What You Can Do With RSVPMaker

I developed the RSVPMaker plugin to serve the event scheduling needs of multiple volunteer organizations, political campaigns, and professional groups I have worked with. It attempts to address many of the common requirements of these groups, while still leaving a great deal of flexibility for customization.

RSVPMaker Event Editor
RSVPMaker Event Editor

The plugin uses the custom post types feature introduced in WordPress 3.0 to treat events differently from other types of posts, while letting you create and edit them using the same basic WordPress editing tools. The event editor essentially looks like the blog editor, but with a few extra options for specifying dates, times, and RSVP options.

You can then create an events listing on your website with the events listed in chronological order, as opposed to blog style reverse chronological order by the date of publication.

You can modify the RSVP form to ask for more or fewer details, according to your preference. The sample RSVP form used on this website is an abbreviated one, but sometimes you may want to collect more complete contact information. For example, the Florida political campaigns I’ve worked with are required to collect full contact information plus the employer and occupation of everyone who attends a fundraiser.

Features of RSVPMaker:

  • Use the standard WordPress editor to enter and style text and upload images.
  • Set one or more dates to be associated with your event.
  • Specify just a start time, both a start time and an end time, or don’t include the time at all in the headline (for example, an all-day event where you will list the schedule details in the body of the event description).
  • Request RSVPs, if desired. Set one or more email addresses to be sent a notification as RSVPs come in.
  • Configure the default details to be included with new events. For example, if a group has a standard meeting place, you can have the boilerplate details with the address and a map link for directions included by default. You can specify whether RSVPs should be requested by default, if you want that most of the time, or only turn on RSVPs when needed, and you can set a default email address for RSVP notifications to be sent to.
  • Prompt attendees to choose one or more specific timeslots (example: signing up volunteers for shifts on a petition drive or bake sale).
  • Request online payments via PayPal. Set pricing to be calculated according to the number of participants in one or more categories (for example, a different price for members and non-members or children versus adults). Some manual setup required for PayPal configuration.
  • Modify the plugin’s default behavior by overriding functions. The plugin checks for a custom.php file (sample included) installed in the plugins/rsvpmaker/ directory, which you can use to substitute your own functions for things like the fields to be included in the RSVP form or the logging of attendee responses.
  • Display listings on an events page, or put an abbreviated list on your home page, using the RSVPMaker Shortcodes. A widget for displaying upcoming events in your blog sidebar is also provided.

I use RSVPMaker in conjunction with another plugin for integration with the MailChimp broadcast email service, which is not yet ready for public release. However, if you copy and paste an RSVPMaker event into the MailChimp editor, you will find that the RSVP Now links are coded according to the MailChimp merge language with a ?e=*|EMAIL|* parameter that will be substituted with the recipient’s email address. When a recipient who has previously RSVP’ed clicks on this link, RSVPMaker will check to see if we have that user’s details on file so we don’t have to ask for them again. This is particularly useful for longer RSVP forms that ask for more details.

Help wanted: This plugin has served my purposes, but I’m sure there is room for improvement. I have not yet invested in things like localization. I’ve tried to follow best practices for web application security, but I would welcome any suggestions about how to make it better.