Texas Archeological Society

Scope: 

Site Building
Customer Database (CRM)
Custom Features
Visual Design
Training & Documentation
Web Hosting
Maintenance & Support

Introduction

The Texas Archeological Society (TAS) is an organization that brings together Professional and Avocational Archeologists. Together they promote scientific archeological research, public education, and the preservation of Texas’ history and its prehistoric past. The organization, which was founded in 1929, has annual memberships that vary between 1,100 and 1,500 and offers special publications and newsletters to its members as well as various events such as their three day Annual Meeting, an annual get together that includes a banquet with a nationally prominent speaker, and Field School events that provide training archeological techniques such as excavation, survey methods, and special training for newcomers and teachers.

Challenges

As the organization grew, systems and process for managing the various functions of their organization became disjointed and required a lot of additional resources to keep them organized. Online donations and membership dues were collecting payment information offsite at an Authorize.net page with no branding, registering for events required printing and mailing a completed form with payment, and the look and feel of the site was very outdated and difficult to navigate. The previous version of their website was not housed in a content management system (CMS) which made it very difficult to update and resulted in additional fees from their web development vendor. In 2017, the organization was ready for a facelift and relieve themselves from the unnecessary man hours, development fees, and bring everything together into one system.

Solutions

To solve TAS’s challenges, Skvare created a new responsive website with Drupal 7 integrated with Drupal Commerce and  CiviCRM. Drupal’s content management system allows content to be broken out into various content types with specific fields, which makes it easy for a website administrator to create / modify content. It also has built-in user roles and permissions feature which allows different types of users, such as TAS members and board members, to have access to content that the general public cannot access. Drupal Commerce allows the organization to sell printed copies of their old bulletins dating all the way back to 1959. CiviCRM manages their memberships, online donations, event registrations, and email marketing. With the new system they now have all of the organization’s data housed within the website that can be managed easily from employees / volunteers in the organization.

Key Features

Event Registration with CiviCRM Entity

CiviCRM has a complete event management system that allows users to register for an event, pay for registration fees, sends emails to users and admins after registration is complete, and works with the Scheduled Reminders feature to email the users prior to the event start date. If the person registering for the event is new to the site, a contact record is created in CiviCRM and the event details are associated with their record. If a person is already a member of the website and is logged in when they complete the event registration form, their contact info will be automatically populated in the registration fields and the event details will be tied to their existing contact record. Admins can run Participant reports and export a list of registered users to a CSV file, a PDF, or print directly from the report screen in CiviCRM. Out of the box, CiviCRM gives you an event info page that lists all of the details of the event, and a separate registration page. The registration page can be customized with Javascript and CSS, but overall isn’t very flexible and easy to change.

TAS needed more flexibility with the layout and design of their event pages. The solution was CiviCRM Entity. CiviCRM Entity is a Drupal module that exposes CiviCRM entities as true Drupal entities, meaning you can manipulate CiviCRM data as you would with any other Drupal page. This module allows us to combine the event information page with the registration page so users don’t have to click a “Register” button to sign up for the event. Fewer clicks mean a higher conversion rate! CiviCRM Entity also allowed us to create tabs to house even more information related to the event. For example, nearby lodging, restaurants, recommended readings, and more.

BTAS store searchable by Articles and Authors

Skvare utilized Drupal Commerce to allow users to purchase printed bulletins that contain educational articles written by various archaeologists and other industry thought leaders. Drupal Commerce works with a wide variety of Drupal modules including everyone’s favorite module, Views. With Views, we can list out all of the details saved in the Drupal Commerce product content type just like we would a regular Drupal content type. The challenge for TAS was that their users were usually searching for a specific topic or an article that was written by a specific person. They often had no idea what volume contained the article they were looking for. Drupal Commerce requires you to set up a product type, which contains information such as SKU and Price, and a separate Content Type which contains information about the product and then reference the product SKU. To allow for Articles and Authors to be searchable, we created a new content type, Publication Articles, and added an Inline Entity Form field to our main product content type. When adding details about the individual volumes, TAS admins can enter the article details in the same form and the article details are stored as separate entities. This allows us to expose filters that allow the user to search for an Article Title or Author of an article and return the volume that contains that article.

Self-Servicing Family Memberships

The Texas Archeological Society has several different types of memberships that they offer. In most cases, organizations offer memberships to individuals and require each person to sign up for the own membership. However, CiviCRM is also set up to inherit memberships between related contacts. This can be set up by the website admin by navigating to the contact record of the person with a membership, clicking on the relationship tab, and then selecting another contact. This can sometimes be tedious and time consuming for an organization’s staff, so why not allow the members to add family members themselves? For the new TAS website, users can do this from the My Account section of the site. The membership type is checked and if they have a Family membership, a special section appears that allows them to add additional household members. They simply click the link to add additional members, fill out the form, and a new CiviCRM contact is created in the system, with a relationship to the Primary Member, and the family membership is inherited for the new contact.  

Thanks to CiviCRM Entity, after a related member has been added to the user’s account, we can tap into the related members’ CiviCRM contact record on the event registration page. If you refer back to our screenshot of the custom CiviCRM Entity event page above, you will notice a field called “related member.” If a member already has related members added to their account, the drop-down field is populated with each member's names. The user can select the related member and the form fields will be auto-populated with details from the person’s contact record to speed up the registration process for each additional participant.

Special Permissions Based on User Roles

Aside from members and website administrators, TAS has other types of users that visit the site and need access to special pieces of content. For example, there are Board Members that need access to Board Meeting Minutes and Executive Committees that need access to their own reports. Utilizing Drupal’s built-in user roles and permissions feature, we can assign different roles to an individual user and grant access to only the reports those types of members should see.

Conclusion

The new Texas Archeological Society website is much more than a website with information about the organization with a new look and feel. It is a robust system that provides a central place where the organization houses all of their information - membership data, meeting reports, event registration, and sales of their printed bulletins. Having a single place to access their information has saved a tremendous amount of time for their staff and volunteers and also automated several activities that were handled manually.