Tips On Collecting Preferred Names For Event Name Badges
When you’re using online event registration software, it’s easy to add a field to the registration form to ask registrants for a preferred name for their name badge.
Adding this field will please your event attendees who prefer to go by something other than their official given name and will mean that all of the Roberts, Williams, Benjamins, Christophers, Barbaras, Elizabeths, Victorias and others won’t be constantly telling the new people they meet to call them something else.
Before you go ahead and add this field, consider how you plan to format your badges. Some careful thought now will help to prevent some time consuming editing when it comes time to lay out and merge the data to the badges.
If you just add a field to your registration form called “Name for Badge” you will be able to collect some data, but here’s what can happen:
Some people will enter a first name only and others will enter a first and last name.
Either way you will have the data, but you probably want to make all of the badges consistent so you will have to edit all of the “name for badge” data before producing the badges.
You won’t be able to automatically sort your name badges by last name.
If your event is small, maybe this isn’t a concern, but if you have a hundred or more badges, you will need them in alphabetical order by last name to be efficient. If the first and last name are combined in the same field and you do an alphabetical sort it’s going to sort on first name.
You will be limited by layout and formatting options.
Often you will see first names in a larger font than last names and first and last names on different lines. You may also decide that you only want a first name on a badge. If you collect first and last name in the same field you’ll be in for some manual work separating the names or need to learn a few Excel tricks to parse out the data automatically.
To make generating name badges easier, here’s what we recommend:
- Add one field to your registration form called “First Name for Name Badge”.
- This wording makes it clear that you are only after a first name.
- The majority of the time a name badge name is just a variation of a first name so it’s not necessary to ask for a “Last Name for Name Badge”.
- Set up the online registration form to automatically take the data from the regular first name field and copy it to the first name for name badge field.
- This makes it easy for people who don’t have a variation of their first name for a badge as they won’t have to do anything.
- For people who do have an alternate first name, they will simply edit the name that shows up in the field.
If your online registration system can’t automatically copy the registrant’s first name into the first name for badge field, you should make the first name for badge field mandatory. If you don’t, some people may leave the field blank which will mean that you have to manually edit the blank fields to contain a name before you start your merge to create the badges.
Using these recommendations will give you the flexibility to format and sort your name badges to accommodate last minute requests from your client, boss or committee without spending hours manually editing data.
If you have other tips for keeping name badges easy, please let us know.