Kristin, this question was bugging me yesterday opening up an old question I had so did some more digging reaching out to Atlassian. In fact you can add a custom field to the portal with some exceptions. As of this moment, JIRA Service Desk should allow for any custom field to be used except for Group/Project/Version pickers. There is an open feature request JSD-86 to address the current limitation. So if you wish to add a custom field that isn't one of the three mentioned you can do so. You simply need to ensure it is visible on the create screen. Hope this helps.
I was finally able to get back to this today. I created a Create screen and used it for the issue operation of "create issue" but this had zero affect on the Raise a Request screen. Here's how each page looks after adding "Best contact number" field:
Raise a Request 1.png
Raise a Request 2.png
Raise a Request 3.png
YES! Brilliant! I'm so accustomed to JIRA that I didn't know this whole little world existed! I'm guessing you have to have the field added to the create screen in admin first. From the Project settings, I went to Request types, chose the Edit Fields (in red):
Edit Request Field.png
Chose the field I'd added to the create screen associated with the project:
Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 3.30.55 PM.png
Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 3.31.17 PM.png
Thank you and yes, this is now resolved!
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