Volunteers are the lifeblood of STC Communities, yet finding good volunteers can be daunting. Join Alice Brzovic, San Diego Chapter, and Ben Woelk, Rochester Chapter, as they discuss how they’ve been able to keep their chapters vibrant and stable by successfully recruiting and retaining volunteers. Learn techniques that you can apply in your own virtual or geographic community to enlist and empower effective leaders.
This webinar will be recorded.
About the Audience
This webinar is for STC community leaders, event managers, program managers, webmasters, and future volunteers, who are encouraged to register and attend online or watch the recording.
About the Speakers
Alice Brzovic is a writing consultant, with experience in both technical and marketing communications. She is currently serving as president of the San Diego Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC San Diego).
Ben Woelk: Former Director, Society for Technical Communication; ISO Program Manager; Information Security Office, Rochester Institute of Technology; Security Guru; Introvert; INTJ; CISSP; Author of Shockproofing Your Use of Social Media: Staying Safe Online (Kindle).
One of the more challenging aspects of running a community can be running events. To successfully pull off an event, you need a venue, food and drink, a presenter, and most importantly, attendees. Keeping track of who is attending and who has paid can be done manually, or through Meetup.com, but there may be better way: Eventbrite. In April of 2016, Viqui Dill and Teresa Nguyen hosted a webinar on Eventbite for STC and the CAC. This article is designed to compliment, but not replace, the content of that webinar.
Why Choose Eventbrite
In the earlier article, the benefits of using Meetup.com were explained. Meetup can expand your audience, organize events, and collect payments. However, Meetup also charges a hefty fee every six months, which scales to the size of your group. This can be costly, especially for groups with tight budgets.
Eventbrite works on a different business model. They skim off a percentage of your ticket sales instead of having a monthly fee. So if you want to organize a meeting with no fees, Eventbrite will organize the registration for free! You can tie in your PayPal account with Eventbrite and process all your payments electronically.
Discounts for Not-for-profits
As noted in an earlier article, both Eventbrite and PayPal provide discounts to not-for-profit organizations. If you contact them and send them proof that your chapter is a not-for-profit, they will reduce their fees.
Customizing Your Event
When you create an event in Eventbrite, you establish the basic information about the event: location, time, date, subject, etc.
Additionally, you must create ticket types. Each type of ticket can have a different name and price, including a free ticket. Why create different ticket tiers? Perhaps you want to offer a discount for students, first time attendees, or society members. If you break out tickets between members and non-members, even if they have the same cost, you can better track your finances for the STC budget form, which always asks for member vs. non-member numbers. Also, when creating tickets, you can establish who pays for Eventbrites fees. In the example below, the fees are absorbed by the chapter. Alternatively, you can have the attendees pay the fees.
Other ticketing options include limiting the number of each ticket type sold, and limiting the days each ticket type is sold. Each of those options must be set individually for every tier of tickets that you create.
As part of the registration process, you can ask attendees questions. Sure, there are the basic name, address, employer form fields, but you can create special questions, such as dietary limitations. On the Manage tab, select Order Options > Order Form. There you can specify the standard questions asked, or add a custom question by clicking the Add Another Question button.
When you click the Add Another Question button, you are prompted to enter your question, and given several ways attendees can respond, ranging from free text to drop downs to radio button.
You can even make sub questions that appear based on the initial responses.
After your event registration is live, you can check the results of your questions on the Manage tab, under Analyze > Event Reports. Choose to export to Excel or a CSV, and you can take your results to go. Or expand the table and look at all the responses right in Eventbrite.
Discount codes are coupons you give to your attendees, perhaps to welcome them to your event as a new member, or to thank them for their volunteer work. These codes are tied directly to the event on which you create them, even if they are valid for a longer time frame. This means that if you give someone a code that is good for 6 months, you must create a new version of it in every event that you create for the next 6 months. Fortunately, it is not difficult to create a discount code.
Once you create the code, be sure to tell the intended audience to use it when registering.
Communicating with Your Attendees
Sometimes things don’t always go as planned and you need to reach out to the attendees who registered for your event. Eventbrite has thought of such situations and includes an email tool that will contact any group of attendees you want, such as people who haven’t paid yet, or people who registered after a certain date, or just specific members. Such emails can be scheduled to send immediately, or at a future time. One such use of this feature is to send a email to all attendees after the event is over. In that email, include a link to a survey so you can get feedback on the event. To access this feature, on the Manage tab, use Manage Attendees > Emails to Attendees.
