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Zak Fowler April 24, 2013 • 5 • Learn Salsa Basics / Supporter Management
Both groups and tags have many potential applications for sorting, segmenting, and searching through your supporters in Salsa. So, which one should you use? You should use both! Tags and groups can be used together to help you keep track of your supporters in efficient, powerful ways.
Groups are ways to group supporters into different subsets: donors, people in a particular state, people who signed on to a particular issue, newsletter subscribers, etc. Groups only work with supporters, that is, people in the Salsa database. Tags are also used to create subsets, but 1) they can be attached to nearly anything in Salsa, including individual supporters, signup sheets, donation forms, and events; and 2) they’re sticky: any supporter that touches something with a tag will be tagged accordingly. In other words, someone who signs up on a page tagged with "Blimp Owners' Rights" will get their supporter record tagged accordingly.
And indeed you could, but here are three reasons to use tags:
Here are a couple of examples we gave from last week's webinar:
Say you've got three issues you're working on, and you want to know how the groups break down among your supporters. Does everyone support all your issues? Do people like one and not another? Are tons of people subscribed to newsletters on an issue, but only responding to certain calls for action or support?
Use groups and tags to explore these relationships with the search query by creating the following groups/tags (or adding to what you've got):
Groups: 1 for each issue (Blimp Ownership, Elect Keanu, Teach Kung Fu), 1 for All Donors
Tags: 2 each on actions: Action-taker and Petition/ Letter (type of action); 2 each on big events: Event-participant and Rally/ Protest/ Service Day (type of event). Participants in these actions or events will get tagged accordingly.
With these tags in place, after a certain amount of time and events have taken place, you can now run queries like: "Members of Blimp Ownership and Elect Keanu and tagged with Action-taker" (people who support both issues and have taken any kind of action) or "People in Minnesota and Members of Teach Kung Fu and Donors and not tagged with Event-participant" (people who support a certain issue and who donate, but didn't go to your 2011 Minneapolis March for Kung Fu).
Once you've segmented these groups, you can do research (why are so few people supporting more than one of your issues?) or plan special appeals (reach out to people who have taken action online but haven't donated or attended live events yet) or adjust your marketing (turns out nobody in Utah likes Keanu Reeves, so find a different message for the Beehive State).
Additionally, you can very quickly segment supporters based on their activity. While Salsa allows you to build complex queries based on whether a person participated in any individual activity or opened a particular email blast*, sometimes you just want to know really quickly how many people in California have donated and taken action at some point––and depending on how precise you want to get with your tags, you can define " superactivists" however you want based on their past behavior, then find people matching that description.
In the end, tags represent a shorthand way of doing similar segmentation tasks involving groups, Salsa packages, and queries. But that's the real beauty of tags, and perhaps the best reason to try them out: you can experiment with different ways of looking at and combining your supporters without changing your existing groups or workflows. Add a hundred tags to each supporter if you like, and see how the dots connect--you can always delete the tags, transition them to groups if you identify a new permanent segment you'd like to identify, or mix and match them to your heart's content. You may find that a simple tweak to a query or an appeal suddenly becomes more effective because it's reaching the right people, the people who want to do more for your cause and just need the right ask at the right time.
Akash has spent time in many different capacities at small non-profits, where he's been volunteering or working since college. He's seen things you wouldn't believe. He's even got 501(c)(3) tattooed on his bicep. (Not really.) He's used his unique blend of hi-tech savvy and low-tech problem solving to improve congressional advocacy, online fundraising, campaign communications, and volunteer organizing on issues ranging from environmental education to geriatric pharmacotherapy. He currently serves on the board of the Friends of the Cecil County (Maryland) Public Library and volunteers in his church's youth ministry.
Jake Patoski November 30, 2012 • Learn Salsa Basics / Supporter Management
Do you need to know who you most active supporters are?
The problem with "the most active supporters" is that each organization defines "the most active" in a different way. For some organizations, number of actions taken matters the most, but for others it's number of donations given. The Scoring Package allows you to array all of your supporters' actions on a single scale that you define - it gives you complete control over creating the definition of "most active" and then for querying and grouping supporters based on their activity level.
