Targeted Actions Overview
Targeted Actions enable your supporters to quickly engage with lawmakers or other targets on important issues:
- Capture your supporter's name and contact information, as well as data required by the target(s), with your forms.
- Define the channel message(s), such as action items, suggested email or Twitter content, or phone messaging with Click to Call.
- Create quick action campaigns that fit on one page with one message sent to one target or one set of targets.
- Create campaigns that send one message to one set of targets and a different message to another set of targets. For example, send separate email campaigns to congressmen in different political parties in the same chamber of Congress depending on how they intend to vote.
- Send separate target sets to House Members to vote a certain way on the House bill and Senate members to vote a certain way on the Senate bill. These types of forms have supporter contact information on the first page, then action items to act on different Target Sets on the next page. Multiple contact channels, such as email and Twitter, display to the supporter on a subsequent page.
Targeted actions primarily target the following US offices:
- Federal Executive positions
- Federal House Representatives
- Federal Senators
- State Executive positions
- State House Representatives
- State Senators
- County political representatives
- Municipality political representatives
- Manually entered Custom Targets
Targeted Actions Creation Workflow
Check out the Salsa Scholars Targeted Actions training course for hands-on practice.
Step 1: Basics
To start a new Targeted Action...
- Click Activities from the left navigation menu.
- Select the Targeted Actions tab.
- Click the Start an Activity button to the right of the window.
- Select the Targeted Actions link.
- The Make Your Selection tab is selected by default. This is the first step for any new Activity or Email. Choose a starting point to create a new Activity. You can copy an existing form, select from a library of shared content to use as a template, or start fresh from a layout. See Make Your Selection for more information.
- Click the Next» button in the lower right-hand corner to advance to the Basics step.
- The Basics tab is selected by default.
The second step in the creation of any Activity enables you to add Basics information, such as a name and description for the given Activity. See Activity 'Basics' for more information.
- Click the Next» button in the lower right-hand corner to advance to the Targets step.
Step 2: Set Delivery Channels and Messages
The Targets tab is where you create your messages and determine to whom you target those messages. If you intend to have your supporters send emails to a certain US Senator, the senator is the target, email is the delivery channel, and the email content is the message.
You can target one person or multiple people—such as US Senators—with the same message. You can also target multiple groups of people with different messages, such as one message to US Senate Democrats and another to US Senate Republicans. Compose the message for each delivery channel you wish to use: Click to Call, Email, or Twitter.
A. Fax Fallback
To ensure the highest possible delivery rate for your automatic form submissions, Engage can submit the supporter's contact details and message content via fax or store the message, so that it can be exported and delivered manually. The fallback to fax or stored only messages will be transparent to the supporter.
Click the Enable Fax Fallback checkbox at the top of the screen to activate fax as a "last resort" for that entire Targeted Action, not just a particular Target Set.
Note that there is a cost associated with Fax Fallback services. Fax delivery costs $0.05 per submission to be delivered. We will invoice that to you directly in your monthly Salsa invoice. By default we configure a $0 budget to send faxes.
You can control your monthly budget for fax delivery right in Salsa Engage. The Fax Fallback Budget Cap is the maximum number of dollars you are willing to pay for fax delivery services for that particular action. Once the cap is exceeded, your submissions will be recorded and stored for export. If you have met or exceeded your Budget Cap for that action, you can come back here to increase the Budget Cap and enable Fax Fallback again.
Engage sends an email when 50%, 75%, 90%, and 100% of your budget cap has been reached. When your action is close to reaching its budget cap, you may want to increase it to keep your action rolling. Once the cap is exceeded, your submissions will be recorded and stored for export. If you have met or exceeded your budget cap, you can come back here to increase the Budget Amount and enable Fax Fallback again.
To edit your fax fallback settings...
- Next to Budget Amount: $0.00 = approximately 0 faxes click the pencil icon. The Update Fallback Settings window appears.
- Under Fax Fallback Budget Cap for this Action enter your Budget Amount.
- Under Fax Fallback Budget Cap Alerts enter the emails whom you wish to receive budget cap alert emails. Enter one email, then select the Add button, and continue that process for as many emails as you need to contact.
B. Delivery Channels
Within each Target Set, the Message and Delivery Channels section enables different Channels—or delivery methods—of your message to the Target Set. Delivery channels can be toggled on and off. Craft different messages for each delivery channel based on the limitations of each channel (for example, the 280-character Twitter limit). Once you set to whom your messages will be delivered, a metric in the delivery channel row shows you how many targets you can reach with that particular delivery channel.
