By Robert Earl Houston
All of the National Baptist Conventions have the same problem – REGISTRATION. It doesn’t matter which convention, who the president is, the process has become cumbersome and marked by dramatic lines at all of the conventions. No one asked me, but these are some helpful suggestions from someone who has been on both sides of the table, taking into consideration that this is 2019:
1. Make Online registration available throughout the convention to the close of business on Thursday evening/Friday morning. An area can then be designated for pickup of materials.
2. (Announced in late night last night): Make registration available at the Late Night Services, therefore registration can literally be from 7 a.m. to Midnight (why not???).
3. Partnership with a computer firm (or a partner) and place 10-15 registration kiosks in the registration area, similar to what is in our airports nowadays.
4. Recycle delegate badges – make them generic and at the end of the session, allow delegates to drop them off at various areas for use at the next session.
5. Have more credit card readers or utilize online credit card inputs for processing of credit cards (no one should have to wait in line and then have the person doing the registration wait in another line to use a credit card reader).
6. Use Givelify for Church and Personal registration with an option and link it to the Church registration code.
7. Utilize some of the young people, who are very computer literate and savvy to work the computers. This should not be done by anyone who is not familiar with computers and their functions.
8. Design the registration process and eliminate everything at one station. Why not try three step process – check in at one desk, pay at another, and pick up materials at a third station.
9. Have a separate station for State Conventions and District Associations – and encourage them to register online as well.
10. Partnership with a vendor and offer water and/or juices (or something healthy) to those in line. Also, consider a number system where people can sit down and wait for their number to be called (similar to DMV) – helpful especially when you have a lot of senior delegates.
This is not a knock of anyone’s convention and I regret that when I talked about the registration process I was in yesterday, someone used it as a personal attack against a convention leader (which I swiftly removed when I was made aware of it). Not interested in being negative – I love (and have been a member) of all four of the traditional baptist conventions. I just want to see us do better! I support NBC and President Young; NBCA and President Tolbert; PNBC and President Stewart; and NMBCA and President Sharp.