Automating Event Registration with SurveyMonkey and PayPal

If your Chapter or SIG has events or activities that require pre-registration and payment, it is easy to automate an event registration process that handles registrations, and accepts payment by PayPal as well as by cash or cheque. This technique requires no programming, and can easily be done by whoever is in charge of the event.

The trick is to use a survey management system to create and manage registrations as a kind of survey, and use an online payment system to handle online payments for the registrations. The registration process can also instruct those who want to pay by cash or cheque about where to send their payment.

This example uses a free online survey management service called SurveyMonkey to build and manage the event registration form, and PayPal to accept online payments. See the Free and Discounted Products for Chapters and SIGs webpage for information on setting up a free SurveyMonkey acount, and a PayPal account for your Chapter or SIG.

There are a number of tutorials on the SurveyMonkey site that show you how to set up a single- or multi-page survey, including how to use field types like text, radio buttons, checkboxes, lists to construct the survey, and how to change what page to display next based on user input.

Here are the steps to follow to create an event registration and payment process for an event using SurveyMonkey and PayPal.

  • Create a payment button in Paypal after logging in to the Chapter or SIG account. You can create new payment buttons for each event, or reuse ones from previous events by choosing one and editing the description and price. The date of the event can be used to distinguish payments for the new event from payments for earlier ones.
  • Create a payment page on your website and add the PayPal payment button to the page. This is where the user will be redirected after completing the registration form to register for the event.
  • Create the SurveyMonkey payment form. You can build almost any kind of registration form for an event with customizable appearance and workflow. Configure the survey to redirect the user to the URL of the website payment page after completing the registration process and selecting the “DONE” button.
  • Ask several members to test out the registration process before you send or post a link to potential attendees.

Here is an example of configuring the “Collector Settings” of the SurveyMonkey survey builder tool. It specifies that when the user completes the registration and selects the “DONE” button, they are directed to the “payment-page.html” page on the Chapter or SIG website where they can make their payment by PayPal. The registration information for the event attendees, including method of payment, is available to whoever created the survey on the SurveyMonkey site. PayPal payments and can easily be cross-checked against the registrations.

SurveyMonkey Collector