Before you select who you are targeting with your message, determine what methods of message delivery you will use to contact your targets.
- Click to Call (Click here for details about Click To Call.)
To add the message to a particular channel...
- Click the slider in the Enabled column to ON.
NOTE: You will not be able to activate Click-to-Call in this manner.
- Click the pencil icon in the Edit column to open the Message Channel dialog box and fill out the Message(s) for each channel. Details about each Message Channel are below.
- Click the Save button to save the channel message.
Click to-Call Channel
For Click To Call, you can Record Audio or Enter Text to be Dictated. See this article for detailed information on activating a Click-to-Call channel for your Targeted Action.
The Channel [Message] dialog box for Twitter contains only a Message field. Compose (or paste in) the actual plain-text message that will be sent by your supporters to their respective legislative targets. Keep in mind that the body of the tweet is limited to plain text. Plain text has less chance of having strange formatting. Copy and Paste ONLY plain text content. Programs such as Word and Google Docs are not plain text.
If you intend to deliver your messages by email, we check whether your target(s) have a web site form through which we can transmit your messages. If so, we deliver the message through that web form or API endpoint.
NOTE: To prevent online spam messages from being submitted, many legislative recipients have added automated anti-spam functionality to their online contact forms. While it is often in the legislator's best interest to do so, the unfortunate side effect is that legitimate messages from your supporters may be blocked from automatically submitting to a small portion of your action's recipients.
- If there is no web form, or if it is protected by a CAPTCHA, we check if the target(s) have an email address. If they have an email address, we deliver the supporters' messages by email instead.
- If the target has no email address, we check if the target(s) have a fax number. If they have a fax number, we can deliver the supporters' messages by fax instead, assuming your organization activates fax fallback.
- Otherwise, we will deliver your supporters' messages to a storage folder in your Engage database, to store until you can print your supporters' messages and deliver them to your targets.
NOTE: The fallback to fax or stored-only messages will be transparent to the supporter. For supporter and insight queries, we aggregate faxed and stored-only messages with the email channel.
The Email or Form Message for Target Set dialog box contains a number of fields to customize the experience.
|Can the supporter customize this message?||Customization allows supporters to add their personal stories or feelings to the letter. If you want to standardize the letter being sent on this topic, supporters can add a comment to make it more personal. Keep in mind, if constituents are allowed to customize the letter, they won't be able to leave comments; it's one or the other.|
|Topic||Most legislators accept feedback from their constituency via email or web forms. These legislators like to get a sense of how the message being sent to them corresponds to any number of topics. These subjects range from Agriculture and the Arts all the way to Veteran's Affairs and Women's Issues. Legislative webforms also parse out information based on these topics. Here's where you'll choose the most relevant topic that corresponds to your messaging. Use the pulldown menu that begins with 'Agriculture'. Click the up and down arrows to open the drop-down and make a selection.|
|Subject Line||Every email needs a subject line, so here's where you'll enter that information. This is the short description of the content that the targets will see when one of your supporters sends them an email via your form.|
|Body of Message||This is the content section in which you will compose (or paste in) the actual message that will be sent by your supporters to their respective legislative targets. Keep in mind that you can enter only text into this field. If you attempt to use HTML code, you'll see a warning.
Targeted Actions emails have a 3,000 character limit.
Optionally, you can create multiple different letters that will be presented randomly to your supporters. You can create a 'carousel' of multiple message content versions by clicking the + tab to add up to 20 different versions of the message. Engage will display messages in round-robin fashion for each browser session, 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.
NOTE: The body of the message is limited to plain text for a couple of reasons:
CAUTION: Copy and Paste ONLY plain text content. Programs such as Word and Google Docs are not plain text.
When you're finished writing the message, click Save.
Repeat this process as many times as you have different messages and delivery options for each target set.
Step 3: Set Your Targets
Set up the targets for your activity, delivery options for your actions, and the content of your messages. For the same campaign, you may create multiple target sets that deliver different supporter-generated messages to different targets based on criteria you define, such as one, hopeful message to one congressional political party and a different, encouraging message to the other congressional political party.
Target Sets represent combinations of individual or political office targets, the message you are sending them, and the delivery method for each message. For example, you may have separate target sets with differing messages for congressional Democrats than for congressional Republicans, some of whom may or may not be reachable by a phone call, email, tweet, or fax.
