Note: The Beacon Portal is available as an additional element to Premium plan customers, and can be added from Settings > Billing.


Beacon makes it easy for your supporters and clients to access and make changes to their details via a secure form.

You're always in full control - you can decide what you'd like them to see, and what they can make changes to.

You can use the portal for a wide variety of use-cases:

  • Donors - make changes to their contact details (e.g. address), and see the history of their donations.

  • Events - attendees can provide additional details about an event they're going to (e.g. menu choice, certificate from GP)

  • Cases - clients can see the status of their open cases, upload supporting documentation, and access their case history. Case managers can see their current cases and upcoming tasks.

  • Members - active members can see the details of their membership.

  • Volunteers - can set their availability preferences, and log volunteer hours.

A "portal" is just another Beacon form type that you can choose when creating a form:

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In this article:


How it works

  1. Person visits your portal form. (You'll find the link in your form settings)

  2. They'll be prompted to enter their email address:

  3. A secure link is sent to them via email:

    Screenshot 2021-04-09 at 07.28.25

  4. Clicking this link brings them back to the form, surfacing them their details in your database: (rather than showing a login page like before)

    Screenshot 2021-04-09 at 07.31.39

Accessing personal information

With the General fields section in your portal forms, you can give people access to see any of the fields on the people record type, for example:

When adding fields to this section, by default these fields will be editable. That is - people will able to change the data in these fields as well as being able to access them.

Tip: Want to make some (or all) fields read-only?
You can switch off the "Is editable?" option on each field.

If you set some fields as editable, then people see an Edit button in the top right of each section:

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They can then go ahead and make changes, then save them:


Portal forms also allow you to surface related information to your supporters. For example:

  • Payment history

  • Events attended

  • Open cases

  • Custom record types

In your form settings, you can add a Related records section. These sections behave a lot like related records cards.

In this section, you can choose the record type you'd like to list, along with the fields you'd like to surface in that list.

You can specify Detailed & editable fields, which are the fields that show when one of the records in the list is clicked:

On your form, the above settings would result in people seeing the following:


Editing records

By default, fields added to this section will not be editable, but you can make them editable if you want to!

You probably wouldn't do this with payments, but you might with:

  • Events - provide feedback, choose menu option

  • Cases - provide supporting documentation for eligibility checks

  • Custom records - depending on what you've built!


Creating records

This section can also allow people to create records. You probably won't want to use this most of the time, so we've disabled it by default, but you can easily enable it.

Examples of where you might want to use this:

  • Volunteering - logging new "volunteer hours" records

  • Case updates - register periodic progress updates

  • Health & Safety certificates - upload new certifications attained


Choosing who can use your portal

In your form settings, you'll see an Access section. This lets you set filters to specify who should be able to access your portal. (Defaults to everyone)

For example you might want to restrict your portal form access to:

  • Donors

  • Members with an active membership

  • Volunteers with an application in progress

  • People going to a particular event

The filters in this section work just like filters elsewhere in Beacon 🙂. For people to access your portal, they'll need to match your filter criteria.


Security

To keep your supporter data secure, we've implemented a number of security measures with the portal:

  • ReCAPTCHA is used to stop robots.

  • Secure login links can only be clicked once.

  • Access is only available for 60 minutes (people will need to request a new login link after that).

For embedded forms, we've also implemented some additional restrictions:

  • Your website must use HTTPS.

  • You will need to specify your website domain(s) where the form can be embedded.


Frequently asked questions

Do people need to have an email address to be able to use a portal form?

Yes. Portal forms only support access via a secure email link.

What happens if multiple people in our database share the same email address? (e.g. many people in a family)

After clicking the secure login link, they'll be able to access all of the people who have that email address, and switch between them:

Tip: Have lots of duplicate people in your database?
We strongly recommend finding and merging them before using a portal form.

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