I've used Eventbrite, a ticket sales website, to manage RSVPs for three 510Families.com events now. It has been able to do everything I wanted it to, from selling “free” tickets to emailing invitations to a list I uploaded. Since we have not charged an admission fee for any events, the Eventbrite service has been free.
Let me repeat, if you are hosting a free event, the service is free.
Then, I decided to get fancy. I volunteered to manage ticket sales for my son's elementary school fundraiser event. It's a wine and cheese thing with live music and onsite childcare. Therefore, we want to sell tickets for Parents, Grandparents, and Teachers, plus spots for kids who will be occupying the childcare space. Furthermore, we want to accept donations for people who wish to donate but cannot attend the party, and to enable folks to add a bonus donation to their ticket purchase. And wait, I have more needs! I also want to collect the name of every person coming, including the children in order to generate a check-in list for the childcare and name badges for all attendees.
Eventbrite can do this. Almost any feature your special event requires — even those that made you wake up at 5 am and worry — has been thought of by the Eventbrite folks.
On the day of our 510 Families events, Heather and I had too much to carry and remember. Sugar for the coffee? Check. Napkins? Check. RSVP list? Whoops. Luckily, Heather had put the Eventbrite app on her iPhone. As guests arrived, she was able to check them in on her phone. (The future is here and it's just so wonderful!)
For my school fundraiser, the one with the pricey tickets, sales don't come free. Eventbrite does charge a fee for tickets that cost money. There is a credit card processing fee of 3% and a service fee per ticket of $0.99 + 2.5%. I shopped around and this was pretty much identical with all the online ticketing services. Eventbrite will cut you a check, make a direct deposit, or transfer via Paypal your income when the sales have closed.
So far, I am totally satisfied. Now if only we can sell all those wine and cheese tickets.
Note: Eventbrite waived their fees for my school fundraiser so that I could test out the service. We did still have to pay the credit card fees. Check out the service for yourself at Eventbrite.com