(Advanced) Forms: Bring data in through your form, without mapping a field, by setting a default or rule

In this article:

What is a default?

When you are collecting form submissions, it's often the case that information you need to have in Little Green Light is not provided in the submission. For example, you may have a "Mobile Phone" field, which collects a phone number. You can map the phone number field in your form to the "Phone Number" field in LGL, but the form submission does not provide a value to map for setting the "Phone" type in LGL.

Using a default, or rule, in your form mapping can be a great solution to this issue. With a default value in the mapping, you don’t have to code hidden fields in your form and set the values in there or add extraneous fields to your form that will appear out of context for whoever is filling out the form. Instead, you can set up a default to accomplish that for all submissions.

Another good example of a typical default is setting gift attributes that the donor would not be able to supply but which are critical to your reporting and stewardship activities, such as a particular campaign or a gift acknowledgment letter template.

So setting a default is a way to set a global rule. It is an additional setting you can create within the field mapping for a particular "record" in a form (such as Gift #1) that causes additional data to be generated for that form submission each time the form is sent to LGL for integration.

You can also think about default settings in much the same way you would about a Microsoft Word template—every time you open the template, it always contains the same settings. The same is true for defaults. Once you set them, they are always there, generating the same data each time your form is submitted.

What’s great about defaults is that they allow you to bring data you choose in through your form without having to make the update in the record manually once it has been saved into LGL. You can set the default and forget it, knowing that the correct data will be generated each time the form is submitted. Defaults help make your data as complete as possible with the least amount of extra work. This not only keeps your form simpler for whoever is submitting it, it also helps to minimize your workload.

Note: You can also use conditional defaults if you assign different defaults depending on the content of other fields in the submission. This allows you to apply the conditional defaults so they are set only in specific instances.

When is the best time to use a default?

A default is useful in the following cases:

  • When you need information with each form submission but you don’t have a field in your form to collect it (in other words, the person submitting the form is not providing it)
  • When you don’t want to type the information into the record after it has been submitted to LGL 

The best time to use a default depends on what you want your data to look like in LGL. To determine what data you want to bring in with each of your submissions, think about how you will want to query on the data and what you will want to report on.

Sometimes there is no good way to collect data through your form other than by using a default. Keeping an eye toward how you want the data to end up in LGL (if, for example, there are one or more gift attributes that you want each gift to have), you can cause that data to be created for every submission by using a default.

Common examples of defaults

  • When mapping gifts that you want to assign the same attribute to each time - Set the campaign, fund, appeal, gift category, payment type, event, gift acknowledgment letter template, or any other global setting for gifts (You can set defaults for as many attributes on a gift as it is possible to set within Little Green Light.)
  • When mapping address, email address, or phone number - If you want to give the new piece of contact information a “preferred” status, you can set a default to do so
  • Collecting data such as phone type - Say you want to collect home phone and work phone, adding the phone type to the form mapping would be an extra step for the donor to take. Instead, you can ask for the cell phone and then add a default for “phone number type” = “Cell”, a more user-friendly experience
  • Adding membership end dates - When you’re mapping the start date from the submission date, put in a default for the end date and set it to add one year
  • When setting up mapping for events - Make sure “Gen. Event Name” and “RSVP Status” are both set as defaults so that the event name and the submitter’s RSVP status are captured
  • When setting custom constituent categories - For example, in a volunteer form, set a default to tag all those who submit the form as volunteers
  • When creating tasks and contact reports - You can set a default for the type of task and the type of contact report
  • Adding tasks “behind the scenes” - There are some cases in which all of the data you would collect for the task would be captured through defaults because you want to take action based on the task type or the size of the gift, for example

Important: If you add a default, remember that it will create the data upon submission of the form in every case, unless you use a conditional default.

Example: Use a default to create a task to place a thank you call for every donation over $500

When you want to add a task "behind the scenes" for every gift submission that exceeds a certain amount, you can set up a default to accomplish this.

To add the default, first add a task record to the mapping (click the Add record type button), and then set defaults for all of the fields (task name, task due date, task type, etc).

For the due date, you can type text such as "tomorrow" or "next week" into the Default Value field to add a relative due date in the future.

Using a record-level rule to set a conditional value for multiple defaults

Instead of setting the conditional “greater than” gift amount on each default statement as shown in the example above (which is an option), you can also set a record-level rule for the mapping as a whole. This allows you to set the conditional rule once rather than needing to set it in each default that you add, if you are using multiple defaults in one mapping in your form.  

Please refer to the screenshot below to see how you can use the record-level rule to only apply the defaults if the gift amount being submitted is greater than "499".

While the example above is specific to tasks, that same approach can be used for any kind of record. It's also very useful when mapping additional guests for an event, for instance.