In This Article:

    Targeted / Blind Targeted Action

    In This Article:

      Preface - What's the difference?

      Targeted -  A supporter who completes a targeted action will be sending either a pre-formed or user-edited letter on a particular subject via email, web form data, or fax to a governmental or custom target. In the setup workflow, you will write the basic letter (which you can allow your supporters to edit), choose and filter your targets, and restrict your action to a particular subset of supporters.

      This type of action is a two-step process - supporters will first enter their zip code to determine 1) if their geographic area is restricted from taking action and 2) which targets they will be contacting. Then the letter content and the targets will be dynamically loaded, at which point the supporter will enter their information, make edits to the letter content (if available), and submit the action.

      Blind targeted - Also referred to as a one-click or single-click action, this type of action is set up and works exactly the same as a targeted action. However, your supporters will not be required to first enter their zip codes to determine their targets; instead, the supporter will review the letter content and enter their information without knowing before submitting the form which targets will receive their letter.

      After submitting the form, Salsa uses the supporter's identifying information to route the letter content to the proper target, and the supporter is then directed to a follow-up screen that tells them which targets have received their letter. 


      Step 1 - Description

      Reference Name

      The Reference Name that you selected in the “create a new action” box will appear in this field.

      Action Title

      This field creates the "headline" in large text at the top of the end-user page (the page your supporters will see).  Typically, this is used to briefly describe the purpose of the action.

      Brief Description

      This text appears on the end-user page and explains to your supporters why they should take action. The text appears below the title on the end-user page, but above the field containing the actual campaign letter.

      You can lay out this text block very simply or elaborately.  If you want to, you can add images, text styling, hyperlinks and other design features using either code or the embedded WYSIWYG editor. Do not paste your action description text from MS Word.


      The page footer text appears below the form fields where supporters enter their personal information. It is generally used for either additional explanatory text about the page or identity information about your organization.


      To brand your page appropriately, choose a web template by clicking on the appropriate thumbnail. This will act as a wrapper for the page's entire content. If you don't choose a specific template, your Default Template will be used. 
      Press “ Save” and proceed to the next step.

      Step 2 - Content

      Here you'll compose the message you want your supporters to send to the targets (to be defined in Step 3).

      Under “Create your first set of content” enter a “set name.” This is an internal name that will help you match this content to the appropriate target(s). This may be something like “Thank you for sponsoring,” or “Judiciary Committee message,” or whatever best distinguishes the content of this message from others that you will create in this action. Click “add” to get started.

      Rename Set

      Your default content set is named "Primary Content", but you can easily change this (and the name of any other content sets) by clicking Rename Set. You'll make your changes to the name and then click the "Update Content" button.

      Add Alternate Version

      Optionally, you can create multiple different letters that will be presented randomly to your supporters. You can create a "carousel" of multiple suggested subjects and messages by saving a message, then clicking the "Add Alternate Version" button a second, third, fourth, or any number of times, creating distinct versions of the same message. When multiple entries are associated with a single content block, Salsa will randomly pick one to display each time the page is loaded -- so different supporters will see (and send) different default messages. This assures that the messages being sent are not all completely identical in tone or content.

      Recommended Letter Subject

      This will appear as a header above the content on the user-facing page, but below the action description, you created in Step 1. The recipient of the letter will see this subject header, so be specific. Be sure that this subject header is appropriate to the content set (e.g., a content set named “thanks for sponsoring” would have a subject header like “Thank You for Sponsoring H.R.977”).

      Your supporters will be able to edit this subject by default, unless you click the "Make this subject uneditable" box. (In practice, most of your supporters probably will not edit the subject line.)

      Recommended Letter Content

      This will be the suggested content of the message. Ideally, this is relatively brief, maybe two or three paragraphs (especially if you intend to send fax messages).

      When you have completed all of the content sets, it’s time to select which targets are to receive which messages. 

      Step 3 - Targets 

      Here you’ll select who will receive the message(s) you just created.

      Add a Set of targets

      Every action will include at least one target set. But please note: there is a maximum of 90 target sets in any action you set up. If you have more than 90 target sets, you may want to consider segmenting your action (and any email blast associated with it). (However, keep in mind a target set itself can include more than 90 individual targets.)

      To select the target(s), select a "target type" from the pull-down menu on the left side of the "add a set of targets" box.


