In This Article:

    Autoresponses / Email Triggers

    In This Article:


      When to use it

      Autoresponses are email messages which are sent to your supporters automatically after a supporter completes an action on a Salsa form. A few examples of autoresponses in action:

      1. A supporter makes a donation and automatically receives a donation receipt
      2. A supporter registers for an event and automatically receives a confirmation with event details

      NOTE:  The Streaming Email tool is a separate, more advanced version of Autoresponses, but it is not suited to all situations and not all Salsa users have Streaming Emails installed on their account. Contact your account manager for details.

      How to get there

      There are two steps to using autoresponses:




      Autoresponse Configuration

      After you click Create Autoresponse, a new autoresponse will open.  The first step of the workflow is Configuration.


      1. Enter a Reference Name:

      As elsewhere in Salsa, Reference Name is entirely an internal name, invisible to the public. Use organized, specific titles such as 2013-January Donation Page: Cute Puppies Campaignto make sorting and location easier. 

      2. Select a Trigger Type

      There are three types: 

      • Reply Emails - go to the supporter immediately
      • Individual emails - go to one or more specific email address(es) immediately
      • Timed triggers - go to the supporter on a timed delay (i.e. 72 hours after the action was taken)

      3. Enter a From Name

      Format the name similar to how you would format it for an email blast.

      4. Enter a From Email

      Setting the From Email fields is very important - without a valid email address, the Autoresponse will appear to be from no one, and may be filtered by anti-spam programs. 

      5. Email Address (Individual Triggers only)

      Populate an Email Address field only for Individual Triggers. In that case, you'll need to specify who receives notification of the action. Separate multiple email addresses with a comma and no space, for example,

      For Reply and Timed triggers, the address will be automatically populated by Salsa so you should leave this field blank.


      Autoresponse Content

      Write the content of the automatic email.



      To identify available merge fields you have a few options:

      1. Review this handy guide to the most commonly used merge fields on Salsa forms.
      2. Use Append Available Values (see Autoresponse Advanced Options)
      3. View the source code of the user-facing Salsa page and identify the field names

      Donation Receipt

      Need a quick format for a donation receipt? Create a new autoresponse for your donation page and paste in the text below!

      Thank you for your donation of $[[amount]]!
      You can print this email as a record of your donation for your tax purposes.
      Donation Summary:
      Confirmation Code: [[PNREF]][[RPREF]]
      Donation Amount: $[[amount]]
      Donation Date: [[CURRENT_DATE]]
      Donation Made By: [[First_Name]] [[Last_Name]]
      [[Street]] [[Street_2]]
      [[City]] [[State]] [[Zip]]

      Autoresponse Advanced Options

      Note: This last step has some technical options which most users will ignore.

      Send Conditions

      The Send Condition field allows you to limit the trigger to sending only under specific conditions. If the send conditions evaluates to a true, then the Autoresponse email is sent. Otherwise, the Autoresponse is not sent.


      Example Send Conditions

      Condition Result
      [[isNew]] == 1 Send if the supporter is new
      "[[isNew]]"=="" Send if the supporter has an existing supporter record
      "[[State]]" == "FL" Send Autoresponse if the State field on the form is Florida
      "[[State]]" != "AR" Send the Autoresponse if the State field on the form in not Arkansas
      [[amount]] == 500 Send the Autoresponse if the donation amount is 500 dollars
      [[recurring_donation_KEY]] != -1 Send the Autoresponse if the donor made a recurring donation.
      [[recurring_donation_KEY]] == -1 Send the Autoresponse if the donor did not make a recurring donation (i.e. made a one-time donation)
      "[[State]]" == "FL" && "[[State]]" != "GA" && [[amount]] < 10000 Send the Autoresponse if the donor is from Florida, but not from Georgia, and the donation is less than $10,000
      [[BOOL5]] == 1 Send the Autoresponse if the "BOOL5" custom field is checked.
      [[recurring_donation_key]] != -1 || [[amount]] < 50 Send the Autoresponse if the donation is a recurring donation or the amount is less than $50.

