Custom Token Development for AACT: Automating Thank You Emails with CiviCRM

The American Association of Community Theatre is a nonprofit organization that supports community theaters across the country. AACT relies on the open-source Constituent Relationship Management system CiviCRM to manage its donor relationships and track contributions. However, the out-of-the-box functionality of CiviCRM did not meet AACT's needs for sending thank you emails to donors who made contributions that included both membership dues and additional donations.

Specifically, AACT wanted to send automatic email notifications to users based on actions they take, such as making a donation. AACT's donations usually come in as "Additional Donations" along with annual membership dues. The contribution amount is split into multiple line items, where the membership dues make up most of the amount, and a smaller amount represents the donation. AACT wanted to send a message template that says "thank you for your $30 donation!" while ignoring the $350 membership dues line item in the same contribution.

To achieve this functionality, AACT worked with Skvare, a web development company specializing in open-source technologies. Skvare developed custom functionality for AACT that involved creating a custom token to add the desired functionality to the system. Tokens are used in CiviCRM to reference data fields, which can then be used in message templates.

Skvare developed a custom token that represents the donation amount in a contribution, even when multiple line items are present. This token allowed AACT to use the message template they wanted and accurately display the donation amount in the email notification.

Photo of the custom token being used in a workflow email to donors to AACT

Skvare's custom token works by searching through all the line items in a contribution and finding the line item with the "Additional Donation" label and returning the amount as the donation amount, which can be used in the email notification.

With Skvare's custom functionality in place, AACT can send automated thank you emails to donors that accurately reflect the donation amount, regardless of other line items in the contribution. This custom functionality has saved AACT time and improved the accuracy of their donor communications allowing AACT to focus on building stronger relationships with their donor.

Featured image credits: Keeping Mr. Lincoln, by Sandra Fenichel Asher, performed by the Academy of Children's Theatre from Richland, Washington, at AACT YouthFest 2019 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
photo by Paola Nogueras

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