Recent software enhancements are in red.
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 Federal Executive positions
- US Federal House Representatives
- US Federal Senators
- US State Executive positions
- US State House Representatives
- US State Senators
- US County level political representatives
- US municipality level political representatives
- Manually entered Custom Targets
Targeted Actions Creation Overview
Check out the Salsa Scholars Targeted Actions training course.
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.
Set Targets and Messages
Set up the targets for your activity, delivery options for your messages, and the content for your action.
Message Delivery Options
When targets lack a valid email address or a web form to submit to, Engage can submit the supporter's contact details and message content via fax or store the message so that supporter actions can be exported and delivered manually. This ensures the highest possible delivery rate for your email channel submissions. 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.
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.
- If there is no web form, we check if the target(s) have an email address. If they have an email address, we deliver the supporter's message 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 supporter's message by fax instead, assuming your organization activates fax fallback.
- Otherwise, we will deliver your supporter's message to a storage folder in your Engage database, to store until you can print your supporters' messages and deliver them to your targets.
Fax fallback activation is on the Targets tab. Click the Enable Fax Fallback checkbox to activate fax fallback for that activity.
Fax delivery costs $0.05 per submission to be delivered. We will invoice that to you directly in your monthly Salsa invoice. 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. By default we configure a $0 budget to send faxes.
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.
NOTE: If there is no web form, no email address, and no fax number, we deliver your supporter's message to a storage folder in your Engage database, until you can print your supporters' messages and deliver them to your targets.
Target Sets are groups of targets for each message and will have their own tabs on this screen. Click the + tab to create a new Target Set. A new target set tab will be immediately created. The currently selected, active target set is teal, while any currently unselected target sets are a grey tab. Active target sets may be deleted by selecting the small X on the teal-colored tab.
To generate targets within a Target Set...
- On the Target Set tab, Enter a Target Set Reference Name and Public Target Set Description. This is the information that your supporters will see that will help them to choose the actions that they want to take. Changing the Target Set Reference Name and saving will rename the tab.
- Scroll down to the Targets tab (which is selected by default), and click +Add or Edit Targets button. 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 the Federal House and Senate all the way down to Municipal-level policymakers.
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.
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.
The window has three parts:
A. The first category includes a Search field, so you can quickly find a legislator by name, or filter subsequent options by such criteria as State, County name, etc. As you scroll down into the choices, you can further filter by political party, District, Federal or State-level Committee, and so forth.
B. As soon as you start making choices, your initial results field will begin to populate. You can think of these legislators as being 'on deck'. You can choose the + ADD ALL button to move all results from this section to your final list of choices (column C). You can make individual selections by clicking the plus sign to the right of each name.
C. Your final list of targets displays here. If you decide to remove a target, click the minus icon to the right of the target's name. To reset all of your selected targets to none, click the remove all link in the upper right-hand corner of the Select Targets dialog box. When you're satisfied with your list of choices, click the Save button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.
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 custom target.
- Select Add a Custom Target from the Custom Targets tab.
- Fill out the required fields. See below.
- Click Create Custom Target at the bottom right. You are taken back to the main Targeted Actions screen.
The following fields can be defined for a Custom Target. Fields marked with asterisks are required to be filled in before saving.
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
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 only available for custom targets and supporters based in the United States.
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
Select Message Channels
Click the Messages tab. This tab enables you to select the different delivery methods, or Channels, of your message—email, Twitter, or Click to Call. Click here for details about Click To Call.
- Turn ON the channels that you want to use by clicking the slider in the Enabled column to ON.
- Click the pencil icon to open the Message [Channel] dialog box and fill out the Message(s) for each channel.
- Click the Save button to save the channel message.
The Channel [Message] dialog box for Twitter contains only a Message field. This is the content section where you 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 you can enter only text into this field.
NOTE: The body of the message is limited to plain text for a couple of reasons: Plain text is able to fit into comment sections of any web form that Salsa must parse in order for the letter to be sent. Plain text has less chance of bouncing, being denied, or having formatting obscure the message when being sent through government email servers. Copy and Paste ONLY plain text content. Programs such as Word and Google Docs are not plain text.
For Click To Call, you can Record Audio or Enter Text to be Dictated. Click here for details about Click To Call.
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?||Customizing 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: Plain text is able to fit into comment sections of any web forms that Salsa must parse in order for the letter to be sent. Plain text has less chance of bouncing, being denied, or having formatting obscure the message when being sent through government email servers.
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 Content».
If applicable, write the next target message or the message for the next channel.
- If you are managing a campaign that requires different messages to multiple legislators, scroll back up to the Target Set tab, and click the plus icon to add more target sets. A new Target Set tab will appear. Repeat the steps found above for as many target sets as you need.
- Once you've finished your message(s) and have your targets lined up, click Next» to move forward and build the form.
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. Supporters can still share the Targeted Action themselves, using the Social Share element. Add this element 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.
It's time to compose your form! Using the process below, drag and drop the building blocks of your sign up 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.
Pro Tip: Use the Outline view to easily move components around.
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.