      Writing your own send conditions

      Salsa uses a parser called JEP to evaluate the statement you enter. The syntax for a send condition may look a little unusual when you get started, but anyone can pick it up. A basic conditional statement consists of three parts:

      • A Salsa merge field generated by the page
      • An operator. These are the available operators.
        • Less<
        • Less or Equal<=
        • More>
        • More or Equal>=
        • Not Equal!=
        • Equal==
      • A fixed value
        • Values depend upon the merge field you've selected
        • Example values might be a state (FL) or a number (500)
        • If the fixed value is not a number, then it must be enclosed in quotation marks.

      Strung together, these elements produce a single condition. If the condition is true, then the Autoresponse will be sent. If the condition is false, then the Autoresponse will not be sent.

      More complicated conditions

      It's also possible to create a trigger limited by multiple conditions by connecting them with one of two special operators:

      • And&&
        • Both conditions must be true for the Autoresponse to send
      • Or||
        • Autoresponse will send if either condition is true

      For instance,[[amount]] > 100 && "[[State]]" == "FL"will send the condition only for Florida donors of more than $100.

      Tip: Here are some things to keep in mind as you create send conditions:

      • The send condition must evaluate to true or false.
      • The condition statement can be as long as you need it to be.
      • All of the merge fields are available -- you are not limited just to donations. Consult the list of common merge fields page for ideas.
      • Put spaces around any operators (==, !=, &&, ||, etc) to make the text easier to read.
      • All merge fields must be surrounded by quotation marks (For example:"[[Field_Name]]" .
      • Numeric fixed value fields do not need quotes (For example: 55 or .25 or 100).
      • Do not use commas in numeric fixed value fields (For example: do not use 10,000. Use 10000 instead.)
      • Text fixed value fields ("FL", "Texas", "Yes") must be quoted.

      Hours Delayed for Timed Trigger

      Only use this for the Timed Trigger-type Autoresponse.

      Reply triggers are sent immediately after an action is taken (i.e. immediately after a donor presses the Submit button on a donation form).  Use this field to configure the number of hours after an action is taken that an email should be sent.


      Append Available Values

      If this box is checked, the Autoresponse message will be appended with a dump of data fields available on the page. Its intended function is to deliver a list of potential merge fields to campaign managers in the process of configuring a message.  If you can't find the merge fields you want on the list of common merge fields:

      1. Click this checkbox
      2. Send the autoresponse to yourself by completing a test action
      3. Copy the merge fields you indend to use into the autoresponse content

      NOTE: Un-check this box before adding this Autoresponse to a live page.

      Recurring Donation Autoresponses

      Donation autoresponse emails are triggered by the clicking of the submit button on the donation page.  There is not a feature that will send an autoresponse email each time a recurring transaction is processed after the initial submission.

      You may be able to reach out to your gateway processor and ask if it's possible to set up a notification email through their system each time a recurring payment is processed.

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      • We are trying to create a trigger that sends renewal noticed to people. For step three I have written:

        [[membership_end_date]] == [[CURRENT_DATE]]

        membership_end_date is a custom field API name, whereas CURRENT_DATE I assume is how you denote the current date. If this is all correct, how do we then send out renewal notices one month before they expire?

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      • Hi Jesse,

        Looks good so far! Best way to do this would be to use Relative Date queries when you're setting up your email to send out. So you'd combine two conditions; something like "Less than now plus X days" and choose 30 for your X, and then "Greater than now plus X days" but set it to 0. Your results would be from today to 30 days from now.

        Give that a shot and follow up here if you have any other questions.

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      • Thanks Jake,

        I think I may have misread the ability of autoresponses. Is there a way to set up a trigger to send based on a custom field date for all of our supporters, rather than attaching them to a specific action like a donation?

