Your catalog contains the list of top-level categories. They help to define item groupings to make it easy for a user to find what he/she is looking for. A typical catalog structure, for example, might include the following categories: Donations, Memberships, Events, Classes, Merchandise. These can be modified, as needed. For example, you might add a Featured category for items you want to highlight, or you may have seasonal categories that are added/removed throughout the year.

Items in a category can include

  • Orderable items - donations, event registrations, memberships, merchandise, etc.
  • Activities - groups of items corresponding to events or other activities
  • Community Fundraisers - peer-to-peer and crowdfunding campaigns
  • Sub-categories - allowing you to create hierarchies in your catalog

You access the top-level categories for your catalog from the Categories tab on the Catalog editor:

Creating Categories

You can create a category using the 'Create Category' button.  You will be prompted for the name and description of the category, and then taken to the Category editor.  If you want to edit an existing category, the pop-up icon will enable you to edit basic fields, and the pencil icon will take you to the detailed Category editor.

Creating Items

You add items to the Category on the Items tab, and you can create new items or link items you've created elsewhere to a category.  An item can be added to multiple categories.

When you create a new item, you will be prompted to identify the item type. It is important to note that specific item types have specific properties and may require specific content.

  • Donation Items – These can be a simple dollar amount, but an image and description can also be associated with any donation to communicate the impact of a gift at that dollar amount.
  • Recurring Donation Items – Any donation item can be recurring. If recurrence is enabled on particular donation item, options like frequency and term can be defined. If recurrence is enabled on any donation items, it is important that a GIVING PROGRAM is defined for your organization. This is the content in the automatic communications associated with recurring gifts (i.e. credit card declined, credit card approaching expiration, renewal email, etc.)
  • Membership Items – Memberships have characteristics like a term and optional automated communications like Welcome and Renewal emails.
  • Gift Membership Items – Gift memberships have all the characteristics of a membership with additional inherent features like fields to identify the gift recipient and preferences regarding renewal notification, for example.
  • Event Packages for an Event – Event packages are registrations. There may be a variety of event packages for a single event (i.e. early bird, VIP) A single event package may include more than one registration (i.e. couple, table of 8, party of 4)
  • Event Packages for Classes – In the context of classes, each event package is the one and only registration for a particular class. It may include more than one registration (i.e. 2 child registrations)

Each type of item has certain parameters in common, and the different types of items also have parameters specific to their type.  The basic options for all items are:

  • Name - your internal name to refer to the item
  • Form Label - the name of the item as it will appear on the catalog.  This could indicate the area of mission, designation or form of donation like tribute/memorial or recurring.
  • Image - an uploadable image of the item
  • Description - rich HTML content describing the item
  • Price - the donation level or levels, event registration price, membership fee, etc.

Pricing in Big River has a rich number of options.  Prices can be fixed or variable, have limits, labels and default values:

  • Fixed Price - a fixed value for the price
  • Variable Price - constituent-chosen value, optionally between a minimum and maximum value
  • Free - no charge
  • Multiple Pricing - levels or tiers of Fixed or Variable Pricing

See additional guides for descriptions of specific parameters for Donation Items, Events, etc.

Additional parameters common to all kinds of items are Restrictions and Custom Fields


These are primarily used to group event packages or classes, however they can be used as a container for any group of similar items. An aggregator shows up in the catalog as a card with an image and a button that is clicked through to view the individual items.