When you first create a Targeted Action, one initial Target Set tab is created automatically under Set Your Targets and Messages. Click the + tab to create another Target Set. A new target set tab will be immediately created to the right of the original one. The currently selected target set is highlighted in white, while any currently unselected target sets are grey. Target sets may be deleted by selecting the small X on the currently selected tab.
Add a required Target Set Reference Name and brief Description (optional) for that target set that makes it unique within that Targeted Action.
Targeting Offices or Individuals
To generate targets within a Target Set, click the Select Targets button on the right. The Find & Select Targets window will open.
Use the Find & Select Targets window to add targets. It enables you to sift through the various hierarchies of options from custom targets to Federal officials all the way down to Municipal-level policymakers.
The window has three parts:
A. The left column includes target filters to trim down the list of potential targets, such as whether they are custom targets, executive/legislative branch, or federal/state/local officials.
B. The middle column includes a search bar for finding and selecting matching offices or individuals. Add all filtered offices, or individuals, or use the checkbox in the first column to select individual targets.
NOTE: A targeted action to the county or municipal level will return all county/municipality legislators unless it is one of the top 100 counties in the United States based on population, listed in the table found here.
C. The right column shows the selected offices or individuals. Remove individual offices, persons, or all selected targets.
PRO TIP: Salsa Engage uses full, legal names for representatives at all levels. As there are no official registers with nicknames, trying to use nicknames would result in unacceptable errors.
To select targets for your action...
- In the Filter Targets section, click the Target Type checkbox to select your desired list. For example, you can select all members of the Federal Senate. Make sure to select all Target Types at the same time.
- Click the Apply button to add Target Types.
- Click the X inside the Target Type to remove just that Target Type.
- You may also Clear all Target Types.
- Narrow your search further by distinct categories for that type. For example, you could select all State Senators from the state of Alaska or all Federal Senators in the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus (below). Select your filter type:
- [US] State
- [Political] Party
- Click the Add Filter button to narrow your category search.
- Click the checkbox next to the filter option
- Click Apply to add that option.
- Click the X inside the category to remove just that category.
- You may also Clear all categories.
- After you've set your filters to narrow down exactly who you are looking for, select the officeholders or the individuals to target in the middle column. Selecting officeholders will, for example, always select the US senators in the Banking Committee, regardless of the person who actually holds the seat in Congress. Selecting individuals always targets those individuals, up until the point that they vacate their offices.
- Select all matching offices—Click the Add all matching offices button at the top middle of the screen.
- Select all matching individuals—Click the drop-down arrow on the right side of the Add all matching offices button. This may not be recommended if you are then selecting thousands of individuals at once.
- Select multiple individual targets—Click the checkboxes in the target list in the middle of the page. Select all rows in the table by clicking the checkbox in the grey header row. Add multiple targets by selecting the Actions dropdown and clicking Add Selected.
- Select lone individual targets—Click the checkbox in the target list in the middle of the page. Add an individual target by clicking the Add as individual target button.
- Remove any office or individuals in the rightmost column.
- Click the X within the office or individual listing to remove them one by one.
- Click Remove All in the top right to remove all of the offices and individuals at one time.
- Click Save to retain your changes or Cancel to back out of making any changes.
Once you've finished your messaging and have your targets lined up, click Next» to move forward and build the form.
Sometimes, you will want to target individuals other than the federal government officials that we have in our database. For example, if you would like to contact local school board members or the heads of specific corporations, you can create a custom list of recipients for your targeted letters. Those custom targets may also be restricted by region or by certain federal or state congressional districts. You may also choose not to submit supporter addresses or phone numbers to these custom targets.
On the Targeted Actions screen, click the Custom Target tab to add a single custom target.
- Select Add a Custom Target from the Custom Targets tab.
- Fill out the required fields. See below.
The following fields can be defined for a Custom Target. Fields marked with asterisks are required to be filled in before saving.
|External Target ID||
If you are frequently importing custom targets, this ID helps to identify unique targets so that Engage may deduplicate your entries.
Select the type of Custom Target you are adding. Choices are...
Add a prefix to a person's name (ie., Mr. Mrs. Dr.) to be used on the form itself to identify the target.
Add a letter salutation that will replace the built-in structure of
Add the target's first name. Used on the form itself to identify the target.
Add the target's last name. Used on the form itself to identify the target.
Add the target's email. Used on the form itself to identify the target.
NOTE: Do not use a custom target email address from a major ISP like Gmail or Yahoo. This will likely fail to send, because salsalabs.org is sending the email but it looks like Yahoo or Gmail is the email address, and that major ISP will hard-bounce that email, since they don't match.