      The available target types are:

      • U.S. Senate* 
      • U.S. House* 
      • US Governors* 
      • Media Outlets 
      • U.S. President* 
      • US State Senate* 
      • US State House* 
      • Select Multiple Recipients - This option presents the list of available custom targets to a supporter, and allows them to choose multiple targets to include.
      • Custom Recipient Groups - This option allows you to present a supporter with a group of custom targets to contact at one time.
      • Select Single Recipient - This option presents the list of available custom targets to a supporter, and allows them to choose one single target to include.
        Custom Recipients

      *Only constituents of these targets can send messages to them, as determined by matching a supporter's address to legislative districts.

      For each target type, you must also choose a contact method. The contact method is always a choice between: 
      Email or Webform 
      Black Hole 

      "Black Hole" is normally used for testing purposes or for collecting action letter submissions so that they can be hand-delivered, etc later. Selecting this option will cause the action to operate normally, but no emails or faxes will actually be sent. Be sure to change your action back to "Email" or "Fax" after testing, if using this method for testing, as there is no way to resend/submit messages that your supporters send through an action set to "Black Hole".

      Planning Your Targets

      When using a Multi-Content action, you're explicitly planning to send different types of messages. You'll want to think through who should get which message.

      In the Targets tab, you'll be creating multiple horizontal rows consisting of a target (such as "U.S. House") associated with some content. The Content Set field allows you to assign one of the content sets your created in the previous tab to a particular set of targets. For example, one set of targets will receive a “Letter of concern” message, while another set of targets will receive a “Letter of thanks” message: 

      In a Multi-Content Targeted Action, a supporter attempting to take action might, according to the targeting instructions, be given no matches, one match, two matches, or many matches – and they'll simply be presented with a message for each different recipient they match.


      By default, the targets you add to your action will be set to Auto-Targeting, which means that the individual target (within the target type group you have selected) will be chosen based on the address information provided by your supporters. For example, for an action targeting the US House, entering address information with a zip code of 90212 would bring up Representative Henry Waxman (as of Nov 2011, that is!).

      However, in some cases, you'll want to select a specific group of targets (perhaps to exclude other targets who are not on a committee or have already pledged their support to the cause at hand). In those cases, you'll want to use the Filter feature to select only the targets of interest. Clicking the Filter feature brings up a screen similar to this:

      Please note that this screen will provide different options based on the target type you are filtering. The above screenshot is for the US House type.

      At this point, you can select what criteria you would like to filter on, and then make as many selections in the checkboxes next to each target. If you do a second search based on other criteria, your previous selections will be maintained.

      After you've made your target selections, you'll then see those targets listed in the 'Target' tab of the Action's setup.  

      Note:  Any category that is 200 or more will be listed as a category instead of individuals.  Rather than loading all targets individually to the target list when you choose a subset of targets greater then 200, Salsa will just note the category. For example, if you choose US House, Republican Party and click "Select All", Salsa will add a target listed as: "All of - US House - Republican Party" instead of loading each individually.


      Step 4 - Who can act?

      Use the options in this tab to limit the action to specific states or federal districts.

      Who is allowed to take action?

      If you are not adding any restrictions, choose the default "Everyone" option. Otherwise, to add restrictions, choose "Only people in the following areas" from the drop-down menu.

      Restrict to these States

      Only supporters providing an address from one of the U.S. states or Canadian provinces will be permitted to take the action.  (Possible use case:  When running a write-your-rep action to Minnesota state legislators, select "Minnesota" to allow only Minnesotans to write.)

      Restrict to these Federal Districts

      Only supporters providing an address from one of the selected U.S. congressional districts will be permitted to take the action. (Possible use case:  When attempting to generate constituent messages to only a specific legislator, select that legislator's district.)

      Text for Excluded Users

      The text in this box (which also accepts HTML) appears to a supporter who cannot take action due to the above restrictions.


      Step 5 - User Information 

      This tab allows you to define what information you gather from your supporters when they "sign" the petition. It also allows you to assign your supporters to groups.

      Requested User Fields

      This section allows you to set the fields that end-user supporters will be asked to fill out, and (via the "Required" checkboxes beside each field) require that some or all of the requested information be provided before the submission is accepted by Salsa (users will see an error message like "Please provide the following information," when they try to submit an incomplete form).

      To add an additional field, click the "another field" link, and choose the field from the pull-down menu. To eliminate a field you've already selected, click the "-" button next to that field.

