Creating and Promoting
This chapter will deal with the details of creating, configuring, and promoting an event in CiviCRM. CiviEvent, the event management component in CiviCRM, is a flexible and powerful solution for your event organisers, enabling them to collect registrations online, process participants, view and search through event registrants.
Create an Event
To begin the event creation process, click CiviEvent from the CiviCRM home page and select "New Event" from CiviEvent main page. The event creation tools are organized into a series of "wizard" pages, each of which provides you a series of options to consider.
These options are numerous, allowing your organisation to take advantage of various fee price mechanisms, configure date-based discounts, permit batch registrations—all while remaining confident that CiviCRM is managing the records and calculating the fees accurately.
As we walk through each page of the event creation wizard we will demonstrate the options and their effects on the resulting registration form through screenshots and examples.
1. Event Information and Settings
The first page in the event wizard requests basic information about the event:
- What is the type of event that you are setting up? If you have not done so already, please read about how to create suitable event types through Administer CiviCRM » Event Types.
- What role will participants be assigned to when they register online for this event? Roles are used to distinguish different types of event participants, such as attendees, speakers, and staff. The value placed in this field will be assigned by default when users register online. The most common value is "attendee." You may manage participant roles through Administer CiviCRM » Participant Roles.
- Do you want users to see a listing of participants, and how much information about the participants do you want to reveal in the listing? Participant listings are a great way to demonstrate support for an event and generate interest within your constituent community. Note that the options you define in this section only enable participant listings—you will still need to create a menu item or link to the listing somewhere on your website.
- What is your event title? The title will appear on event information pages, registration pages, event listings, and in the Manage Events administrative page. Be sure to choose a descriptive, well-crafted title to represent your event.
- The next two fields (event summary and complete description) provide space for describing your event. Both the summary and complete description will be included on event information pages.
- What is the start date/time and end date/time for your event? These will be included on the event information page and event listings. It is also important if you are using a calendar widget to display upcoming events.
- CiviCRM provides you with the ability to set a maximum number of participants for each event. This is important, as online registration removes some of the control from the hands of administrative staff. You can set the maximum number of participants and define a message to be displayed when that number is reached.
- In today's world, people are increasingly using GPS and web-based mapping tools to get where they are going. CiviCRM anticipates this need by integrating the ability to enable Google Maps or Yahoo! maps throughout your site. You will first need to configure your mapping solution through Global Settings » Mapping. You can then enable a map link which will generate the location based on the address settings for your event.
- Once you have created your event and placed the information and registration pages on your website, you naturally will be looking for ways to promote the event. CiviCRM provides several ways to do that through RSS feeds, iCal files or feeds, and event listing pages. Selecting "Public Event" on this page will include the event in these promotional listings.
- Lastly, you have the option of toggling this event active or inactive. If you anticipate it will take some time to complete the configuration of your event, consider disabling it until it is complete to ensure it is not inadvertently listed on the event listing feeds. You can easily activate the event at a later time when you are ready to begin publicizing it.
After reviewing the details on this page, click continue to advance to the next step of the wizard.
2. Event Location
The next step in the event configuration process is to complete the location and contact details for the event. Though optional, it is highly recommended that you take the time to provide these details to your potential participants. If you have enabled a map link in the previous step, you will need to make sure that you fully complete the address details on this page. Also note that you are able to list phone numbers and email addresses for registrants or interested individuals to use when registering for the event. This is particularly helpful if the event will be held off-site from your organization's primary location and you want to provide contact information for the meeting location.
3. Event Fees
CiviCRM provides the ability to manage both free and paid events. If you plan to assess fees for participation in your event, this third step in the wizard will walk you through the options available. Note that if you plan to accept credit card payments through the online registration form you will need to configure a payment processor prior to completing the details in this section (Administer CiviCRM » Global Settings » Payment Processors).
- What contribution type will paid registrations for this event be recorded as? While the most common value for this field is simply "event fee," CiviCRM provides flexibility to define multiple contribution types and assign them to different events as needed.
- Do you want the participants of your event to pay later by mailing in a check, paying on site with cash or credit card, or to arrange other payment details? If so, you can enable the "Pay Later" option and define a label and payment instructions. Note that if you keep this unchecked, registrants will be required to pay by credit card.
- Do you want to use price sets that provide you with the ability to break an event into smaller pieces and charge for each selected piece or will you use the basic event fee list (single set of options where the registrant can select a single option)?
Event fee price sets are an incredibly flexible and robust tool for building complex fee structures for your events. Please take time to review their functionality and understand how they can benefit your event management process.
CiviEvent in Action
Wellington Circus Trust hosts a periodic "Stilts Class" in which they offer different price options using a price set: a standard fee or performer rate fee, and an additional $5.00 charge if attendees wanted to hire (rent) stilts. When the attendee completes the registration process, the total amount from their particular choices will be calculated and added to the total. The image below shows how the fee section of their registration form appears.
- Do you want to give early bird discounts for event fees (discounts by signup date)? CiviCRM provides you with the ability to specify date-based discounted fees that override regular event fees. Note that these are only available to the basic event fee structure; you cannot implement discounts with price sets.
