Referral Refunds for Ticket Events

We have brought our successful referral refunds program to ticket events.  Referral refunds automate refunds to attendees who refer their friends and family to sign up for an event. You are able to set the amount of the refund and the number of referrals required to earn the refund. Additionally, strong social sharing tools encourage more referrals – registrants can share a personal referral link on Facebook and tag the friends they think may be interested. 

Referral refunds are part of social marketing, which we have discovered over the years is one of the most effective ways to increase attendance at events. People respond to other people–they are more likely to buy a ticket if they are invited by a friend than if they see an online advertisement. 

Referral refunds are a great way to motivate your supporters to market your event and cause to their family and friends, because they provide a tangible reward. Of course, referral refunds also benefit you because they increase ticket purchases for your event and introduce new supporters.

Referral refunds can be activated in the Promotions tab of the Event Dashboard, under Promotions>>Referral Tracking>>Referral Tracking Setup.

If you haven’t already done so, start by turning on referral tracking for your event. (Do this by turning the first two toggles on the Referral Setup screen to ON.) 

Next, turn on the Enable Referral Refunds toggle. 


Turning on Referral Refunds

After you do this, a Referral Refunds page section will appear. First, you must fill in the latest date that referral refunds will be available. Refunds will be available to all purchases made before the date you choose. This might be the day of the event, or some earlier date.

Next, enter the number of ticket purchases required for a refund, and then enter the dollar amount of the refund. These defaults for these fields are five ticket purchases and a $20 refund.

Ensure Purchase Balance

You will also want to enter a dollar amount for the Ensure Purchase Balance field. The default is $5, but you may want to adjust this based on the average price of tickets for your event and the availability of coupons and other discounts for your event. 

This setting ensures that the remaining creditable amount of a ticket purchase after the refund is at least the amount that you enter. (So in the example above, each purchase receiving a referral refund will be left with at least a $5 balance after the refund, no matter how much it was to begin with.) This is useful because it doesn’t allow you to refund too much money if the original purchase used a coupon or some other discount. 

Note: The creditable amount does not include the original processing fee paid by the purchaser. It does include extra fees, and store purchases from the same transaction. (If a registrant purchases $15 in add-ons and you set the Ensure Purchase Balance field to $10, you could potentially refund $5 worth of add-ons). 

For example: Supporter A buys a ticket to your $30 event with a 50% off coupon (so he pays $15). You have set up referral refunds to issue a $12 refund to supporters who refer more than five friends. You enter $5 in the Ensure Purchase Balance field. Supporter A refers five friends. He receives a $10 refund instead of a $12 one, because that leaves $5 as his remaining purchase balance. He didn’t pay enough for his original purchase to receive the full refund.

Advanced Options

There are advanced options that allow you to authorize additional refunds for referrers who refer more than the threshold. For example, you could set it so that if someone refers five purchases, they get a $20 refund, and if they refer another five after that, they get an additional $10.

If you don’t want to use this, set it to 0.

You can also enter a limit for the total number of refunds. (If you anticipate a large number of referrals, you may want to use this limit to control the number of refunds your event issues.) You can then apply these settings to specific ticket groups or levels.

Refund Reserve

When you enable referral refunds, we will automatically set the refund reserve to hold at least 10 times the max refund amount. 

Refund Report

By going to Promotions>>Referral Tracking>>Refund Report, you can view a report of your refund transactions. You can search the report for a specific transaction or view all of the transactions. As with all our other reports, you can export it as a CSV to view it in a spreadsheet. 


Once you have turned on Referral Refunds, everyone who buys a ticket gets a unique code and link that is used to track their referrals. It appears as a popup after ticket purchase, as well as in their confirmation emails:

Each ticket bought using the unique link counts as a referral. 

Multi-Ticket Purchases and Referrals

When someone registers multiple people at once, a new referral code will be generated for all registrants. However, the referral code for the first registration will be the one used in the share links on the confirmation page and email. 

Refund Timing

The referral processing takes place at 2:20 AM.  It looks at registrations from the previous day to determine which refunds to issue. Multiple referral refunds for a single registration will be grouped together.  At 20 minutes after every hour, a process will run to check if any of the refunds set up in the 2:20 AM process can actually be refunded based on the refund reserve.

Financial Report

In the notes column, it will say Referral Refund and the description will be Refund for Ticket Purchase #X. 

You can also note from this report that we do not charge the regular RunSignup $1 refund fee on referral refunds. 

Best Practices

Events using this feature have found that they are more successful if there is a high referral requirement for a high reward. For example, offering a $25 refund after five referrals (as opposed to $5 for every referral) encourages attendees to reach out to multiple friends, but does not cost your event anything in refunds unless referrers are successful in bringing in multiple attendees. 

However, you can also choose to offer a smaller amount (like $2) for each individual referral. Like our other features, we have made referral rewards as flexible and customizable as possible, so each nonprofit customer can make it meet their needs. 

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