      By default, fields will appear in Salsa's predefined sequence of precedence regardless of the order those fields appear in your headquarters page setup. However, you may choose to order the fields to your own preference. To order the fields:

        1. Click the "Use Field Order Shown Below" box, and save.
        2. Change the order of your saved fields by clicking the drag handle next to any field, and holding down your mouse button as you move it up or down the field list.
        3. When the fields are ordered to your liking, click "save".

      Add to these Groups

      Groups are a way of tracking subsets of your supporters who meet certain criteria that set them apart from the rest of the list. You can create as many groups as you like, and each group can contain as many of your supporters as you would like to include. Groups can be used as search criteria for queries and for targeting email messages.

      Under “Add to these Groups” click “Add a Group.” Then click the magnifier icon. A pop-up list of your groups will appear, and you can click “Select” to choose which group end-user supporters on your action page will be automatically added to. Continue this process if you want to choose multiple groups.

      Optional Groups

      Next, you can select one or more “Optional Groups” as you would an automatic group (in the “Add to these Groups” option). A checkbox will appear on the user-facing page for each optional group that you select, giving supporters a choice of whether to add themselves to groups. Many organizations use Optional Groups to invite supporters to receive one or more newsletters.


      Step 6 - Follow-up

      This tab allows you to define what occurs after a user has successfully signed a petition.

      What do you want to display on success?

      Choose where you would like your supporters to see after submitting the action. You can only choose one of the following options. The options are: 

      • Display Thank You Text - The supporter will not be redirected to a new page, but will see the message entered in the Thank You Text box below. 
      • Redirect to a Tell a Friend Page - This option will provide you with a list of existing Tell a Friend pages to choose as your redirect page. Alternatively, you can click the "Create Tell-a-Friend" link to make a TAF page on the fly.
      • Redirect to a Donation Page - This option will provide you with a list of existing Donation pages to choose as your redirect page. 
      • Redirect to Another Page - This option will allow you to enter any URL as your redirect page. Make sure to include http:// at the beginning of the URL. 

      Assign Email Autoresponses (Triggers)

      “Add a new response” creates a brand-new Autoresponse on the fly. 

      •    Click "Add a new response" 

      •    The new, not-yet-customized response appears in a shaded bar 

      •    Click the response itself to edit the response message settings and content 

      •    Set as a Reply Email (delivered immediately to the person who signed up), an Individual Email (delivered immediately to a designated third party), or a Timed Trigger (delivered after a set delay to the person who signed up) 

      •    Enter a name and email address who should appear on the "From" line of the email when the recipient reads it, as well as the content of the message itself. 

      Image 1a: Select "Add a new response" (click to enlarge)

      Image 1b: ... the new autoresponse appears in a shaded bar (click to enlarge)

      Image 1c: Proceed to edit the autoresponse configuration (click to enlarge)

      “Add an existing response” selects an Autoresponse you have already configured 

      •    Click "Add an existing response" 

      •    Search among all Autoresponses in your Salsa account 

      •    Click "Select" to associate your chosen Autoresponse with this page (Note: the Autoresponse will still remain in use for any other pages for which it has been selected.) 

      •    The selected response appears in a shaded bar 

      •    If desired, edit the Autoresponse content just as you would a new response as detailed above (Note: editing the Autoresponse content changes its content for every other page that uses the response. When in doubt, create a new response instead.)

      Image 2a: Select "Add an existing response" (click to enlarge)

      Image 2b: Search for and select an auto-response (click to enlarge)

      Step 7 - Options

      This page will allow you to set several optional or additional configurations with your action page.

      Send, at most, this many emails

      To limit the number of e-mails that can be sent through the action, set the maximum number of e-mails to a number where you would like them to stop. You may want to use this as a tactical courtesy when the action is directed to a target (such as a custom target or a local official) not accustomed to receiving large numbers of advocacy e-mails -- pick a number high enough to make your point and low enough to avoid alienating the recipient. Leaving the number at 0 will allow an unlimited number of e-mails to be sent.

      Send, at most, this many total faxes

      To limit the number of faxes that can be sent through the action (and thus the amount you can be charged for fax service), set the maximum number of faxes to a number where you would like them to stop.  By default, this number is set to zero:  you must enter a larger figure to conduct a faxing action.

      There may be an additional cost for faxing – check with your provider. DemocracyInAction and Wired For Change currently bill $0.10 per page (there may be more than one page per action for long messages) for domestic faxing and actual cost (which can range well above $1 per page) for international faxing.


      If there is a need to disable the action entirely, you can simply select "Inactive" from the drop-down list.


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      • What is the "select single recipient" targets option?

