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Creating a Custom Alternative to Eventbrite Using Gravity Forms

About Influencers Bakersfield

Influencers Bakersfield is the Bakersfield, CA, chapter of Influencers Global Ministries, an international non-profit organization that attempts to “…encourage and influence individuals toward an intimate, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ through a journey to spiritual intimacy, enabling them to be a positive influence to their world around them.” Their Souly Business California events are part of a national ministry (Souly Business), that has the mission of connecting “…men in the marketplace with our Heavenly Father… and one another”. These events happen 3 times a year, and take 80+ volunteers to pull off.

The problem

Influencers was using Eventbrite to register attendees for Souly Business California. They weren’t happy with some of Eventbrite’s limitations – like its inability to prevent a person from registering twice with the same email address – or with how “hands-on” they had to be in sharing information amongst teams within the organization and 3rd party services. They also weren’t crazy about Eventbrite’s fees (3.5% + $1.59), or how it handled the funds from ticket sales – the payout didn’t start processing until 4-5 days after the event ends.

The solution

We decided to build the registration process in Gravity Forms and use Stripe for the payment processing. With a little trick we learned from Mr. Technique, we added an optional checkbox that allows attendees to “cover” the credit card processing fees; which isn’t much individually, but adds up to over $1000 collectively. We limited the number of entries and used the “no duplicate emails” function to help discourage attendees from buying multiple tickets; which has been a problem, because space is limited and the event is extremely popular. Due to its popularity, the event tends to sellout quickly, so we created a second form to serve as a waitlist. We entered the waitlist’s shortcode in the message that displays when registration is full, so as soon as the event sells out the waitlist form displays. To help disseminate registered attendee information, we created a Google Sheet document and tied it to our form using Zapier, so the Sheet updates automatically with each new registration. Finally, we used the MailChimp add-on to push registrants’ info to a list in Mailchimp, for ease of communication and follow-up prior to the event.

The results

  • They are saving over $1500 in Eventbrite fees each time they hold Souly Business California.
  • They receive funds from registration fees 2-3 business days after each sale, instead of 4-5 days after the event.
  • They can potentially save another $1092 (2.9% + $.30 per transaction) in credit card processing fees each time.
  • Emails are automatically added to a Mailchimp list.
  • Registration information is immediately sent to a Google Sheet that is shared across the organization.
  • No more ticket hoarding!

Obviously, we’re excited that we were able to increase the efficiency of the Souly Business registration process, but the fact that Influencers is expected to save between $4500 and $7500 in fees each year really makes us smile.

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CJ Jolliff

CJ is one of the co-founders of Infini Systems. His background is in marketing, strategy, branding, and production. He built his first website using Windows Notepad, as part of a 1 credit college course in 1997. He loves people, music, caffeine, flip-flops, golf, pretty much anything with wheels and his family.


  1. Tom Nguyen on November 5, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Thanks for referencing Mr. Technique, CJ! We really do appreciate it.

  2. Aaron Jarrels on January 7, 2021 at 8:53 am

    There’s a typo in the results section of the article. It says: “The can potentially save another $1092 (2.9% + $.30…” but I think it should probably say “They can…”
    That is great info otherwise, thanks for sharing.

    • CJ Jolliff on January 7, 2021 at 10:16 am

      Aaron, thanks for catching that! I got so deep in the weeds that I missed it.

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