Everyone in your Wild Apricot database is a contact. A contact can be a member, an event attendee, a donor, a newsletter subscriber, or any combination of these roles. Contacts can be added automatically through your website, added manually by an administrator, or imported in bulk.

Information about each contact is stored in a separate record, with each record storing different chunks of information in fields (e.g. first name, last name, email address).

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You can customize your contact database – and your forms – by adding, modifying, reordering, and deleting database fields.

In addition to their contact record, each contact can also have a membership record, and one or more event registration records or donation records.

Common vs. specialized fields

Wild Apricot database fields are divided into two classes: common fields – fields that apply to all records (e.g. first name, last name, email address) – and specialized fields that only apply to membership applications, event registrations, or donations.

Each record is a combination of common fields and fields specific to that type of record. For example, a membership record will consist of membership fields and common fields, while a donation record will consist of donation fields and common fields.

The forms that appear to the user – and are used to create records – also combine both types of fields. A membership form, for example, will display both common fields and membership fields.

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To customize a form, you can add or remove fields, either common fields or fields specific to the form.

The values entered in common fields on membership application forms will update the corresponding fields in the applicant's contact record (if one already exists), but the values entered in common fields on event registration forms are stored separately from the contact record within event registration records. Similarly, the values entered in common fields on donation forms are stored separately within donation records.

Adding and modifying database fields

You can add any number of common fields or other database fields.

You can set membership fields to apply only to members at specific membership levels. Since common fields are automatically added to all forms (membership, event, and donation forms), fields that apply to all forms should be created as common fields.

To view, modify, or add common, membership, donation, or event fields, follow these steps:



Common fields

Common fields under the Contacts menu

Membership fields

Membership fields under the Members menu

Donation fields

Donation fields under the Donations menu

Event fields

Registration form tab from the event's details page.

From the screen that appears, you can add, modify, reorder, and delete fields. Any changes you make will be immediately reflected on screen but will not be applied elsewhere until you click Save all changes. Once your changes are saved, they will be reflected on applicable online forms, contact records, and directories.

Adding a field

To add a new field from the Customize fields screen, click Add new field.

For new fields, you can set the field type and change field settings (see below).

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You can also add contact and membership fields via importing. For more information, see Importing members and other contacts.

Modifying a field

To modify an existing field, click it within the list.

With the field selected, you can change various field settings but not the field type.

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Deleting a field

To delete a field, click it within the list, then click the delete link on the right.


You cannot delete system fields (Member ID, First name, Last name, Organization, Email, and Phone). You can, however, hide a system field (other than Member ID or Email) by setting it to admin only access.

After you delete a field, it appears crossed out in the field list until you save your changes.


While the field appears crossed out, you can restore it by clicking the restore link.

Deleting a field will automatically lose all data stored in that field for all contacts.

Reordering fields

To change the order in which fields appear, you can drag and drop fields within the list, or you can click the green up and down arrows beside a field.


Field types

You can only choose the field type when you create a new field. You cannot change the type for an existing field.

The following field types are available:

Simple text field, used for short entries (up to 200 characters).

Multiline text
Used for longer text entries (up to 3,000 characters).

Multiple choice
A set of checkboxes (up to 100 characters per item). For instructions on adding choices, see Adding choices to multi-option fields below.

Radio buttons
A set of mutually exclusive choices (up to 100 characters per item), arranged like buttons on a car radio. For instructions on adding choices, see Adding choices to multi-option fields below.

Multiple choice with extra charge
(Event and membership fields only) Allows you to provide optional extras (displayed as checkboxes) at an additional cost. For more information, see Extra membership costs and Extra event registration costs.

Radio buttons with extra charge
(Event and membership fields only) Allows you to display a set of mutually exclusive options at an additional cost. For more information, see Extra membership costs and Extra event registration costs.

Extra charge calculation
(Event and membership fields only ) Provides the ability to order multiple items, or to charge an additional fee proportional to a value entered by the applicant or registrant. For organizational members, you might want to charge an extra fee based on their revenue, number of staff, or grants they've received. For more information, see Extra charge calculation fields (below).

A set of mutually exclusive choices, arranged in a drop-down list. For instructions on adding choices, see Adding choices to multi-option fields below.

(Common and membership fields only) Used to display a photo, company logo, or online avatar. This field supports the following file types: .JPG, .GIF, .PNG and .TIF. For more information, see Adding member or contact pictures.

Rules and terms
A checkbox with a link to a page displaying the terms of use or contractual conditions that apply to your site. For more information, see Rules and terms field below.

Displays a calendar control that can be used to select a date.

Section divider
Used to group and separate fields. The field label you choose will appear as a section heading, but only if there are fields below it.

To change the field type for an existing field, export all contacts to an Excel file, delete the field, re-create it as a new field type, then re-import the saved Excel file.

Field settings

You can change field settings for new and existing fields. Field settings appear when you click a field within the list.

The following settings are available for one or more field types:

Field label
Field types: All
The name used to identify the field, or the label for the section divider. You cannot use the same name as a common field.

