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What is CiviEvent?

CiviEvent provides a set of tools for running events. These tools make you more effective as an event organiser and reduce the amount of administration require.

CiviCRM helps you manage both simple and complicated registration processes. Some key features include:

  • self-registration for participants, including online credit card payments
  • tracking sign-ups, cancellations, and attendance
  • promotion of your events on your website
  • streamline event set-up for similar, recurring events with event templates and event copy functionality
  • participant check in on-site at the event from any computer with an internet connection

Scenario: Youth leadership workshop

A community arts group, Arts in Action, conducts leadership workshops for people under age 25 throughout the year. Their goals include attracting new youth to attend their workshops and enlisting past attendees to volunteer and teach. Youth from local schools and theater groups are invited to attend, and there are youth speakers and volunteers, as well as other speakers for the training workshops.

The Arts in Action communications staff use CiviEvent to efficiently manage each workshop from the beginning of its planning to the end of its evaluation. First, a staff member creates an event page that includes an online registration form. Because this is a regular event, a staff member has previously created an event template, which fills in much of the information needed in the event set-up process. There is a flat fee for registration, with additional fees for optional workshops; attendees can select what they are registering for and pay for it online. The registration form also gathers information about participants' food and lodging preferences using a CiviCRM feature called a profile.

A targeted list of youth and groups is drawn from existing contacts, and staff send personalised invitations using CiviMail (also based on a template, so that information can be reused from one event to the next). The invitation includes a direct link to the event page so that participants can arrive at the online registration with a single click. The event is also announced publicly by posting it on the Arts in Action website, and the "Tell-a-friend" function is enabled so that the information can easily be spread through people's networks.

A staff person is designated to manage the process by which participants register themselves, periodically checking to make sure that payments are being made, managing the wait list when participant sign-ups exceed the maximum number, and answering any questions.

On the day of the event, organisers can check in each attendee on-site to keep track in real time of who is attending and whether there are any no-shows. Participants with outstanding fees can also be asked to pay at this time. The database is updated immediately, freeing up spaces for those on the wait list and recording payments.

After each workshop, Arts in Action staff evaluate the success of the event and use CiviEvent to quickly generate reports such as the number of attendees, total event fees paid, and total amount still due. The event and mail templates can be updated if necessary and saved for the next event.

Some key concepts

The chapters in this section take you through everything you need to know in order to get the most from CiviEvent. Below are a few concepts you might find helpful for you before you begin to set up your event. You will put these concepts into practical use when following the step-by-step tasks in the next chapters of this section.

Events, participants and contacts

First lets explain some basic concepts. CiviCRM allows you to create one or more events that your contacts can participate in. When a contact participates in an event, they are called a participant.

Event types

CiviCRM allows you to define different types of events, such as conferences, meetings and fundraisers. Which event types to create is entirely up to you, according to the needs of your organization.

Event types come in handy if you have different requirements for types of events. For example, you can create custom fields to store and display additional data about an event by its event type. See the chapter Custom data on events in this section for more information about this. They are also useful for categorizing and segmenting events and attendees, for example, you could easily find all contacts that have come to one of your trainings or attended on of your fundraising events.

Participant roles

Every contact that participates in an event is assigned a participant role. The most common is probably attendee. Others include volunteer or speaker. Participant roles are fully customizable to match the types of events your organization conducts. This allows you to segment participants into meaningful categories based on their involvement in the event, for example for sending an email to volunteers only or generating a list of past table captains for fundraisers. You can also create custom fields that apply only to specific roles, for example, to collect information about availability from volunteers only.

Participant statuses

Participant statuses (for example, registered, wait-listed, attended or cancelled) are used to track what stage the contact is at in their 'event journey'. Participant statuses are fully customizable to match the way your organization does event registration. This allows you to segment participants into meaningful categories based on their behavior with respect to the event,for the purpose of things like generating sign-in sheets, tracking how many people are likely to come to an event, and tailoring email communications to registrants.

Other parts of CiviCRM that work with CiviEvent

CiviEvent is designed to work together with other parts of CiviCRM. For example, you can promote the event to a targeted list and communicate with event participants via email before and after the event using CiviMail (see the Email section, particularly the Set-up and Scheduled Reminders chapters, for more information). CiviEvent works with CiviContribute to allow you to accept event payments online. To do this, you must enable CiviContribute and set up a payment processor; see the Contributions section for more information.