Manage the organisation name field on forms

Whenever you choose to display the Organisation name field on a form you pave the way for organisation contact records to be created in the database whenever these forms are submitted by end-users. If you don't use this option careful it can have unintended consequences. This article is designed to help you understand the best way to configure your forms.

Custom forms

Custom forms are useful for general enquiries, applications, surveys, referrals etc. You should always use such forms carefully as they can attract spam submissions or slightly untidy submissions from real people. Always think carefully about the fields you display and require, especially the organisation name field. Make sure you have a really good reason why you want these form submissions to create an organisation contact record and link it with the person. If you're not careful you can end up with lots of duplicate or untidy organisation contact records serving very little purpose.

Instead of displaying the organisation name field consider whether it might serve your purposes better to create a custom field with a list of types of organisations. This may be more helpful data than acquiring hundreds of individual organisation names.

We don't usually recommend displaying the organisation name field on custom forms.

Event booking forms

Event booking forms are far less prone to spam or low-value submissions because there is often a transaction involved. People tend to be more careful about submitting these forms. However, there are other challenges. People can book tickets for themselves and for other people and filling in details on behalf of others can be tricky.

Therefore, we do not usually recommend displaying the organisation name field on event booking forms.

Individual membership forms

It is often important to know the specific organisation that a person belongs to if they are subscribing as a member. In many cases, this is an important eligibility criterion. Displaying the organisation name field on individual membership forms can lead to lots of duplication as different people type the name of the same organisation in lots of different ways.

If knowing the specific organisation to which your members belong is important to you then you can change the organisation name field from a free text field to a drop-down field. In this case, people submitting the form would only be able to choose the name of an organisation that is already on the list. For this to work well, you really need to have already imported a fairly exhaustive list of organisations to which your members can belong so that they appear in the list. 

To change how the field is displayed go to Contacts > Organisations and then go to Actions > Form input type. Here you can change how the field appears on ALL FORMS on your website.

Organisation membership forms

If you primarily offer organisational membership you will almost certainly need to keep the form field configured as Free text. The organisation name field is always displayed and required on organisation membership forms so it doesn't work to have a dropdown list if the person's organisation is not present on that list. They need to be able to type it in to create a new organisation contact record.

Using multiple form types

If you offer both individual and organisation membership, or you need to use multiple types of form then you will probably need to stick with the free text option for this field and manually merge duplicate organisation contacts as they arise.

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