By Asaf Darash, Guest Author
As a nonprofit professional, you know how important it is to continually develop your professional skills to stay at the top of your field. As such, you’ve likely considered adding online courses to your nonprofit’s services to help give your supporters a leg up in their own careers. Plus by adding courses to your nonprofit’s offerings, you can create an opportunity to bring in more revenue, provide your supporters with a new way to engage with your organization, and offer valuable information to participants.
Of course, creating an effective online course program doesn’t just happen overnight. In addition to considering your courses’ content and format, you’ll also need to set up a convenient, optimized registration process.
To help your nonprofit get started, this article will walk through three actionable steps you can take to improve your courses’ registration process. Let’s get started.
1. Embed your registration form into your website.
Before launching your courses, create a dedicated space on your website to your courses. This page should provide members with all the details they need about your courses, such as their content, format, schedule, and fees. Additionally, this page should include a link to your registration form.
Your registration software should provide you with a customizable form that can be embedded straight into your website. This approach offers several benefits over linking to a third-party registration platform, including an increase in trust. Unfortunately, there are scam websites out there that pose as nonprofits, and your course registrants may be wary about giving their personal and financial information out without confirmation that it’s to your nonprofit.
You can reassure your participants by keeping them on your website for the entire registration process and also branding your form to match your association’s logo and colors. You can also decide when your participants will interact with your registration process, such as giving them the option to browse your course catalog and select their classes first before continuing onto the registration process. Or, you can have participants create on account on your website first, then move onto the course selection process. Ensure your registration software gives you the flexibility to customize your registration process.
2. Use a recurring billing solution.
Your courses can bring in more reliable revenue if you use a recurring building system. Sometimes course participants will end up dropping out of your program not due to a lack of interest, but because they simply forgot to submit a new payment. With a recurring billing solution, you can avoid this situation and gain a number of other benefits, such as:
Prevents lapsed payments. Sometimes one of your course participants might forget the exact day they need to submit their course payment fees, which can result in disrupted access. With recurring billing, they won’t need to remember when to submit their payments as it will already be done for them.
Allows easier follow up for payment errors. Some recurring billing software has tools in place to automatically retry failed payments and alert your staff about payments that still do not go through. This helps reduce your overall numbers of failed payments and allows you to quickly identify which of your supporters are experiencing payment errors so you can reach out to them and resolve the problem.
Reduces data re-entry. Re-entering your payment information each time you pay for a routine service can be needlessly time-consuming. Save your course participants the effort by storing their information on file and using it automatically whenever a payment is needed.
When reviewing online registration software solutions, look for options that come with an integrated payment processor. This will reduce the overall number of tools you need and also allow your course participants to pay during the registration process.
3. Offer customers incentives.
As your courses get underway and begin to attract participants, you should consider strategies for how to further grow and improve your program. For instance, you can improve participant retention and create a reliable customer base by offering incentives to sign up for additional courses during the registration process.
Regpack’s guide to selling online courses offers a few methods for scaling up your courses, including:
Offer repeat participants a discount. After a participant completes their first course, you can encourage them to come back by offering them a discount the next time they sign up.
Create multi-course sequences. You can engage your participants for longer and continue to offer them high-value content by creating course series that build on your previous offerings. This will encourage members to sign up for multiple courses and regularly check in with your nonprofit to see when you’ve updated your catalog with the next course in the sequence.
Collect participant feedback. You can learn what attracts customers to your courses by asking them. After your courses, use your registration software to send out feedback surveys. These should contain questions about all aspects of your courses, from the content and registration process to what they would like to see in the future. Then, if there is a recurring request, you will know exactly how to improve your courses for future participants.
Make sure your online registration software supports your chosen customer incentives. For example, your payment processor should be able to automatically apply discounts to your members for all applicable payments. Then, they’ll be able to sign up for their next courses with a reduced price tag with ease.
Asaf Darash if the Founder and CEO of Regpack. Asaf has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and investor, having built 3 successful companies to date. He specializes in product development for the web, team building, and in bringing a company from concept to an actualized unit.