Because some people want the benefits of WordPress + RSVPMaker without the burden of setting up their own site, Carr Communications now offers the option of hosting an events website at a subdomain address like seminar.rsvpmaker.com. We handle the web hosting and technical details, but you get access to all the standard WordPress features. The result is something like the WordPress.com experience, with of the addition the event management capabilities of RSVPMaker.
In addition to posting your events, you can promote them through the blog and build out other pages for details like speaker bios and your event agenda.
Sign Up Now
One trade-off is that you only get access to themes and plugins we have pre-approved. However, free plugins and themes from the wordpress.org repository will be made available, on request, contingent on the approval of our site administrator (meaning a review of code quality and web security concerns).
This offer does not include editorial, design, or technical services beyond provisioning a sudbomain website that you can manage yourself at rsvpmaker.com and keeping the software current. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to request additional consulting services.
The Volunteer Roles plugin is more generic and was designed to meet the needs of a client who needed to sign up members of a rifle range to fill roles such as range safety officer for a given shift.
Any active event oriented site that wants to get the most out of RSVPMaker should also understand its event templates functionality for creating and managing recurring events. Take a look at the video tutorial I’ve linked to below to understand how you can create and manage recurring events in RSVPMaker. The latest release supports more flexible scheduling to support scenarios like meetings scheduled on the first and third Monday, or every Monday and Wednesday.
I’m sharing this partly because I’m looking for a few new projects as a web developer, as well as a writer, editor, digital marketing consultant, and freelance technology evangelist. See more about my services at the Carr Communications website or connect with me on LinkedIn (mention RSVPMaker in your introduction). Do you have a project for me or an introduction to someone who would?
The RSVPMaker Volunteer Roles plugin is an extension to RSVPmaker for organizations that have a regular list of members whom they need to sign up for roles. By giving those members at least subscriber-level login credentials on … Continue reading →
One of my recent side projects has been updating a series of customizations I made to RSVPMaker for use by my Toastmasters club. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills, and I’m a past … Continue reading →
The RSVPMaker Volunteer Roles plugin is an extension to RSVPmaker for organizations that have a regular list of members whom they need to sign up for roles. By giving those members at least subscriber-level login credentials on the website, we can allow them to sign up for a role with one click — the software retrieves their name from their user profile.
Previously, I had created something very similar with RSVPMaker for Toastmasters (which you can learn much more about at the WordPress for Toastmasters website), except that version is very specific to the needs of those public speaking and professional development clubs. At Toastmasters, the need is to sign up people as speakers and for supporting roles such as timer and evaluator.
RSVPMaker Volunteer Roles is a general-purpose version of the same thing, which you might use to sign up representatives for to man a booth at a festival, for example. A consulting client who hired me to do some RSVPMaker customizations is using it to sign up members of a rifle range for roles such as range safety officer and also to track the hours that members contribute. Used in combination with RSVPMaker’s event templates feature, the volunteer signups plugin allows this group to recruit volunteers for a regular weekly schedule of events and track the hours that they contribute.
Instead of presenting members with the standard RSVPMaker form, we give them a series of buttons to click if they want to sign up for different roles. Using JQuery/Ajax techniques, I allow them to sign up with one click — no form submission / page refresh required — making it easier for people to sign up for multiple roles quickly.
Behind the scenes, the button labels and parameters are specified with a series of WordPress shortcodes (placeholder codes that are interpreted by the plugin when the page is displayed).
The count and hours parameters are optional. Count allows us to specify that multiple volunteer opportunities should be presented for a given role. The hours parameter lets us say how many hours of credit the volunteer should get for filling the role.
When this plugin is active, you can retrieve statistics on volunteer activities through the Volunteer Report and Volunteer History items under the RSVP Events on the administrator’s dashboard.
Volunteer opportunities can also be represented on a specialized version of the RSVPMaker Calendar, where a member can add himself to the volunteer roster for a given role by clicking the plus sign or withdraw by clicking the minus sign.
The shortcode for displaying this calendar is shown below.
[volunteer_calendar type=”optional-type-slug” ]
You can see a live demo of this example on the Volunteer Roles Demo page — use the credentials user: rsvpdemo, password: rsvpdemo to log in.
On the demo page, the calendar has set up to use an RSVPMaker event type to only display events for which there are volunteer opportunities, and the rsvpmaker_upcoming shortcode is also used to display a listing of those events below the calendar.
Version 3.2.1, released today, includes a new, more responsive format for the calendar display that should work better in some themes (including Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen) that have a relatively narrow content display area. It uses the CSS overflow:hidden parameter to make sure long event titles don’t stretch table cells. I’ve also included a bit of JQuery code to display the hidden details when you hover over a row in the calendar table.