Supporter Scores take instances of different types of things your supporters might do (such as make a donation, register for an event, or join a group) and defines point values for them.
You can also create multiple scores to measure supporter involvement in different ways: for instance, organizers might be very interested in people proven to turn up to events, while fundraisers will prioritize donors. Maybe you want a Score to isolate people who are heavy online activists to see if you can upgrade them to donors. There's no limit on the number of different Scores your organization can create.
Scoring is an optional package that can be added to your account for free. Contact your account manager if you'd like to add it. Once it's added to your account, you can find it in the Supporter Package.
Want a quick overview of the scoring package? Watch this video. Full feature documentation is found below.
To create a new score, click on Add a Score in the Scoring section of the Supporter Package. To see a list of Scores in your account, click on Edit a Score.
When created a new or editing an existing score, you'll first edit the options on the Overview tab of the Score workflow. On the Overview tab, you can give the score a name, a short description, and set the status of the score to Active or Inactive.
You can create as many Scores as you'd like. What the fundraising team considers an "Active Supporter" may be slightly different from what your advocacy team considers an "Active Supporter." You can build separate scores for each group or purpose within your organization.
Each Score is defined by one or more constituent Scoring Entries. Those entries are enumerated under the Scoring Entries tab.
You must have at least one Scoring Entry for your Score to generate any point values at all, but a Score can contain as few or as many Entries as you like -- there's no limit.
To build a new Scoring Entry with its own set of variables, just click the button.
The reference name is simply an internal name, such as donation or group membership that you'll use to identify the function of a particular Scoring Entry when you scan your Score's list of Entries in the future.
You have two choices in the Scoring Category menu.
If you select the Scoring Category Fixed, you'll see a new field called "Optional Column". Enter the name of the database field you intend to use here. (For scoring the value of supporters' donations, enter amount.)
Select the name of the database table from which your Scoring Entry should pull data. The pull-down menu provides an exhaustive list of such tables; for more information about them, consult the database documentation.
Noted here are the tables likely to be the most useful for inclusion in a Score; bolded entries are especially recommended.
|Table Name||Scoring Function|
|blog comment||For placing a comment (when signed in) on one of your Salsa blogs.|
|chapter officer||For being designated an officer of one of your chapters.|
|contact history||If you use Salsa as a contact manager for tracking supporter "touches", contact history would include these.|
|donation||Gives a score for every instance of a donation -- regardless of amount.|
|Gives a score for every Salsa email blast sent to the supporter, regardless of whether opened or clicked.|
|event||Not to be confused with supporter_event. Gives a score for any supporter registering through a Distributed Event action to host their own event.|
|listserve message||If you use Salsa's group-based listserve functionality, this credits a subscriber every time s/he sends an email to the list.|
|pledge||Gives a score for every instance of a pledge -- regardless of amount or fulfillment status.|
|recurring donation||Gives a score to a supporter for submitting a recurring donation, regardless of amount or payment schedule. This is a one-time credit for making a recurring commitment; the individual payments generated by a recurring donation will be scored with thedonationtable.|
|supporter||Gives an immediate value to every supporter for his or her initial signup.|
|supporter action||Value for every action (write-your-rep, etc.) taken. If a single person takes action and contacts his or her two Senators and one House representative, supporter action target will countoneinstance.|
|supporter action target||Value for every individual message sent as a result of an action. If a single person takes action and contacts his or her two Senators and one House representative, supporter action target will count three instances.|
|Same as supporter_action, but for the deprecated original write-your-rep tool aka "Campaigns". For scoring purposes, these tables are redundant with one another; use either one, but not both.|
|supporter chapter||Gives a score to any supporter who is a member of a chapter.|
|supporter_email_statistics||A table that keeps count of supporters' lifetime email messages received, opened, and clicked. This table can only be used with the Fixed scoring category ; because the supporter_email_statistics table lacks a date_created field, it will cause an error if set to Normal.|
|supporter event||Gives a score for any supporter registering to attend an event (either your own, or a Salsa distributed event conducted by another supporter). Note that a paid event registration generates both a supporter_event entry and a donation entry.|
