When you’re planning an event, no matter how big or small, you have to work out the details and stay organized. If you want to host an intimate gathering of friends for a cheese and wine tasting, you’ll need to know how much cheese and wine you should procure. And if you’re throwing a large party to thank your volunteers, you’ll need to know how many sandwiches, chips, and drinks to buy.
It also helps to know if any guests need special consideration — like if they have food allergies or need wheelchair access or a ride. And if someone on your guest list has a special skill — maybe someone’s a whiz with a barbecue, for example — it would be nice to know ahead of time so that you can work it into the event.
That’s where an online RSVP form can come in handy. Creating one doesn’t need to be complicated, and it doesn’t require special software. In fact, you can use a tool like Google Forms to make an RSVP form quickly and easily — and best of all, it’s free.
Building an RSVP form from scratch
As an example, let’s create an RSVP form for a volunteer beach cleanup. Our volunteers will need gloves, trash bags, and a positive attitude. It might also help to have grabbers or other tools to make it easier to pick up trash without bending over.
Let’s create a form to find out how many people will be helping so we can buy enough bags and gloves. But let’s also try to save some money and see if anybody wants to contribute any supplies.
You probably already have a Google account, so let’s get right into it. Start by going to the Google Forms and creating a blank form by clicking on the plus sign.
Now we have a blank form. Let’s give it a title and a description.
The first thing we need to ask is who’s coming. Click on Untitled Question and change its type to Short answer using the dropdown menu.
Next, enter First Name as the question text and make the field required by toggling the Required setting on. While it isn’t necessary to require this information, it helps to know who’s filling out the form.
To add a Last Name field, we can just copy the First Name field by clicking on the copy icon next to the trash icon (marked with a 4 in the image above). Then change the field title from First Name to Last Name. We can do the same for the email and phone number fields.
Sometimes, people can get discouraged when they see how long a form is and abandon it. To prevent this, split your form into sections with only a few questions in each. That way, you can make sure people see a few questions at a time rather than all at once.
The button to add a section is at the bottom of the panel of icons on the right (marked with a 5 on the screenshot).
In the next section, let’s find out what and who respondents will be bringing. Select the new section and name it “Extra Help.” Then click the + in the upper right corner to add a new question.
First, let’s see what supplies attendees would be willing to bring. Select the Checkboxes option from the question-type dropdown menu. This option will allow them to choose more than one item.
Select the first answer field, change the text to Trash bags, and hit the Enter key. That will add a new line for your next item. Add all the items you think someone might bring.
When you’re done, you’ll notice that there’s an Add “Other” link at the bottom of the list. It makes sense to include this option for this question, so click that to add an extra text field.
Next, click the + again to add another question to ask about additional guests the person plans to bring. For this question, choose the Linear scale option from the question-type dropdown menu. They may not be bringing anyone else, so let’s set the minimum to 0 and the maximum as high as you want.
Making the form smarter
You’ve probably noticed that we haven’t actually asked whether respondents will be attending or not. If the person receiving the form can’t make it to the event, it doesn’t make sense to gather all their information.
So let’s create a final section that respondents can skip to if they’re not coming. We’ll keep it generic so it works whether they’re attending or not. Just click the Add section icon from the menu on the right and name the section “Thanks for the RSVP!”
This section will also show the Submit button to submit the form. Google Forms automatically adds this button to the end of the form.
Scroll back to the top of your form and click on the first section header. Click + to add a new question at the top. Change the question text to “Will you be able to attend?” We’ll then make this question multiple choice.
When you’re done, click the three-dot icon in the lower right corner and select Go to section based on answer. As you can see in the screenshot above, each answer choice now gives you the option to navigate to a different section. You can set the navigation to jump to the end if they choose “no” or “maybe.”
Let’s separate the RSVP question by creating a new section below it and calling it Contact Info. Be sure you’re in the RSVP question when you click the Add section icon, so that the new section starts directly after this question. If you followed all the steps correctly, you should now have four sections, and your navigation should work as expected.
You can check your work by clicking the eye icon in the upper right corner of the page. This will let you preview and test your form.
Collecting donations for your event and more
Google Forms is a simple tool with a basic feature set. It was built as an add-on for Google Sheets, not as a standalone product.
If you’re looking for more advanced features, you’ll need a dedicated form-creation tool, like Jotform. Jotform will allow you to collect payments and much more. It’s a tool that will grow and change with your needs, no matter how many forms you create.
And if you need help getting started, we have dozens of RSVP templates to choose from and hundreds of other kinds of event registration templates. On top of that, we have a handy 10-minute tutorial that will show you step by step how to collect and manage RSVPs with Jotform.