At SYSTOPIA, we have developed a large set of CiviCRM extensions, Drupal modules and other tools over the years. Currently, we are actively maintaining or co-maintaining over 60 repositories. Unfortunately, sharing knowledge about all the goodness with the community has notoriously fallen short. With this series of blog posts, we want to change that a little. Thanks for reading on!
What is this extension about?
Custom Event Communication is, first and foremost, about making your automatted email exchange with event participants easier to handle and to provide a better experience to your constituents. While the core event functionality includes automatic email messages, it can be a daunting task to customize them to your needs and wishes. That's because all the case logic, formatting and content happens in just one huge message template, which naturally is packed with Smarty syntax and other stuff that is hard to read, edit and maintain. If you ever had to modify that template, you probably know what I am talking about.
Our extension provides an alternative approach to event communication and aims to also let non-technical users easily customize their participant messages for each event.
Who is it for?
It's a powerful and accessible tool for people who work with events and want to automat their communication with participants. It can make your life a lot easier for many use cases, although it might not cover every single scenario you can think of.
How do you use it?
Once installed, the extension adds a new tab to your event configuration. There, you can disable the default event messages from CiviCRM and define your own rules, based on participant status transition and other criteria.
This could be something like: "When a participant status is changed from pending to confirmed, send an email based on the template 'My participant confirmation'." You could also restrict that rule to participants with a certain role, or based on their preferred language. Thus you can, for many use cases, keep case logic out of your message templates.
Hint: If you use similar communication patterns in multiple events, you should consider using event templates to have your communication rules already pre-configured.
Are there additional or advanced features?
Yes, the extension also adds participant search actions that make event and participant related data accessible.
You could also add SYSTOPIA's MailAttachment and CiviOffice extensions. This would enable you to add personalized pdf attachments based on docx files, or other attachments. For example, you might send an email with a personalized certificate of participation attached when the participant status is updated to "participated" after the event.
Any last words?
If you work with CiviCRM events, this is not the only SYSTOPIA extension worth looking at. A comprehensive, though not completely up-to-date write-up (in German) of what can be achieved with our event tools can be found here. The above-mentioned CiviOffice is also worth a look for many other communication-related use cases. In further episodes of SYSTOPIA Extension Of The Month, we will also look into some of those tools in more detail.
Last but not least: This is free software, and it's hard and often unpaid work to develop and maintain it. If you find it useful, please consider making a financial contribution. You can reach us at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to get in touch with us for any questions or feedback.
Thanks for starting this blog series, @mpeth , and for all the extensions that Systopia authors and maintains! It makes me think that JMA and other CiviCRM shops should also share information about useful extensions we have published.