Organizing Online


A critical step in online organizing is providing the world with a form and a reason to fill it out. In this area, Powerbase has a lot of options! In Organizing Online, we'll cover how to create custom fields, profiles, petitions, webforms and more. We will review the difference between creating a new field and adding a field to a form. And, we'll cover how online and in-person organizing are inseparable components of any campaign.

Prerequisite: Comfortable adding and editing contacts, contributions, events and activities.


Training materials, including login information on the training database will be sent to everyone who is registered.

Day 1: Forms and Custom Fields

1:00 pm Eastern Time (approximately 120 minutes)

  • Welcome and Community Agreements - A
  • Introductions and Poli Ed What does "online organizing" mean? -J
  • Orientation - N
  • Logging in and getting around - J
  • FORMS overview: Demonstration from various Powerbase sites slides -J
    • Creating an email sign up profile - tip sheet -N
    • Profiles for contribution pages and events - adding profile for event screen cast -N
    • PRACTICE: create a profile for e-news signup including first name, last name and email plus a fourth field of your choice (a field that already exists in the database). When naming your profile, please put your first name first so we can find them all again!
  • PROBLEM > But wait, I can't find the field to record if someone has any dietary restrictions? -N
    • Core Fields vs Powerbase Custom Fields vs your custom fields (below the line) - tip sheet
  • EXERCISE: make a list on a riseup pad of all the custom data your organization needs to collect that might be unique to your organization, and may not already be an existing field in Powerbase - N
    • Now, for your pieces of custom data, add what category you think it matches in the database: Contact, Event participant, Contribution, Activity

ASSIGNMENT: 1) look in your own database to see if you can identify custom fields that you and your co-workers may have created (don't change anything!) Come prepared with any questions you may have about your org's custom fields. 2) Review the CUSTOM FIELDS TIP SHEET to familiarize yourself with custom fields and how they work ahead of tomorrow's demo -N

Day 2: Advanced Forms: Petitions, Using Activities in Forms

1:00 pm Eastern Time (approximately 120 minutes)

  • Review Agenda - N
  • Introduce network site and training site - N
  • Questions from assignment or anything on Day 1 - N
    • When you saw your org's custom fields, were you dying to delete or clean them up? STOP!
      • What happens to existing forms or data when you delete a custom field
      • Someone else may be using the fields
  • CUSTOM FIELDS continued - A
    • DEMO: Scenario: We are holding a gala and will be printing badges for participants, will have option for folks to indicate their pronouns to be printed on the badge. Add a custom field for pronouns for the participant registration profile.
  • PRACTICE with custom fields and profiles (please use your name) - use these examples if you like:
    • You are organizing an event and want to offer option for folks to indicate they want to do karaoke
    • Add a custom field to contribution, e.g. you want to give option for folks to get a t-shirt and indicate the size, create a profile that includes this custom field for a contribution page
  • PETITIONS: Problem > I don't want just a form, I want people to sign a petition! - J
    • There is no such thing as an online petition, just an excuse for people to give you their contact info.
    • Using a profile instead
    • Ok....if you insist, we'll use a petition
      • Examples of when it would work better than a simpler option
      • DEMO: basic petition setup and using petition email. tip sheet with screen casts
  • PRACTICE: Create a petition. Example scenario: You want people to sign a petition to oppose a planned oil pipeline
  • PROBLEM: My forms looks terrible, why can't it look like my website?! Solution: ThemeKey - tip sheet -J
  • ACTIVITIES: Problem > I need to know exactly when someone filled in my form, or I want to assign a phone call follow up to a staff member after someone fills out my form. - J
    • Activity needs to be created when form is filled out
    • Custom Activity Types and Custom activity fields
  • PRACTICE: Pick a scenario and practice with creating custom fields and/or profiles for activities, for examples:
    • You want to track a hotline call activity with custom fields that have options of why they called, e.g. Legal Assistance, Financial Assistance, Healthcare, Wage Claim, etc.