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      • Jesse - 

        The part that Salsa has difficulty with is waiting or holding until the [[membership_end_date]] == [[CURRENT_DATE]] condition is met. I'm trying to think of certain ways we could use smart groups and triggers to make this work, but otherwise it may need to be a feature request that we submit to the developers for a future release. 

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      • So, I did what you suggested and created a smart group that includes everyone whose membership has expired up to today using our [[membership_end_date]] custom field. Each day that smart group should be adding additional people whose memberships are actively expiring. If I add a trigger to that smart group, it should theoretically send to only new smart group members as they are added, correct? Trying to figure out a way to verify this before I start running it. Thank you!

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      • Hi Jesse,

        This should work, but two changes need to be made: 1 - the smart group needs to be a greedy smart group, not regular, and 2 - rather than just a trigger, you need to set up a streaming email. 

        Otherwise, you should be set. As with everything, test it out first!

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      • Hi Jake,

        I was following along to your exchange with Jesse as I am working on doing a similar email trigger. I am curious, though-- why would the smart group need to be greedy? I would assume that you would want to send a trigger to supporters who join the group (say, 30 days out before their membership expires, reminding them to renew), but what would be the point of keeping them in the group? I would assume you'd want them to be removed from the group once their membership expiration date changes. 

        Please advise.


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      • Hi Rachel,

        There are a lot of moving parts here, aren't there? I may have gotten mixed up myself. It really depends on your own process for dealing with and organizing lapsed donors. Do you have one smart group for "lapsing soon" and another smart group for "already lapsed / has not renewed"?

        In that case, "lapsing soon" can be a regular smart group (probably using the relative date queries like I mentioned in a previous comment) - once they fall out of the "in the next 30 days" condition, they'd drop out of the "lapsing soon" group and be moved to the "already lapsed" group. Alternatively, if they renew, they wouldn't meet the "lapsing soon" conditions anymore, and would not be in either group.

        But in some cases, you'd want to make sure it is a greedy smart group so that the supporters are not 'dropping out' of the "lapsing soon" group - it just depends on how you're going about it. At the moment, I'm completely failing to recall one of those cases, unfortunately.

        So thank you for calling me out, and forcing me to explain myself! Jesse, if you read this - apologies if I've led you astray. Feel free to email if you'd like me to take a look at your setup (that goes for Rachel and anyone else reading this as well!).

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      • Hi,

        I'm trying to send an individual email to a person on staff based on when a supporter signs up for a group on a sign up page.  I tried the convention [[the group name written here]] == 1 and it doesn't seem to work. 

        Do you have any suggestions?



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      • Hi Lisa,

        The best option would be to set up your Individual-type trigger in advance (through the Email Blast package), then attach that trigger to the group in question, through the Group setup interface

        From there, you'll need to make sure the sign up page you're using has that group set as an 'automatic' add, not an optional group, like in this image:



        You should be set after that, but let me know if you have any further questions.

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      • Thanks Jake, I actually just went through the groups and set it up so that the trigger is sent anytime someone is added to that group.  


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      • Hi, is it possible to automatically send a donation thank you to the donor's email if the donation is entered manually?

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      • Adina,

        There sure is! When you're entering the donation manually and you get to the "Options" section, find the Emails section to attach an autoresponse to the donation, as seen in this picture:


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      • Somewhat related question - is it possible to send an auto email when a donation is entered in Salsa via an API?

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      • Hello, Coby,

        One or more triggered emails (autoresponses) can be sent by adding the &email_trigger_KEYS argument to the URL.  The value is one or more email_trigger_KEY s for the autoresponse(s) that you want to send.  The values are separated with commas and no spaces.

        Here is an example of sending a single autoresponse with key 123456


        And an example of sending 3 autoresponses:


         If you have any other questions, please send mail to, and we'll be glad to answer them.




