Forms: Soliciting Responses and Reporting

Forms are currently in beta. They're 100% functional but we're limiting access to them so we can gather more information about how our customers will use them. If you'd like us to turn on Forms for your school during this beta phase, please write to Populi Support.

In this article, you'll learn how to get your form into the hands of the people you want to hear from and what to do with their responses as they roll in.

  • After publishing your form, you can begin solicting responses from people at your school or elsewhere.
  • If you don't require a login for the form, you can embed it in an external web page for anyone to fill out.
  • You can link to a form's URL, send form requests to individuals or groups of people (batches), or request a different person to submit a response on behalf of another.
  • As responses flow in, you can review them, report on them, and process them; in some cases, you may take action elsewhere in Populi as a result of the information you've collected.

Form settings that affect how you can solicit responses

Before soliciting responses, check these form settings, which directly affect respondents' access to the form:

  • Published: Only published forms can accept responses. Otherwise, they're in Draft mode and only available to users with Manage or Edit access.
    • Once a form is published, you can choose to list it in the "Self-service" area in Home > Forms. This will let any logged-in user fill it out without you needing to send them a response request (provided, of course, that the form is available—availability is managed in the Accept Responses setting).
  • Accept Responses: Once published, the form can accept responses...
    • Yes: Anyone with access to the form's link can submit a response to it.
    • By request: Someone with Read access (or better) to the form must send a request to respondents to fill out the form.
    • For Yes and By Request, you can set an availability period for the form.
    • No: The form will be closed off from responses altogether.
  • Login required: Requires respondents to log in before filling in the form. Form responses are automatically linked to the user who responded.
    • If you do not require respondents to log in, Populi generates an embed code that lets you include the form in an external web page. You'll also see the Custom CSS setting further down in the settings.
  • Permissions: This controls whether respondents can submit a response on behalf of another person.
  • Anonymous: If a form is set to Anonymous = Yes, you cannot send a link to a respondent (in order to preserve anonymity!).
  • Notifications: See the "important note" about notifications here.

Using the form's URL

If Accept Responses is set to Yes, you can use the form's URL to solicit responses.

  1. When Accept Reponses is set to Yes, the form's URL will appear above the form's settings.
  2. Click to copy the URL.
  3. Paste the URL wherever you see fit—in an email, a link on your school's website, etc.

Using the form's Embed Code

If Accept Responses is set to Yes and Login Required is set to No, you can use the form's Embed Code to include it in external (i.e. non-Populi) web pages.

  • Toggle to show the form's embed code.
  • Click to copy the code.
  • Enter your own CSS in the form's Custom CSS field to make the embedded form match the external web page.

Sending form requests

Remember to set up a "Form Response Requested" notification as described here!

If Accept Responses is set to Yes or By Request:

  • You can send a request to an individual person by going to her Profile > Activity Feed; in the right column, click Add a form request.
  • You can request responses from a group of people in a number of areas around Populi (provided the form is not set to Anonymous = Yes):
    • Contacts > People and Admissions > Leads: Click Actions and choose Add Form Request.
    • Academics > Reporting > Data Slicer: Run a report, then click Actions and select Send Form Request.
  • Whichever method you use:
    1. The form's Responses view will list the respondents with a Pending status for their form response.
    2. Populi will email the form's link to the respondents (again, remember this doesn't work for Anonymous forms). Populi users will also have an alert on their Home > Dashboard view.
    3. When the respondent uses the email link or the alert and submits the form, their form status will change to Submitted.


Batches let you organize form requests for reporting purposes. For example, you may filter the Data Slicer to show graduating senior undergrads and send them your "Exit Survey" form. Later on, you filter it to show students graduating with Master's degrees. For the seniors, you put their forms in a "Senior 2022" batch; for the Master's students, you put their forms in the "Grad 2022" batch. When reporting on the Exit Survey results, you can then differentiate between the responses submitted by the two groups.

  1. Send a form request to a group of people (as described above).
  2. Choose the form.
  3. Select from existing batches or create a new batch by entering a name in the field.
  4. Batches will be available to choose from when viewing form responses.

How respondents can get to their forms

Here are the various ways respondents can get to forms (provided its availability settings will permit them to respond):

  • If you've published the form and listed it, they can access it from Home > Forms.
  • If you embed a form on an external web page, respondents can submit responses right on that other page.
  • If you share the form's link—whether by email or posting it somewhere else—respondents can access the form through the link.
  • If you send someone a form request (whether individually or in a batch), they'll receive a link (if you've set up a Form Response Requested notification); they'll also see an alert on Populi > Home when they log in.
    • Important: Their responses will be included in the batch's results only if they access the form via the link in the request or the alert!

Responses: viewing and reporting

Responses on a form page

Every form includes a view for Responses. It gives you a high-level view of responses and lets you access answers from individual respondents. Here's a quick look at the controls on the Responses view:

  • Click a respondent's name to view that response (more on that below).
  • Click List to see a list of responses and some basic information about them.
  • Click Analytics to see the aggregated responses to individual questions.
  • indicates that the response is not linked to a person in Populi. See below for instructions for linking responses to people.
  • Click a batch name to view only the responses from that batch.
    • Click to edit the batch name or delete the batch altogether.
  • Click Actions to email, text, or tag/untag linked people.
  • Export the Responses view to XLS or CSV.

Linking individual responses

More than likely, you'll want to have form responses connected to people in Populi. Here's how to make that happen (to be clear, this step is optional:

  • If the respondent is already in Populi and accessed the form using one of the form request methods described above, the response will be automatically linked to that person. Likewise for respondents who were logged in when responding.
  • If the respondent accessed the form by any other means, you'll need to link the response to a person. You can add the respondent as a new person, search for her in Populi, or link the response to a suggested match.

Reviewing and processing responses

Here are your options when viewing an individual response:

  • Get to the response by clicking the respondent's name in the response list. If the response has been linked to a person, you can also access it via their Profile > Activity Feed's Form Responses panel.
  • Depending on the form's Response Review setting, you can mark the form's status (in the left column under the Linked to name) to Processing, Completed, Accepted, or Rejected.
  • On any field, you can add a note. Enter the note, select whether the respondent can see it, and Save.
  • If the form contains any Office Use Only or Hidden fields, you'll have the option to make entries for those.
  • If any fields require review, see your options in the next section.

Fields that require review

If you have required that responses for a form or field be reviewed, here's what your options will be when looking at the respondent's answers:

  • When viewing the Responses list , you'll see whether any of the individual responses Needs Review.
  • To decide on an individual field, click the Submitted indicator and make your selection.
  • To decide on multiple fields at once, click next to the fields, or click the box at the top of the response to select them all. Next, click Actions and choose whether to accept or reject the checked fields.
  • If you accept a linked field that requires review, the information from the response will immediately update the corresponding field on the respondent's profile.
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