 
Instructions Sent 2010-06-28
Instructions Sent 2010-06-29  
Paid 2010-05-31; $6; Check #1234 
Paid 2010-06-02; $9; PayPal #12345678987654321
Paid 2010-06-24; $12; Check #2468
Resent 2010-06-28; Instructions Sent 2010-06-26 

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