        Comment actions Permalink
      • Hi Coby,

        Consider both "Select single recipient" and "Select multiple recipients" the same as "Custom Recipients" and "Custom recipient groups" - they operate the exact same, but "Custom Recipients" is the best to use going forward.

        Unfortunately, the first two sets haven't been dropped from the interface yet - it's in front of our developers for future removal. 


        Comment actions Permalink
      • Got it, thanks.

        So my related question is -- Is there a way I can create a targeted action to 1 target who is not a custom target? For example, the Chair of a Senate committee, or the Majority leader, etc? That is, assuming I don't have an email address for them so I can't enter them in as a custom target.


        Comment actions Permalink
      • In that case, just use the Filter option (described at the end of Step 3 in this documentation) - you'll find said member (after sorting the list by state, or party, or other category), then put a checkbox next to their name to make them the sole target in that selection.

        Do be aware, however, of the built-in targeting restrictions: (To be clear, these restrictions aren't Salsa-specific, but are a requirement put in place at the Congressional level which we adhere to.)

        Comment actions Permalink
      • Hi, totally new and this was very helpful. I have a very, very basic question though. How do I actually send my action alert and make my page public? I'm stumped - probably totally obvious but can't figure it out. Help!

        Comment actions Permalink
      • Tamie - 

        That's a completely relevant and important question! This article is exactly what you're looking for.

        Comment actions Permalink
      • Can I edit an action after it has been published?

        Comment actions Permalink
      • So how do I use the Blind Target option? I never three mentions of "blind" here but nothing about how to use it, and I didn't see "blind" mentioned in the Advocacy program itself. I only have one target for my supporters to write to in the Action Alert I'm sending out tomorrow morning.

        Comment actions Permalink
      • Hi Trineka,

        You can edit an action for as long as it's active.  After that, it's not really "published" anymore so there's no need to edit further.


        Comment actions Permalink
      • Hi Brian,

        Blind targeted actions perform almost exactly the same way as targeted action.  The only thing that's different is that when supporters land on the action page, that have one less step between them and action completion.

        Blind targeted action workflow:

        1. Supporter lands on page
        2. Supporter (hopefullly) customizes the letter and submits the form
        3. Action is complete!

        Targeted action workflow:

        1. Supporter lands on page
        2. Supporter enters their zip code
        3. If a potential target corresponds to the supporter zip code, Supporter (hopefully) customizes the letter and submits the form
        4. Action is complete!

        Some users prefer blind targeted actions because they see an increase in conversion rates, but both will deliver letters to the action's targets.

        Best regards,


        Comment actions Permalink
      • Which is the best option if we do not want to require the supporter to be a constituent of the target?  We would like anyone in the state to contact members of an entire standing committee.  Blind targeted action?  Or Targeted action with a custom list?  Thank you for your clarification.     

        Comment actions Permalink
      • Hi Doug,

        Targeted actions are, as their name implies, targeted.  It's a tool for supporters to contact their elected officials since elected officials really only want to hear from their own constituents.  All of our targeted action tools map supporter to elected official and send letters only to that supporter's elected official(s).

        In the example that you describe, however (where an elected official serves on a standing committee), the elected official effectively broadens their constituent base to all citizens effected by that committee's decisions.  If you'd like to allow any voter to contact a particular group of elected officials due to their service as a committee member, you can add those elected officials as a custom target and load those custom targets as targets of the action.

        Comment actions Permalink
      • Hi,

        I was wondering if there is a way to create a two-part Take Action, where a supporter can either write to a legislator to ask to support a bill or thank them for supporting a bill, depending on what their legislator has done.  I thought that maybe by creating two sets of recipients of both state representatives and state senators (4 sets in all -those who have sponsored and those who haven't) and an alternative message/action I could do this, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  From reading this training note it appears that creating an alternative message just creates a random selection of messages for a supporter to send out.  Is this correct or is there a way to do what I described above?

        Thank you!



        Comment actions Permalink
      • Hi Corinne,

        To do this, your best tool is a multi-content targeted action.  It works just like a targeted action, except you can create two letters and add specific targets to each letter - exactly what you described above.

        Comment actions Permalink
      • Can I change the action type from Multi targeted to blind before publishing?

        Comment actions Permalink
      • When sending a blind target letter to a representative does the letter automatically create a dear field along with the editable content that the user experiences?  Or do to need to make this a part of the your content? 

        Comment actions Permalink

      Article is closed for comments.