Day 3: Webforms and Putting it all Together

1:00 pm Eastern Time (approximately 120 minutes)

  • Review agenda -N
  • Evaluation of how things are going so far - N
  • Introduce network site and training site -N
  • Show and tell from assignment, and questions from the training so far - N
  • WEBFORMS - Introduction/Summary - tip sheet and screen cast - A
    • BEWARE: Do not use webforms if you are collecting donations, membership dues, event fees! You need to use the Powerbase features (contribution pages, membership pages, event pages, etc.)
    • How to navigate to webform (via Drupal Admin): Click on Administer menu > Drupal Administration > Content > then click on the name of the webform or click Edit next to the webform you want
    • The CiviCRM Tab - where you can enable the Powerbase fields you want to display to collect info on the webform
    • Setting proper permissions to access the form: in the form, click on Webform tab > Form Settings > under Submission Access area, click to select the roles allowed to enter data on the form
    • Ability to add multiple contacts, relationships, events (free), activities, use as a special data entry form, e.g. an intake form, a one-on-one form, etc.
  • WEBFORMS - Deep Dive: demo and examples - A
    • Scenario: Creating an internal Intake Form or an alternative data entry for a one-on-one form and assign to another staff - screen cast
      • Form settings - permissions
      • Email Notifications
      • Add a relationship, e.g. their employer
      • Using look-up or search fields, e.g. search for an existing contact
      • Assigning Activity to staff and set status to "Scheduled"
    • Webform Resources:
      • Making it Pretty! Working with fields and labels - screen cast:
      • Editing labels to display questions or display bilingually
      • Field display options: Hidden, Private, changing lists to checkboxes or radio buttons, etc.
      • Displaying some options and not others
      • Setting default values
      • Moving fields and hiding fields
      • Using Fieldsets to group fields together
      • Using conditionals to decide when to show fields (or group of fields in a field set)
      • Collecting information from more than one contact and creating relationships - screen cast
      • Adding additional text using Markup - screen cast
      • Using webform fields vs. Powerbase fields - screen cast
      • Using webforms to create anonymous surveys - screen cast
      • Setting themes - tip sheet
      • Setting recaptcha - tip sheet
      • Seeing the submissions to my webform - screen cast
  • PRACTICE: Webform Play Time - A:
    • Clone one of the existing Sample webforms to get started: Click on Administer menu > Drupal Administration > Content > then next to the name of the webform, click CLONE, rename the Title with your name, then click SAVE. Then click on the name of your webform to continue editing.
    • To create a webform from scratch: Click on Administer menu > Drupal Administration > Content > click + Add Content > click Add Webform > enter the TITLE of your form and click SAVE to get it started. Then click on the name of your webform to continue editing.
    • Suggested Scenarios exercise:
      • You are organizing a youth leadership program. You want youths interested in joining the program to sign up, tell you their school, identify at least one parent/guardian, and the reason they want to join (hint: you'll need to create a custom activity for the youth leadership program application) - screen cast
      • You want a form for "hotline" requests where folks can ask for assistance with different services (e.g. mutual aid, information, referral, or followup call) and you need to know when they submitted their request (hint: you'll need to create a custom activity for the hotline request). Check out the screen cast in this tip sheet.
  • PROBLEM: I love what you're doing with my theme but it still doesn't look right! General tip sheet -J
    • Solution: give us feedback and we'll make your theme look better
    • HTML Snippet: non solution
    • iframe - tip sheet
    • Solution: REMOTE FORM demo - tip sheet
    • Having members update their information: via webform or via profile.
    • How to send automated email notifications from forms
      • use built-in email notification features whenever possible (e.g. from Events, Contributions, Webforms, etc.)
      • Schedule Reminders (e.g. to send reminders when memberships are 1 month before expiration, or special welcome email or invite for new members)
      • CiviRules + Email API extension to send email (when Schedule Reminders can't do the trick for you!)
  • Wrap-up and Final Questions - N
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