Participation Event Entry Systems – Options Available

Right Angle Events speak to lots of potential event owners wanting to run some sort of registration based event (eg fun-run, bike ride, conference etc) who are looking for the most cost effective way of setting up a registration system.

There are a number of ways that participation events can capture registrations and process payments. It is obviously extremely important to ensure that the system in place for an event is accurate and easy to use, as entrants can be easily put off by mistakes in transactions or complex processes.

It is also important to note that often the most complex and resource heavy part of a registration process for a major event is not the taking of payments and data, but the answering of queries, solving registration issues and updating data.

For previous projects, Right Angle Events has records showing that at the peak registration points for an event of around 7000 participants, we would receive upwards of 50 phone calls, emails and messages each day from potential or current registrants, all of which need to be individually responded to – a high demand on staffing resources.

It is also necessary to factor in the assembly, design, printing and posting of entrant kits or packs for the event, and the administration required to ensure that entry numbers and timing devices are recorded accurately in the database. This cost is usually more than double the cost of the entry system itself.

Option 1 – use existing event registration website options. and are two of a large number of web based products in the event market, which offer a simple solution to event registration. This is the most cost effective solution in terms of up front costs, but offers the least complexity and service to your event.

These systems allow you to make basic formatting changes to already established event registration systems, and then link from your homepage for the collection of data and collection of registration fees. The company then sends you the total amount of funds collected, minus their transaction fees.

The basic pricing is that set up of the registration system is free, and then you pay

$0.99 per registration, plus
5.5% of the total transacted (assuming credit card transactions used)

Option 2 – build your own registration website

The other option for your event is to invest in building its own registration system and database that it would then own for future years. This can be more expensive in year 1 (depending on the total amount of funds transacted through the system), but allows much greater flexibility, and costs in future years are much less.

Right Angle Events (or a number of other agencies we could recommend) can build a system for approximately $25,000. You can see an example of a system we built at

To do this, you would need a bank account with an on-line merchant facility to collect the payments from your site.

The advantage is that the only charge you pay in this model per transaction is the credit card fee charged by the bank – this will vary depending on your deal, but is usually somewhere around 2-3%.

Under this model the event owns the system, so there are no on-going fees (other than any alterations made), dramatically reducing the costs in future years. You also have far greater control over the look and functionality of your system, and there is no need for the user to exit your site to visit the external provider.

Cost Comparison Chart – Event Fundraising Systems


The best system for your event will be dependent on the amount of revenue you are anticipating receiving through the entry system, and also the long term plans for your event. The savings in building your own system are considerable in the 2nd year of the event and beyond.

It is likely that the best option for a large scale new event is to use an existing system (option 1) for the first year of the event to keep start up costs low, with the idea to move toward a purpose built one in year 2 and beyond.