If you are using custom CSS for the calendar, you may have to make some adjustments. If you find it doesn’t work well with a particular theme, let me know.
The RSVP Report function has also been updated to include an option for displaying data in an HTML table. It works similarly to the download to Excel function (which requires the additional RSVPMaker Excel plugin).
One of my recent side projects has been updating a series of customizations I made to RSVPMaker for use by my Toastmasters club. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills, and I’m a past club officer and current Area Governor (working with several local clubs).
If you’re reading this in mid-October 2014, consider signing into my tutorial webinar.
This may or may not develop into code I release as a plugin — for now, I’m trying my hand at the software as a service business model over at wp4toastmasters.com.
Possibly some aspects of this work could find their way back into RSVPMaker if you see additional uses for certain features. Instead of collecting RSVPs, the thing we want to accomplish with Toastmasters meetings is to sign people up for specific roles. Since this is a membership organization, people log in and identify themselves rather than typing in their names etc. Recently, I’ve been exploring ways of turning the data gathered through using the system into reports to help club officers guide their members through the educational program. You can see a bit of how it works in the video below.
I’ve been enhancing RSVPMaker event templates with features that are useful for my own projects and hopefully yours.
Creating and updating events based on a template
In the example here, I create a template for an event that happens every Sunday. RSVPMaker prompts me to create a series of events based on the projected schedule, which I can do selectively or by checking all. I check all and create a whole batch.
I still have the freedom to customize events individually, so I add details about a guest speaker to one particular event.
Now, when I update the template to change the boilerplate details, I have the option of updating all the existing events. I check all, but then omit the event I previously customized — preferring to go back and update that one individually.
This basic functionality has been in the last couple of versions of RSVPMaker, but the latest release does a little better job of integrating the editing of the template with the prompt to add or update individual event listings.
I’ve added an option for embedding a single event in a page or post, using the rsvpmaker_upcoming shortcode and the new attribute “one” — containing either the slug, the ID # for the event or the word “next” for the next event on your calendar. This works in RSVPMaker 3.0.5 and higher.
This would be a typical event setup for my son’s cub scout pack, a 3-day event with RSVPs requested and families encouraged to pay online via PayPal.
You can step through the RSVP process to see how the prompt to pay online appears after the user enters basic information. If you click the link to pay, you will be redirected to the Cub Scout Pack 179’s PayPal checkout page (the integration is live, so don’t complete a payment unless you really do want to make a donation).
Your club holds monthly or weekly meetings and you want to display just the next one upcoming on the front page of your website.
You have a big event that might be a couple of months away, but you want people to start signing up for it now — even though on the calendar, it might be way down the list. So you use this technique to highlight it on the front page of your site or in a post that will appear at the top of your blog.
If RSVPs are turned on for the event, and the event is still in the future, the RSVP Now! button will be displayed. If someone views an old blog post that includes the embedded event for which the date has gone past, the button will not be displayed.
This is an update on the shortcodes available for customizing your RSVP form. These are not normally used in the body of the post as they are below but in the form template you can establish on a global basis in the settings screen and customize on a per event basis.
Option to customize the RSVP form for a specific post.
The default form is laid out in a table, but you’re welcome to use another formatting scheme that fits with the theme for your site.
I’ve gotten some requests to support additional common HTML codes, so checkboxes and radio buttons have been added.
Sample Custom Fields
For example if I want to add the following input fields …
Nickname for badge:
I will volunteer to help with setup and cleanup.
… I would specify them in the editor like this (bold added for emphasis).
Nickname for badge: [rsvpfield textfield="nickname"][rsvpfield checkbox="volunteer" value="yes"] I will volunteer to help with setup and cleanup.
Food choice: [rsvpfield selectfield="food" options="steak,chicken,vegetarian" selected="chicken"]
[rsvpfield radio="drink" options="beer,wine,soda" checked="wine"]
BlueBroward.org is a community website for South Florida Democrats, and the events template/additional editors functions I added in recent releases was built around the requirement for multiple Democratic club officers and multiple campaign representatives to be able to able to collaborate on managing a series of recurring events or working together on a campaign. Previously, I used some other crude hacks to achieve that effect, but I’ve been working to get the site in synch with the main RSVPMaker codebase as much as possible.
The BlueBroward.org implementation of RSVPMaker is extensively customized, using the same customization technique I make available to all developers. The campaign listings function is not part of RSVPMaker but I have it using the same method of allowing users to designate other users as “additional editors” (even though they are authors rather than editors under the WordPress editing rights scheme). The email notifications are also custom.
I share this not because of anything to do with the politics involved but to show what’s possible with RSVPMaker and particularly the event templates functionality.