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Superhighways offers advice, training and IT support to help small charities and community organisations across London be more effective, raise their profile and demonstrate their impact using digital technology.

Use this Guide to learn how to create a basic database and web form to collect and store the details of people who would like to join a group. Airtable is a free database tool that has a free plan and doesn't need any coding skills. 

Steps to using Airtable to sign people up

Choose what information you will need to collect in order for people to join your group. Think about:

  • Name, so that you can identify them

  • Email address, so that you can contact them

  • Phone, if you need to have a conversation with them

  • Town or area, if your group has a regional focus

Don’t ask for details that you don’t need. Asking for unnecessary data could violate the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). People are also more likely to fill out the form if it isn’t too long.

Superhighways help small charities and community organisations in London. They offer advice and training about using digital tools as well as IT support. They also host user groups where people can talk about the software that they use, including Airtable.

Airtable allows people to build their own database. It’s very flexible and you can integrate it with other ‘low code, no code’ tools and services. It has a free plan and a nonprofit discount for the paid plan.

Sign up to Airtable. Create a new blank base and a new table within it. Give your base and your table names.

In your table, add a column (a ‘field’) for each of the pieces of information you will collect when people join your group, such as their name and email address. 

Think about the type of data in each field and choose a field type that matches it. For example multiple choice when there are different options, or a simple checkbox.

Superhighways created their user group table with the following fields:

  • First name

  • Second name

  • Organisation name

  • Whether the organisation delivers services in London

  • Email address

  • Which user group the person would like to join

  • How they are currently using the software

  • Email list sign up

All of these fields are optional except for email address. Superhighways used several different field types in their table, such as multiple choice, a checkbox, single line text boxes, and a large text box.

In the Views sidebar menu, under Create, select Form. Give your form a name, such as ‘Group sign ups’. The form will be populated with the fields from your table. Using the form builder, you can:

  • Hide fields that you don’t want to appear on the form

  • Give alternative names to fields that appear on the form so they make more sense for people filling them in (for example, you can turn them into questions).

  • Mark questions as ‘required’

  • Add help text

  • Write a message to appear on the page when the form is submitted

  • Switch on email notifications for when someone completes the form.

Make sure to test your form.

Superhighways used the fields in their table to create a simple web form. They added some help text and rewrote some of the field names as questions to make the form clear and easy to use. The only required answer was 'Your email', as that is the most important piece of information they need.

You might want more than one person in your organisation to get a notification email when somebody completes the form. You can set this up using Airtable’s automations.

As the trigger for your new automation by selecting ‘When a form is submitted’. In the trigger details sidebar select the table and form you have created.

  • Then select ‘Send email’. You can specify:
  • A main email address

  • CC and BCC email addresses

  • Subject line

  • Message contents (including data submitted through the form)

  • Whether to forward any attachments.

Remember to test your new automation and then switch it on.

If your organisation has an Airtable Pro account, you can create other automatic actions. For example, sending a confirmation email to the person who filled out the form.

Setting up an automation to send Superhighways staff different emails when different forms are submitted.

When someone completes a group sign up form, the person who looks after the group gets an email notification with a copy of the form contents. This means they can welcome them to the group and send them details of the next meeting without having to log in to Airtable.

When it’s ready you can share your form through a link, or by embedding it on a webpage.

It is possible to add a logo and branding to the form if you share it through a link. But your organisation will need to have the Airtable Pro plan to use this feature.

Under ‘Share form’ choose ‘Embed this view’ to see a preview of how the form will look embedded on your webpage. You can copy the embed code from this page and paste it into the HTML of your webpage (depending on your website's CMS you may be able to more simply paste it into a text section of your page instead). This will create an iframe which displays the form in the page. This allows visitors to fill out the form without following a link somewhere else.

3 Airtable sign up forms embedded on one of Superhighways web pages. The first group is for people who want to learn to use Airtable!

Superhighways used Airtable to make a card with a logo for each of the user groups they run. Then they used the embed feature to display them in a grid on their website with an iframe. When people click on a card they are taken through to a simple web form to fill out their details.

Further information