|supporter groups||Credits supporter for every group membership. (The scoring tool does not differentiate between which groups are "important" and which not; it weighs all group memberships equally.)|
|supporter letter||Credits supporter for every letter-to-the-editor (LTE) action taken.|
|supporter my donate page||Gives a score to any supporter who has created a personal friend-to-friend fundraising page.|
|supporter my donate page donation||Gives a score to any supporter who has donated through a friend's personal fundraising page. Score is in addition to the score they will also receive for "donation" above.|
|supporter petition||Same as supporter_action, but for the deprecated original petition tool.|
|supporter picture||If using an instance of Salsa that allows supporters to upload a personal profile picture, this table would give them a scoring credit for doing so.|
|supporter volunteer||Credits with a score every supporter marked as a volunteer using the Salsa Volunteers tool.|
Point values are dynamic: they're worth the most immediately after the actions happen, and then they decline over time. How much each is worth originally, and how much it declines over time is up to you. As the campaign manager, you define the parameters Salsa employs to generate these scores using several variables. The principal ones are:
Multiplies the initial point value of the instance by this figure. Differing multiplier values are the key thing differentiating the importance you place on various forms of engagement.
Example: If a donation is worth twice as much as event attendance to your organization, the multiplier for your donation scoring entry might be 6 while the multiplier for your event attendance scoring entry might be 3 (because 6 is twice 3).
At a certain number of days after a scoring instance takes place, you can drop it from further consideration. To do so, enter in the Expiration field an integer representing the number of days. For instance, you might decide that after one year, donations are no longer worth considering. To set this behavior up, enter 365 in your Expiration field. If you leave the Expiration blank, scoring instances will be included in your supporters' score calculations no matter how old they might be.
Instead of suddenly expiring (via the value set in the Expiration field above), points may optionally "decay" over time via the value entered in the Half-life field.
The Half-life field defines the rate at which different types of actions decay. By the point the Half-life is reached, the value of the initial action will have been halved, and it will continue the same arc of decay going forward, continually halving itself.
For instance, if a donation is worth 6, and has a half-life of 180 days, then by the 180th day it will only count 3 towards the supporter's score. At the 360th day, it will only count 1.5 towards the supporter's score. If we've also set an expiration at 365 days, as described above, it will continue its incremental decline on days 361 through 364, then drop to exactly 1 on the 365th day and remain worth 1 point, permanently.
If you leave Half-life blank, all scoring instances will have stable, permanent values (unless you use an Expiration), meaning a donation yesterday will count the same as a donation three years ago.
As supporters' actions decay (either via the Half-Life field or the Expiration field above), they will decline towards zero. The Minimum field allows you to set a "floor" insuring that certain types of actions will always have a point value, no matter how long ago they occurred.
For instance, you might decide that a donation at any point in the supporter's history is at least as valuable as taking the most recent online action and set a Minimum of 1. If you have also set an Expiration such as 365, the value will drop to 1 on the 365th day and remain there permanently (rather than dropping to 0).
If you leave the Minimum blank, Salsa will treat it as 0.
Available under the Scoring Entry's Advanced settings, a Threshold is a score below which regular score decay ceases and the scoring instance becomes worth either 0 (the default) or the Fixed Score value you define.
Threshold and Fixed Score are very similar to Expiration and Minimum, and both sets of values react to scores decaying over time using the Half-life setting. The difference is that:
The following simple set of Scoring Entry settings might give you a starting point for your first Salsa Score. The settings in this table have no special authority, and you should feel free to vary them or exclude them as you experiment with your own Salsa Scores.
|Letters to the Editor||supporter_letter||1.5||60||180||.1|
|Conducting P2P Fundraising||supporter_my_donate_page||12||365||730||2.5|
Scoring values don't compute instantaneously. A periodic script (generally executing twice per day) will generate a point value for every supporter as determined by every Salsa Score. Set up your score and check on it in 24 hours.
Query, target, or report. Once the script does populate values, you'll be able to run queries, target emails, and generate reports based on its numerical output.