Required field
Field types: All except section divider
Controls whether the field has to be filled out before the form can be submitted. For all self-service online forms, (member application, email subscription, donation, and event registration), the Email field is always a required field.

For administrator access only
Field types: All except section divider
Identifies this as an internal field that can only be seen or edited by an administrator. For more information, see Internal use fields (below).

Field types: Multiple choice, radio buttons, dropdown
Choose the options to be displayed. For more information, see Adding choices to multi-option fields below.

Field types: Extra charge membership fields
Indicate whether to include in new membership application forms. If enabled, you can also control whether the cost should be prorated over a partial period of time.

Field types: Extra charge membership fields
Indicate whether to include in membership renewal form. If enabled, you can also control whether members can change their original selection when renewing.

Member access
Field types: All membership fields except section divider
Controls whether the member is allowed to view or modify this field. The following choices are available:

  • Edit in own profile
    members can edit the field by logging into the site and editing their profiles.
  • Edit in application
    members can only edit the field when filling in the application form.
  • View only
    members can view the contents of the field but only an administrator can change it.
  • No access
    administrator-only field that is hidden from members and the public. For more information, see Internal use fields (below).

Others access
Field types: All except section divider
Controls who is allowed to view this field. This is a default setting which can be changed by each member. For more information, see Member privacy settings.

Use in
Field types: All membership fields except section divider
Determines whether the field applies to all membership levels or is restricted to one or more specific membership levels. For more information, see Restricting fields by membership levels (below).

Donation options
Field types: Amount donation field
Allows you to control how the donor indicates the donation amount. For more information, see Donation forms.

Field types: Extra charge calculation
Determines the value to be applied to the visitor's entered value, and whether the multiplier is the unit cost or a percentage. For more information, see Using the extra charge calculation field (below).

Limit order to
Field types: Extra calculation
For extra charge calculation fields where the multiplier is the unit cost, determines the minimum and maximum number of items that can be ordered. For extra charge calculation fields where the multiplier is a percentage, determines the minimum and maximum resulting charge. For more information, see Using the extra charge calculation field (below).

Field instructions
Field types: All except section divider
Instructions explaining how to use this field. For information on controlling the appearance of field instructions, see Adding field instructions (below).

Making fields required or mandatory

If you want to make a field required or mandatory, so that the field has to be filled out before the form can be submitted, click the Required field checkbox within the field settings. For all self-service online forms, (member application, email subscription, donation, and event registration), the Email field is always required.

Adding choices to multi-option fields

When you create a field using the Multiple choice, Radio buttons, or Dropdown type, you add items that represent choices for the user.

(Extra charges fields use a different approach. For information, see Extra membership costs and Extra event registration costs.)

Using the Items text box, you add one item per line, up to 100 characters per item. (Press Enter on your keyboard to move to the next line). You can also paste text from another program to speed up text entry.

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There are some pre-defined lists that you can use to add large sets of choices:

  • U.S. states
  • Canadian provinces
  • Countries

To use one of these lists, select the one you want to use from the list box labeled Select pre-defined value to insert then click Insert.

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Once you are finished populating your list, click Done to save your list. You still need to click the Save all changes button at the top of the screen to finalize all the changes to this and any other fields you might have added or modified.

After you click Done, new options appear to allow you to manage your list.

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The following options apply to the entire list:

  • Sort
    Sorts the list by alphabetical order. The first click will sort it from A to Z. A second click will sort it from Z to A.
  • Add multiple items
    Opens a window with a text box where you can multiple items one line at a time. Existing items will not appear in the list. New items will be added to the bottom of the list. You can move them individually or use the Sort button to re-sort the list.
  • Clear
    Removes all items from the list.

If you click on an item within the list, you can change its text. As well, the following options now appear beside the item:

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You can reorder items within multi-option fields on an event registration form without affecting choices already entered and stored for event registrants. If you rename an item, existing choices will appear under the new name. Deleting an item, however, will remove that selection for all registrants who chose it.

Extra charge calculation field

The extra charge calculation field is similar to the multiple choice with extra charge field and the radio buttons with extra charge field, but allows you to specify a unit cost for multiple orders, or apply a percentage to charge dynamic fees based on some factor.

For example, you might want to provide an option to purchase any number of t-shirts, or charge a variable membership or event fee based on organization size or income.

The unit cost or percentage is applied to the value entered by the applicant or registrant in the membership application form or event registration form.

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The first step in setting up a calculated extra charge field is to choose whether to specify a unit cost or a percentage to be applied to the entered value. To do so, click the dropdown that initially displays the currency you choose in your online payment settings...

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...and choose the currency if you want to specify a unit cost, or percent if you want to apply a percentage to the entered value.

If you choose the currency so you can specify a unit cost, you can also specify the minimum and maximum number of items you visitor can order.

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Values below the minimum or above the maximum will not be accepted.

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If you are applying a percentage, you can specify a minimum and a maximum resulting value.

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Values entered by the applicant or registrant that result in charge below the minimum or above the maximum will be automatically adjusted to fit within the limits.

