This plugin is the result of a plugin I developed for one of my clients, Power to the People Kauai, a voter education and empowerment organization on the island of Kauai. The purpose of the plugin is to make it possible to build and maintain a large list of supporters, constituents and volunteers. For P2P Kauai (and many other organizations) it is very helpful to have a database of people that the organization can use to organize volunteer efforts, petition drives, send announcements and newsletters and other functions. This plugin is designed to play well with offline sources such as signup sheets and spreadsheet applications.
This database could be of use to any organization that needs to build and maintain lists of constituents, supporters, members, volunteers, etc. for any purpose. It is designed to be easy to use and serve multiple purposes, with several very powerful features to customize it’s functionality to the needs of your organization, club, sports team, or any other large group of people.
This plugin has also been used to catalog businesses, items in a collection, and other things. Where this plugin is different from other cataloging plugins is it’s ability to allow site users to add content.
Some of the features of the Participants Database Plugin:
- fully configurable database for holding any kind of information about people (or anything, really!)
- customizable forms for collecting and maintaining records
- shortcode for inserting a configurable sign-up short form into WordPress pages, posts, etc.
- completing the sign-up form can direct visitors to another page for a thank you message or reward
- shortcode for inserting a full-length form for people to fill out and maintain their own records
- shortcode for displaying the list on the site, including the ability to select and order columns to display, sorting and filtering rules to dertermine which records are shown and in what order
- email notification and confirmation with secure individual access link
- email notification when a user edits a record
- search-able, sortable record listings in the WordPress admin
- many form elements to choose from including dropdowns, checkboxes, radio buttons, image upload, etc.
- export CSV files for interacting with other databases, mass email, print records
- import CSV files to add large numbers of records from spreadsheets such as Open Office or Google Docs
- form can be organized into groups of fields, making long forms easier to navigate and fill out
- all shortcodes use a template that can be user-configured to match the look and functionality of your website
The heart of this plugin is the participants database, which is completely configurable. It comes pre-filled with standard fields such as name, address, phone, etc., but you can define any fields you want, including the type of field, validation, help text and a print title for each field. Fields are also organized into groups so large amounts of information can be better managed, and long forms broken up into logical sections.
Fields can be defined as text-lines, text-areas, rich text, single and multiple-select dropdowns, checkboxes, radio buttons, image uploads and more. Each field has its own validation which can be required, not required, or validated with a regular expression.
Each shortcode uses a template to control it’s presentation. It’s possible to create custom templates, even multiple templates that can be selected by the shortcode. Several example templates are included with the plugin to help get you started. Templates are a great place to add extra functionality to the plugin. More on that here…
Sign Up Form
The plugin provides a shortcode for a sign-up form that presents a customizable subset of the fields for a quick signup. For example, your signup form could ask only for a name and email address, creating an easy point-of-entry for new members, supporters or volunteers. The signup can generate two emails: one to an administrator to notify them of the signup, and also to the person signing up. Their email can contain a link to their full record, which they can return and fill out at their leisure. This full form (which is placed on the website with another shortcode) can include any information you want to collect from your signups.
This is where people who have signed up can fill in any additional information about themselves you wish to collect. It can be additional demographic info, survey questions, what they would be willing to offer in support. This form is accessible to the signups via an individual link containing an ID number, which is emailed to them when they sign up. They don’t need to register as a user or enter a password, they just need the link.
Display the list on your website with the
[pdb_list] shortcode. You can determine which fields get shown, and for long lists, the list can be broken up into pages. You can specify which records get displayed and in what order. Optionally, search and sorting controls can be displayed.
[pdb_single] shortcode any individual record can be displayed by including the ID of the record in the URL. A template file formats the output of the shortcode. You can set up the list display to include a link to this page for any record.
Admin List Records
For your backend users, the ability to edit and enter new records is provided. This backend form can also contain administrative fields that won’t be visible to the front-end (not logged-in) user, so organization staff can keep internal records of volunteer activities, availability, contributions, personal notes, etc.
The backend form is set up for rapid manual entry of multiple records, such as after a signup drive, doorbelling, or public event.
All records can be exported as a CSV-formatted text file that can be read by spreadsheet applications and used for mass email campaigns, hard-copy lists, and other applications. The records exported can be filtered by column values: for instance, only people who have consented to receive a newsletter will be included. Records may also be sorted by any column. Which fields are included in the export/import is determined by the “CSV” column of the field definition.
Records can also be mass-imported with a CSV file, allowing you to use existing lists from spreadsheets, or for offline compilation of records using a spreadsheet such as Open Office or Google Docs. A blank spreadsheet can be exported from the plugin to get people started in entering records offline.
A CSV export is not the same as a database backup. It is for the purpose of interfacing the plugin database with other applications and does not include plugin setup information.