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      • What's the point of the "Trigger email" option? I was hoping that if I put my email there that I would recieve a copy of the email each time it gets sent.  Nope - not the case.  Here's a screenshot -  Please add a feature that will allow me to be cc'd on each email that is triggered.  Otherwise, there is no way of knowing or tracking correspondence.  Thanks, Melanie

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      • Melanie,

        The "Target email" field is only for use with "Individual" type autoresponses (in your screenshot, you're configuring a "Reply" type email). Your best bet is to go to your donation page where you have that Reply autoresponse attached, then add a second autoresponse, make sure it's an Individual type, and then enter your email address in the "Target email" field. Both autoresponses will fire - one will go to the donor, the other will go to you. 

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      • Hi Jake,

        Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, the reply email is being used when I manually enter a donation (see shot: Therefore, how do I send myself a copy of the email so I can keep it for my records?


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      • Melanie,

        You should still be able to add a second autoresponse to that interface: 

        Just copy the content from your Reply autoresponse to your Individual autoresponse. Then make sure to switch the "Trigger Type" search option when you're selecting the autoresponses.

        However, you can't loop both (reply to donor AND yourself) into the same autoresponse.

        If you have any additional questions, let's take this to a separate discussion - email

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      • Is there a way to exclude particular people from receiving the triggers? There are certain people we don't want to receive these, but it doesn't seem likely that groups or tags can be used in the send condition.

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      • Nicholas, you're correct that at this time there is no way to exclude a subsection of supporters from triggers.

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      • As a way around this could I just enter those folks through a different channel than the page that the triggers are tied to? For example I could just add a new member to a group directly through the group page on Salsa. 

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      • Jake-would it be possible to exclude a person through making a condition excluding a certain supporter key like [[supporter_KEY]] != *xxxxxxxxx*

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      • Any one know if this is possible? Thanks!

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      • Hey Jake,

        If I want to set a trigger to fire 3 months out, should I just put something like 2,000 hours in the "Hours Delayed" section? 


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      • Is it possible to send a triggered email to an address other than the donor's or staff?

        Our use case: Occasionally we do campaigns where the donation my be in honor of another individual, and we want that individual to receive a separate email in addition to the donor.

        I'd like to be able to set up an email to fire conditionally upon submission if a certain requirement is met (that part seems simple enough), but for the TO address to be based on one of the form's merge fields instead of the user's address.

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      • We are doing a petition drive and collecting e-mail addresses and want to set up a series of 3 welcome e-mail responses. However, it is not working correctly in our test runs. 

        What should my conditions be? and should I place them into a group?



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      • Hey Jake,

        We include social media one-click share links in our auto-responses, and I'd like to be able to run a click report for the autoresponse emails. Having a hard time figuring out how to construct that report. Any guidance?


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      • Hi,

        I'm trying to send an autoresponder for an action on another organizations Salsa account. I know this maybe a long shot but can I make an autoresponder with a send condition for taking action on another organization using Salsa's targeted action?


        We are sending the email from our Salsa account but the action is on another salsa account. Thank You.


        A plan b would be to have a send condition that sends the autoresponder if they click on the link in our email from Salsa. Thank You.

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      • Hi Oliver,

        What an interesting question!  Allow me to paraphrase in order to confirm and define some terms for discussion.  In this case, you want to:

        • Create an advocacy action in Org A
        • Assign an email autoresponse so that advocacy action is from Org B

        The simplest answer to your question is, "No - Salsa data is partitioned so that one organization does not have access to the data of another organization."

        There is a little wiggle room around that if you want to share correspondence and data with a partner organization.  At a very high level this would include:

        • Creating the advocacy action in Org A
        • Creating an email autoresponse in Org A that looks like it's from Org B
        • Appending the camoflaged autoresponse to the action
        • Any supporter data obtained through this action would only be natively available in Org A.  To share it, you'd have to manually export it from Org A and import it into Org B

        Note:  You'd have to make sure that supporters know what's being done with their data (i.e. if supporter records will ultimately be created in the database of both organizations, you need to tell them so, and give them the opportunity to unsubscribe to one or both orgs).

        If this is something you want to pursue, please submit a support ticket and we'll help you with the details.

        Best regards,


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