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Rules and terms fields

The Rules and terms field is a special field that displays a checkbox along with a link to a page displaying the terms of use or contractual conditions that apply to your site.

Adding it to a membership form, for example, allows you to require applicants to acknowledge certain policies before applying for membership.

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To set up a Rules and terms field, you enter the text for the link (e.g. I agree to the terms of use) and provide a link to the webpage or document with the actual rules and terms, which you must create separately yourself.

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For example, you might enter a website address such as www.example.com/terms or a file location like /resources/terms.pdf.

Internal use fields

You may want to track information about your contacts without sharing the information with them or anyone else. To do so, you can set a field as internal use only.

For example:

  • You want to track whether people attended the events they have registered for, so you create a field called Event attended and mark their attendance in the field on their Event registration details screen.
  • You want to recruit more female members, so you add a field called Gender to track this information.

You can make any common or membership field you create an internal use field by setting access to For administrator access only (for common fields) or Internal use only (for membership fields).

Administrator-only fields are displayed under Internal use on the Contact details screen. You can click the Edit button to modify internal use field values for a contact.

Any time a contact fills out an application, records a donation, or registers for an event, the internal use fields and their values for that contact are copied to the registration, application, or donation record.

The following fields cannot be set as internal use only:

  • User Id (aka Member Id)
  • Email

Restricting fields by membership levels

You can restrict membership fields to specific membership levels.

To restrict a membership field to one or more membership levels, follow these steps:

  1. Select the field within the list of membership fields.
  2. Under Use in, click Selected levels.
  3. Check each of the membership levels you want this field to apply to. https://cdn.elev.io/file/uploads/jEC8HySvDwISUdSg8iqChOB9kMRsiM1RCnIFiA0173M/t-vIC4TNSRKXpPv5w489O2amfooViOR1rwyNCkjJynM/restrict%20field%20by%20membership%20level-WkA.png
    A lock icon will appear to indicate that the field is restricted to particular membership levels.

    To quickly review which fields belong to what level you can filter the membership fields by membership level. You can display all fields, fields for a particular membership levels, or fields common to all membership levels. https://cdn.elev.io/file/uploads/jEC8HySvDwISUdSg8iqChOB9kMRsiM1RCnIFiA0173M/7qINLj781-j9q_VuqCq-Iw8YlrVnOe4yC4hAjTqxL5Q/filter%20fields%20by%20membership%20level-5QQ.png
  4. Save your changes.

Adding field instructions

You can add instructions to individual form fields explaining how to use them. On some forms, such as application forms, certain fields can require more explanation than a field label can provide.


The instructions will only appear when the form is being filled out.

From the Colors and styles screen, you can change the overall appearance of field instructions – typeface, size, color, etc. – but you cannot apply local formatting (such as bolding individual words).

Where can I add field instructions?

You can add field-level instructions to fields appearing on online forms provided by Wild Apricot. You cannot add field-level instructions to custom forms.

You can add field instructions to:

  • common fields
  • memberships fields
  • event fields
  • donation fields

You can add instructions to both system and non-system fields, except for the User ID system field.

How do I add field instructions?

When adding or modifying a field, enter the instructional text in the Field instructions box towards the bottom.


You can enter up to 250 characters per field, and use the Enter key to add line breaks. You cannot use HTML code or any other kind of local formatting.

Changing the appearance of field instructions

On the Colors and styles screen, you can change the appearance of field instructions on your site. You can control the typeface, text size, color, and other attributes.

You cannot change the appearance of individual instructions or selected words within a set of instructions.

To control the appearance of field instructions, follow these steps:

  1. Under the Website menu, click Colors and styles.
  2. Expand the General formatting section.
  3. Expand the Form section.
  4. Expand the Field explanation section. https://cdn.elev.io/file/uploads/jEC8HySvDwISUdSg8iqChOB9kMRsiM1RCnIFiA0173M/eoFm3-SJ2Wn8CSp8AbiFsgJcorBM-LUeBBsW3-vF4I0/field%20instructions%20setting-rqs.png
  5. Adjust the following settings.
    Font family
    Typeface used to display the text.
    Font size
    The size of the text. You can specify the font size in pixels, points, or ems.
    Font weight
    Whether the text is bold or not.
    Font style
    Whether the text is italicized or not.
    Text decoration
    Whether the text is underlined or not.
    Font color
    The color of the text.
  6. Click Save.

The attributes you specify will be applied to all field instructions on your site.


Changing the field type

There is no easy way to change the field type after creating a field. However, the following workaround can achieve this goal.

  1. Export your entire contact list to Excel. Though no changes are necessary to the export file, we recommended that you re-import only the User ID and the specific field(s) you want to update. All other columns/fields in your Excel file can be deleted.
  2. Within Wild Apricot, delete the field you want to change and save your changes.
  3. Create a new field with the same name as the deleted field, but with the field type you want, and save your changes. (Make sure the field name is not used anywhere in your system e.g. for an event field or a donation field.)
  4. Import the Excel file you created in Step 1.