As a Little Green Light employee, I try to see our software through our customers’ eyes. But recently I had a great opportunity to *be* the customer when I used Little Green Light to run an event for my son’s school. This article lays out the challenges I needed to solve and how I used my Little Green Light account and LGL Forms to solve them.
Background – Description of event:
I’m on the parent education committee at my son’s school, and we plan and coordinate three or four free events per year, which are designed to bring parents together to learn about, and discuss, pressing parenting-related topics. Normally we’re happy when we get 30 parents at our events, but this year we went a bit bigger, inviting bestselling author Peggy Orenstein to our school. And, we invited another school to co-host the event with us.
That meant we needed to have a good record-keeping system in place, one that allowed us to distribute a limited number of tickets via the two schools’ websites. Thus arose numerous challenges we needed to solve.
What we needed our system to do:
- Allow attendees from two schools to sign up for free tickets
- Limit the maximum number of tickets to 100 per school
- Help organizers keep track of who had RSVP’ed from each school, and manage the RSVP list in case VIPs needed to be added
- Add a waitlist once the tickets sold out
- Monitor the status of the original tickets assigned, so we could re-assign tickets to people on the waitlist
Here are the components used in Little Green Light to make it all work:
- An LGL form, specifically a payment-enabled form (even though the event was free), using ticket limits
- An event in my Little Green Light account (the form was mapped to send data into this event)
- An LGL scheduled report showing event constituent names and attendee counts, with the permalink option turned on
- A Google spreadsheet that was set up to pull data in from the LGL report
Here are the steps (with illustrations) I took in Little Green Light:
Step 1: Creating an LGL Form for event registrations
- By incorporating a field on my form to capture the name of the school that the orderer was affiliated with, I was able to create a single form that both schools could use.
Each school was then able to embed that form on their own website using the code generated by LGL Forms. (Note: It is perfectly fine to display one form on more than one website.)
- Next, I used the conditional display option to pop up an order field, based on the school affiliation selected:
- Because I needed to be able to set a ticket limit, I had to use an Amount field (only Amount fields with the “Suggested with quantity” option can have ticket limits set). However, these tickets were free, so I set the price of each item to $0.
- I edited each order field to set a limit on the number of tickets available to 100 per school:
Step 2: Managing the orders
- Once the form was ready, we published it on both school websites, publicized it to parents and faculty, and started receiving orders.
- I received an internal notification each time tickets were ordered (I set this up on the form confirmation section), but I was also able to see a sum total of how many tickets were sold for each school and how many remained:
- At the moment, there is no alert system to warn you if you’re getting close to your ticket limit, so I bookmarked the form submission page and made a habit of checking every morning to see how it was going. Sure enough, within 10 days, our ticket quantity totals were reaching their limits:
Step 3: Modifying the form when limits were reached
- When we reached 100 tickets sold, I modified the order form to add a waitlist option. At first the waitlist option only appeared when someone selected the Northwest School affiliation. But soon tickets were sold out for both schools, so I set the form to show the waitlist option to everyone:
Step 4: Getting form information into a Little Green Light event
The form worked really well for taking orders, but when it comes to managing communications for an event and handling the inevitable change requests (“I can’t go after all”), you really need to be working in an LGL event.
I realized this a little bit late and had not set up the mapping for my form, so to populate my event in Little Green Light, I did the following:
- Created an export from LGL Forms of all form submissions:
- Uploaded the ticket information into my event in Little Green Light, and set up the mapping in LGL Forms for any future submissions:
Now I was able to use all the great tools in my Little Green Light account to manage the event.
Step 5: Managing communications with registrants
Here are a few strategies I relied on to keep my registrants informed:
- Used LGL Email to send multiple confirmation emails to all ticket holders as the event approached, and communicated with the waitlist folks about their status as well.
- Kept up with any change requests by editing the invitation records in my LGL event.
- Created a custom field in my event to capture the waitlist requests:
- Using a scheduled report, I was able to get a daily report of how many people had ordered tickets and how many were on the waitlist.
I selected the permalink option, which allowed me to set up a Google spreadsheet to pull in the data from the daily report. This is a bit of an advanced approach, but it meant that I could go to the Google spreadsheet at any time and see the status of the event (updated daily), and also that I could share that spreadsheet with colleagues who did not have access to my Little Green Light account.
Of course, as with any event, there were last-minute changes I had to accommodate, such as some additional seating that became available. Happily, I was able to use my Little Green Light event to keep all my data organized and to communicate easily with everyone who had completed the form.
Now all that was left to do was to generate a registration sheet, check people in at the door, and have a great event!