Discounts are structured in parallel with the base event fees. After creating your list of fee options and enabling the discounts feature, you must create the discount set and add it to the fee table. A new fee table will appear toward the bottom of your page, duplicating the original fee table (see above). You can now edit the labels and fees to correspond to the discounts offered for each of the original fee options.
CiviEvent provides the flexibility to create multiple discount sets to an event. This may be useful if you have a series of early bird dates that progressively increase the cost of registration as the date of the event gets closer.
4. Online Registration
While CiviEvent can certainly be used in only an administrative capacity, where staff enter event registrants as they are received by mail or phone, the real benefits are realized when the event registration form is made available to your constituents through your website.
In step four of the event creation wizard you can enable online registration and configure the options for this feature.
- Begin configuration by defining the text to be used as the link to the registration form, and setting the start and end dates for registration. The link text is used in the event information page, and is most commonly "Register Now" or something similar. The start and end dates define when website visitors may register for the event. The registration end date is likely different from the start date of the event, as you may want to close registration in advance of the event in order to prepare name tags or perform other administrative functions.
- Very often an organization may choose to send multiple people to a conference or an individual will bring her partner and wish to register and pay for the registrations in a single process. By enabling the "register multiple participants" checkbox you provide a mechanism for an individual to register as many people as they choose for the event and pay the fees with a single transaction. By default, this option requires a different name and email address for each person registered. Enabling the "allow multiple registrations from the same email address" checkbox provides the same capabilities, but without requiring distinct email addresses for each registrant. Note that in either case, CiviCRM will connect with an existing record or create a new contact record for each individual registering for the event.
- What other data do you want to capture from your participants as they register? By default, the CiviEvent registration page only includes and requires an email address from the registrant. Organizations typically want to collect additional contact information from the registrant, as well as define fields unique to this particular event (such as dietary restrictions). This is done through the creation of custom data fields and the configuration of profiles. Profiles are collections of data fields that can be included in event registration forms and used for other purposes.
Note: If you are not familiar with the creation and function of custom data fields and profiles, please take time to review their functionality. In particular, examine the custom data types available to events and participants.
The Registration Screen configuration block is used to define introductory and footer text for your registration page, and to select which profiles should be included in the top and bottom regions of the form. If you come to this stage in the wizard and have not created your profile form, you may continue with the event setup process and return to the event configuration page at a later time to select your desired profile(s).
- The remaining fields on this page control the text to be displayed on the confirmation page, thank you page, and emailed receipts (if enabled). The standard page flow is as follows (the event information page is sometimes bypassed depending on how you plan your event promotion):
When completing this page, take care to think about the user experience at each stage in the process. Ensure that the text is appropriate to the point in the registration process where the registrant currently is.
Leverage the social networking power of your committed constituents by empowering them to quickly and easily share details about your organization and event with their friends and colleagues. The final step in the Event Creation wizard is a page where you can enable "Tell-A-Friend" capabilities and define the text and links to be included on that page and in the email sent from the tool. Note that the people who are emailed using this feature are automatically added to CiviCRM.
Promoting Your Event
Now that you have completed the creation of your event you should test it and then find ways to begin promoting it. Returning to the Manage Events page you will see your recently created event listed with any others you have created. From the action list, select Test-drive to test the registration page. Test-drive mode will use the Sandbox options for your payment processor, if available, and will create a registrant record with a "test" indication so that it can be reviewed and easily removed. If you have events where anonymous users register for events, you should also test the registration when not logged in.
If you discover elements that you need to edit and adjust, select Configure to return to the list of event setting pages. Once you are satisfied with the event information and registration form, it's time to display it on your website. If you are using Drupal, select the "Live Page" link to obtain the url. You can then create a menu item or link to the form from a page on your site. In Joomla!, use your menu manager to create an Event Information or Event Registration page. You may also link to the event information page from an article using the following url (replacing the EVENTID with the value for your event as displayed in parentheses by the title):
The url to directly access the event registration page in Joomla! is (again replacing EVENTID with the id as displayed in the manage events page):
Creating a direct link to the event information or registration page is central to your event promotion efforts. But CiviCRM provides several other ways to publicize your event.
Navigate to the Event Summary page (CiviEvent link in the main menu), where you will find a series of icon links above the summary table. These links provide helpful ways for you to display a list of upcoming events on your website or through email. They are as follows:
- HTML listing of current and future events. This list will display in your website using your site template/theme.
- RSS Feed: Display a feed to your upcoming events on your website. The standard feed format (RSS 2.0) provides flexibility for including the list of events in a module/block on your site, or simply providing visitors a link to the feed for incorporation in their feed-reader of choice.
- iCal download file: Download an iCal file and import into your calendar software of choice.
- iCal Feed: Obtain an iCal feed link for synchronization with your calendar software of choice.
Congratulations!—you've created an event and begun promoting it on your website. CiviCRM has provided you with the ability to display event registration forms and collect registrations online in real-time. You've taken an important step toward streamlining your event management system, reducing data entry by staff, and providing your constituents valuable new benefits.