Caldera Forms: What they are and how to use them with WordPress and CiviCRM

Caldera Forms is a WordPress plugin that needs to be installed and activated to use with your WordPress site. Once installed, you can create forms to set up automated marketing communications and alerts, incorporate payment processors for smooth transactions, and set up custom processes.

How to create a Caldera form

Once you click into Caldera Forms which can be seen in your WordPress side menu, select new form, followed by blank form. 

This will then take you to ‘Layout Builder’ where you can set the fields needed for your forms. When you set up the different fields there is an option to check if this field is required to be completed or not. 

If you make a field required, then users will not be able to submit the form without providing this information. For example, if this is an email sign-up form, then the email address field should be required. 


Tutorial Part 1 - How to set up Caldera Forms on WordPress 


Types of form fields 

The standard Caldera Form fields, under the ‘basic’ tab, can be in the format of a single line of text, email address, buttons, phone numbers, paragraph of text, rich editor, and URL for web links.

There are also specific categories for eCommerce, content, file sharing, selections, and other special field functionality.


Naming fields 

Although the field type you choose may reflect the name of the information needed, e.g. email address, a name will still need to be provided for each field. 

As the field name will be visible to users who complete the form, it must clearly explain what information they’re expected to provide. If this is longer than a couple of words, then there is a description field to add more clarity. 


Making your form usable 

Once you have added all of the fields for your form, you will need to add a button field so that users can submit the form. Without this, the form won’t work properly, so don’t forget! 

Form design

In the layout builder, you can customise the look of your form by dragging and dropping fields into your desired order. Plus, you can display fields side-by-side or stacked on top of one another.    


Form Settings

Form settings can be found in the top Caldera Forms menu, here you can get the shortcode for your form to place on a website and customise the way that the form operates. 

A success message can be written to show users once a form has been submitted, it’s a nice touch to thank them and make it clear that the submission has been received. 

Plus, to prevent users from submitting the same form multiple times, it’s advised to enable the hiding of forms after submission. 


Putting the Form on your Website 

Placing the form on your website is quick and easy with the WordPress block editor. Just add a new block and choose ‘Caldera form’ from the options, then pick your form from the drop-down menu. 

Alternatively, if you have a different WordPress setup, then you will need to add a shortcode block and copy and paste the shortcode (found in form settings). 


Tutorial Part 2 - How to connect Caldera Forms on WordPress 


Connecting your Form to CiviCRM 

 To link up your Caldera form to CiviCRM, go back into the Caldera Forms tab in the WordPress side menu and click edit on the desired form. This will take you back into the layout builder. 

In order to determine what activity you would like CiviCRM to perform when forms are completed, you will need to add a new processor in the processors tab.   

Here you will find multiple processor options including automated emails which can be used as an auto-response or conditional for the type of recipient, event registration activity, membership creation or renewal, and more. The possibilities are endless!

If you take a look at Circle developer Jade's tutorial she chooses the CiviCRM contact processor to create or edit a contact record once the form has been filled in.     

Once you’ve chosen the processor there are further options to customise the way that data is recorded. For example, within the contact processor, you can define which data fields are processed for each contact. 

We hope that this guide has helped you to understand the magic of Caldera Forms and how they can be used with WordPress and CiviCRM. If you would like to see more of our step-by-step tutorials, head over to our YouTube channel.

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