Add RSVP Registration to Your Toastmasters Meetings

There are lots of reasons you might want to add an events registration form to your Toastmasters club website, but I am writing this in the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as many clubs are moving to meeting online, at least temporarily.

RSVP Now! button on my home club’s website

If you allow guests into your online meetings, registering them in advance gives you a way of following up with them after the meeting. Also, registration allows you to send the online meeting details as part of the event confirmation rather than listing it publicly on your website. This may be at least a mild deterrent to bad behavior by online meeting guests (particularly those who may be using automated tools to scan the web in search of Zoom links).

For offline meetings, registration might still be a good way of building a guest registry through your website and providing details like directions and meeting logistics like what to tell the security guard if you meet at a location where that’s an issue.

The WordPress for Toastmasters solution includes RSVPMaker, a tool made just for this purpose. All you have to do is turn it on.

Turning on RSVP registration

The option to collect RSVPs (registrations) for your meetings can be turned on from a sidebar of the editor screen or from a separate RSVP / Event Options screen.

If you are turning this on for all your upcoming meetings (until things change), you will want to make this as a change to the template for your standard meeting event. Event templates define the basic organization of your events, as well as your recurring meeting schedule (Every Monday at 7 pm). You then use the template to create or update the event posts for specific dates (April 6, 2020 at 7 pm).

See also the timezone display options if you’ll be inviting attendees from outside your local area.

You can navigate from viewing or editing specific events to editing the event template using the administrative menu at the top of the screen. Clicking Edit RSVP Event in the example below would take me into the editor for the event I’m viewing, but Edit Template takes me into the editor for the template.

In addition to turning on Collect RSVPs, you may want to edit the form people fill out when they register and the confirmation displayed on screen and emailed to the address supplied on the registration.

The form and the confirmation message are both represented as documents you can edit in the WordPress editor. You can navigate to these supporting documents by following links also displayed in that black bar menu at the top of the screen.

When you are editing one of those documents, the black bar menu shows links for navigating back to the “parent” event — in this case, the template.

These options can also be accessed from the editor sidebar. Click on the calendar icon in the upper right of the screen to see all the options.

Sidebar options for the RSVP form
Sidebar links for reminders

Once you have the form and confirmation message the way you want them, go back to the template and create or update future events to reflect those settings.

The Create / Update link is displayed within templates

Watch the video embedded above to see the process of turning on RSVPs for all your events from beginning to end.

Finally, if you would like to advertise the RSVP function on your home page, as I’ve done for my home club’s website, you can use the RSVPMaker Embed Event block.

Adding the RSVPMaker Embed Event block

The WordPress editor represents all sorts of content — paragraphs, images, video and so on — as blocks of content with options for that content type. This event block is a custom one added by RSVPMaker.

You add a block by clicking on the ⊕ button — which is displayed at the top left of the editor screen but also appears floating in the margins next to any blank line or between any two blocks, depending on where you have your mouse pointer.

The video also briefly shows how to edit the RSVP Form, which uses custom blocks to represent text blanks and other form fields. See this post on the RSVPMaker website for more details on customizing the form.

If you find this feature useful, let me know.

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