Now that everything is ready, and you have decided how you will promote your programme, it is time to open registrations.

Make your registration forms live

You should have already designed your registration process. Make sure your forms are now available to participants that wish to register.

If you’ve published articles or blogposts, or created emails to notify a group of potential participants, make sure you include the links to sign up so people can access them.

Decide how long registrations will remain open

Registrations should only be open for a limited window of time. In deciding how long to open the registrations for, you’ll need to balance:

Giving potential participants enough time to register

People are busy. Whilst your registration process probably won’t take more than 15 minutes to complete, it won’t be the only thing prospective participants need to do day-to-day. Jobs, personal lives, annual leave, sickness or other factors could all disrupt an attempt to register.

Keep your registration window open long enough to accommodate these usual bumps in people’s day to day lives to encourage greater participation.

Minimising drop outs from people changing their mind

Leaving the registration period open for too long can result in drop outs. People forget might forget they’ve signed up or have changes in their personal circumstances that means they change their mind and drop out.

Ensuring the registration data you’ve collected is accurate

The longer your registration period is open for, the more likely that people’s personal details might change. If people’s details change and you don’t know about it, when you come to do your matching process, matches might fail. Keep your registration window short enough to avoid your registration data becoming less useful later in the programme.

We recommend 4 to 6 weeks

Given all these factors, we recommend keeping registrations open between 4 and 6 weeks. This should give enough time to publicise your programme, and prevent significant numbers of participants from dropping out, either because they’ve changed their mind or because the data they provided is out of date.

Consider a false deadline

You may wish to consider announcing a false deadline, around 1 week prior to your actual deadline for registrations. This will allow any last minute registrations to slip in, and provides an additional opportunity to publicise your programme.