Add the target's job title. Used on the form itself to identify the target.
Add the target's employer. Used on the form itself to identify the target.
Add the city where the target is primarily located.
Add the state where the target is primarily located.
Add the ZIP or postal code where the target is primarily located.
Add the target's Twitter handle (for example, @elonmusk).
* Required Custom Target Information
- Click Next at the bottom right or click the Targeting Options tab at the top. You will be able to limit which supporters are eligible to contact this custom target based on the address they submit. You will also be able to choose whether addresses or phone numbers are submitted to the custom target.
You can limit which supporters are eligible to contact this custom target based on the address they submit on a targeted action where this custom target is included. You may restrict by ZIP code OR by legislative constituency at the state or district level:
- No restrictions
- Restrict by State
- Restrict by ZIP Code (or ZIP+4 for precise districting)
- Restrict by Federal House District
- Restrict by State Senate District
- Restrict by State House District
This feature is currently available for only custom targets and supporters based in the United States.
NOTE: If you publish a Targeted Action that includes only custom targets with no regional or district restrictions, you may set the address fields as optional in the Visual Editor. If—after publishing that Targeted Action—you then add a regional or district restriction to one or more of the included custom targets, the published page automatically requires address fields, even if the address fields are not configured as required when editing the form.
If you have selected targets in bulk, you may want to consider manually removing specific individuals or offices. For example, you've added "All of Federal Senate" but then wish to exclude a few particular individuals or members of a specific caucus.
You do not need to manually exclude targets that were not included or have already been selected in a different target set.
The process for selecting Targets to exclude is similar to selecting Targets to include, as above.
Import Custom Targets
Please see this article to learn more about importing Custom Targets.
Export Custom Targets
If you wish to export your list of custom targets, click the Download List of Custom Targets button on the left. The list is exported as a tab-delimited file, however, the file extension is CSV. If you're having trouble opening the file in your local spreadsheet program, change the file's .CSV extension to .TSV instead.
Data Submission Options
Limit the supporter data which may be shared with custom targets:
- Do not submit supporter phone numbers in messages to this Custom Target
- Do not submit supporter addresses in messages to this Custom Target
Click the Save button at the bottom right corner of the screen to retain your changes. You are not taken back to the previous screen with the Custom Target list automatically; use the breadcrumb trail at the top of the screen to navigate back to the list of Custom Targets.
Step 4: Compose the Form
It's time to compose your form! When composing, you can drag and drop the building blocks of your form into the basic layout you chose. These building blocks include content sections, buttons, images, and more. We load your default color scheme into the template—but feel free to mix it up! See New Activities: Compose for detailed information.
Supporters can share the link to your Targeted Action page themselves. Add the Social Share element to either to the Landing Page, the No Target Page, or to the Confirmation Page. These posts are always public-facing and cannot be directed in private messages.
NOTE: Facebook no longer supports posting on behalf of others to the Supporter's timeline or to a Target's timeline, so support for posting Targeted Actions to Facebook is no longer available.
Pro Tip: Use the Outline view to easily move components around.
Step 5: Set Up Autoresponder
You can choose whether or not to include an Autoresponder to this form by selecting the appropriate radio button under the Autoresponders tab. Learn more about Autoresponders and how to configure them.
Publish This Form
Click Publish This Form on the Autoresponders tab when you are ready to make your form public. Once published, Salsa Engage will provide a URL that links to the form and create widgets, as described below.
NOTE: If you change your mind and decide that you do not wish to have your form published just yet...
- Scroll down to the lower left-hand corner of the page.
- Click the cogwheel icon
- Choose the Make it Private link from the subsequent menu.
Widgets for External Webpages
After you publish, Salsa Engage generates widget code that enables you to...
- Add a button to your website that links to your form by copying the code and adding it to any web page where you want this button to be displayed.
- Embed the form itself in your website by copying the code and adding it to any web page where you want this form to be displayed.
NOTE: You'll probably need admin level access to your website to use this widget code. Click here for more information.
Once you have published a targeted action and collected at least one response on the form, you will find new information generated on the Results tab of the form. The first piece of information you will see at the top is the total supporters engaged on this particular form.
To the right, you'll see an option to change the timeframe (30 days, 90 days, 1year or Lifetime) of when the data for the graphs in the lower section is pulled.
If you have a specific date range you want to filter by, click the date drop-down and select the range of days and click Apply.
See Performance Statistics for Actions and Messages for detailed information.