While this is a great method to contact the people who have already registered, I recommend using MailChimp as a free way to push the event registration to your mailing list.
Ready to Go
Once your event is about to take place, Eventbrite has a guest list you can print that displays who has pre-paid and who has not. It also will print name tags on a PDF which can then be printed onto standard sticky name tags. Both of these options are available on the Manage tab under Manage Attendees.
Eventbrite may not be a perfect tool, but it can make your event registration and payment processing easier. It can even handle refunds if an attendee ends up not being an attendee. You are billed monthly on a percentage of your ticket sales, and if you are using PayPal, you can easily pay them from your ticket income. There are many more features in the application which I don’t have time to explain here, but the few that I did highlight hopefully gives you incentive to create an account and explore on your own.
Don’t miss this new and exciting online course to learn how to Own Your Content: Using the Power of FrameMaker to Get Back to Writing for all technical communicators with Matt Sullivan. This is a six-week course starting Thursday, 30 June-11 August at 11:30 AM-12:30 PM EDT (GMT-4). The 30 June date is an introductory session, and the first session begins on 7 July. Attendees can expect about three hours of work, each balanced roughly between course materials, projects, and live sessions. The live sessions are scheduled on Thursdays and Matt will also hold online “office hours” on Tuesdays, giving attendees a chance to drop into an online meeting to discuss the current week’s assignment.
This six-week course will teach you rock-solid techniques for creating and managing your content that are guaranteed to make you a more productive, more focused content creator. Just look at the outline below to see how this results-oriented course is going to help you get your documents under control.
FrameMaker will make your job easier by understanding the workflow and using templates in a template-based workflow.
Attendees will learn to use paragraph, character, understanding object and different publishing styles in FrameMaker.
Attendees will understand and modify proper use of table content, advanced concepts, cross-references, and template design.
Attendees will use graphics and rich media, anchored frames, and learning how to place and control rich media.
We’ve been discussing how communities could partner on virtual programming
for a couple of years. Early this month, Rochester, Southeastern Michigan,
and New England partnered on a virtual techcomm showcase. This model can be
leveraged by other communities.
Hosting and Registration
Rochester hosted the event through Adobe Connect, and made registration
available through the Rochester Eventbrite listing. Southeastern Michigan
and New England also made the event available through their event
programming tools. (Each chapter kept the proceeds from their own
listings.) Pricing was per connection, or per attendee for those who chose
to attend an”official” viewing party with other community members.
(Rochester hosted a viewing party at the Barnes and Noble community room.)
Viqui Dill and Ben Woelk managed the Adobe Connect session.
Each host community supplied a speaker. Rochester enlisted Bernard
Aschwanden to speak on “Audience-Specific Content using FrameMaker”, New
England brought Patty Gale, “Know Your Users: Improving Learning Content by
Connecting with User”, and Southeastern Michigan brought Angel Belford, “Best
Practices in Using Social Media for Your Business”. Each speaker had a
Attendance and User Experience
We had 17 registrations through STC Rochester. New England and Southeastern
Michigan had additional attendees. I believe the total attendance was ~45,
with viewing parties for each chapter and a contingent of techcomm
professionals in Quebec City.
We had our share of audio difficulties (some self inflicted), but overall
the event was a success. We took questions through the chat window.
Attendee feedback has been good.
Learn proven strategies for surviving and thriving as an independent consultant or small firm with the live Web seminar Winning Strategies for Independent Consultants, presented by Beth Gerber from 4:00-5:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) on Thursday, 18 September. This includes identifying consulting opportunities, networking effectively, making and closing deals, fostering long term relationships, and keeping your business profitable.
Attendees will gain practical tools for managing a consulting business whether you are a sole proprietor or have employees/subcontractors. You will learn what is absolutely essential in running a small business or independent consultancy and what is not required. Learn ways to manage a business when thriving as well as when times are lean and how to maintain success over the long term. This includes:
Assessing projects, bidding appropriately, managing expenses and bringing projects to a successful close.
Providing prospective clients with what they need to award you with an engagement over other competitors.
Developing prototypes, project plans and proposals.
Tracking projects, expenses, income and project scope.
Dealing with overruns and staying on budget and making money with every contract.
Dealing with partners and subcontractors and making sure that these relationships work for you.
Managing and building long term relationships with clients so that every engagement turns into a potential income stream.