Action Network QuickGuide

The Action Network (AN) provides campaigns with a broad set of organizing tools and your group on Turn PA Blue’s Network provides access to all of them.  The following is an abbreviated list of AN features and highlighted tips for using them. There are detailed help menus on the AN website with more information about each feature  

  • Dashboard
    • Your Dashboard shows you all of the information you need to manage your email list, see your fundraising results, manage your actions, and deal with your account settings.
    • From your dashboard, you can see every group you’re an organizer in or administrator of and access the group’s page and your private organizer/administrative page easily. You can see your email list’s growth over time, and see the size of your email list and other stats about its health. And you can see a list of the last 10 emails and actions you’ve created, with links to manage those actions or emails or view the full list if you want.
  • Actions
    • Petitions
      • Note:  Petitions are not the same as candidate’s petitions to get on a ballot.  These are for gaining support for an issue, then submitting those names to the appropriate elected officials.
      • Most likely, you won’t use this feature very often, unless you’re simply trying to rally support behind an issue.  It may be useful once you get elected and are attempting to maintain connections with your constituents.
    • Events
      • Events will most likely become the most used feature for your campaign as it can reach a broader audience than Facebook events, but also track/collect data on your supporters.  
      • Choose “Create Event” from the “Start Organizing” menu to start creating your event.
        • Fill out the event’s title.
        • You can next choose whether your event has an end time, which is optional, and whether your event takes place at a physical location (good for a meeting or rally) or not (good for a conference call or webinar).
        • Additional details found here.
      • Add or Edit Additional Form Questions
        • Click on this button (blue button on the right) to adjust the data that you will collect.
        • Show or hide standard fields to remove, say, first name from the form if you do not want to collect it using the controls in the sample sidebar on the right. You can also decide whether you want to make the field required or not. Email address must always be present and required, as every activist in our system must have an email address.
        • I would suggest that you require first and last names, then also try to collect cell numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ticketed Events

 

        1. Ticketed Events are similar to regular events, but they require tickets to enter and attendees must pay for entry.  You are also able to give “Comp Tickets” to attendees where there is no charge for it.
        2. You will need to setup an account in one of their payment processors, WePay or Stripe, the first time add a recipient to a ticketed event you’ll be asked to do so.  It is unclear if you are able to use ActBlue for AN’s Ticketed Events.

 

  • Forms
  • Very useful for collecting information.  Replaces Google Forms, Doodle, and other surveys or tools to collect information.

 

        1. Choose “Create Form” from the “Start Organizing” menu to start creating your form.
          1. Fill out the form’s title and description for your form to get activists to fill it out. Next, you have the option of removing the goal slider from your form on the right side, if you don’t want to count the number of actions you’re receiving publicly. (ex: On a tell your story form, you might not want to count the number of stories you’re receiving publicly.) You also must fill in a heading for your form on the right — your call to action as activists are preparing to fill it out. (ex: Tell your story here)
        2. Add or Edit Additional Form Questions
          1. Same process as when adding additional questions for events.  Click on this button (blue button on the right) to adjust the data that you will collect.
        3. Next, you can add optional thank you page text, and show or hide the sharing options on thank you pages.
        4. When you’re ready, publish your form to make it live and start collecting information.

 

  • Letter Campaigns

 

        1. Letter campaigns are actions that your activists can take that send electronic letters to targets you specify.  In other words, you create sample letters and your supporters can personalize and send to specific targets.
          1. Action Network has a set of built in targets you can choose from — members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. Governors, and members of U.S. state legislatures — and you can upload your own custom targets to send messages to them instead.
          2. You will be able to see how many letters were sent, who they were sent to, and to download copies of the letters that were sent.
          3. Phone numbers for targets can also be outputted in emails, allowing you to ask activists to call their elected officials, for instance.
        2. For more information on how to create Letter Campaigns, click here.

 

  • Fundraisers

 

        1. This is an online fundraising tool.  These are created similar to other tools and connected to Action Network’s online payment processors (as done with Ticketed Events)

 

  • Files

 

        1. Your group has its own repository of files for public download.  This is especially useful as it allows for access and downloads across platforms.  
        2. To access your own files, choose “Upload Files” from the “Start Organizing” menu. You can then access the repositories of group’s you are an organizer in by choosing them from the “Currently Editing” drop down menu in the upper right. Choosing another repository will redirect your browser to the correct URL.
        3. Note: The files system is meant to hold files you would like others to download, such as PDFs or graphics activists can use for themselves and to host files you want to display in your emails or similar uses

 

  • Groups

 

        1. Do NOT add any groups!!!  This is very important.  Failure to follow this rule could result in the voiding of any partnership agreements with Turn PA Blue.

 

  • People
  • Emails

 

        1. AN’s email service can send targeted emails to supporters and track data about these emails (clicks, actions, unsubscribes, etc.).  
          1. Note:  The more information that you have about a supporter (such as full address, including street), the better they can target these emails.
        2. You can send email to :
          1. Your complete address book
          2. activists based on geography — whether they live in one or many states, one or many US counties, one or many legislative districts (congress or state level), one or many countries, whether they live within a certain number of miles of a ZIP/postal code (or ZIP/postal codes, enter multiple separated by commas), or if you’re sending to a group’s list, whether they live within a certain number of miles of events that are part of a specific event campaign.
          3. activists based on action, email history, donation history, and much much more
          4. Use Includes and Excludes rules (ex: If you select New York and Vermont from the State section and an action titled “Petition to Walmart” from the Action list, this email would target all users on your list except those living in New York OR Vermont OR have taken action on “Petition to Walmart.”)
          5. When you’re ready, click “Save and Preview & Send Your Email” to trigger the targeting process to calculate the number of people the email will be sent to, and to move on to the next step.

 

  • Ladders

 

        1. Ladders, as in ladders of engagement, automated series of actions an activist goes through if they meet certain conditions, like opening an email. This is somewhat complicated to setup, but can be useful for engaging supporters.
        2. See this page for more details.

 

  • Reports

 

        1. Similar to a query, but only to see data on an Action or Activist. This cannot be reused to create a new action, such as a email blast.

 

  • Queries

 

        1. Powerful search functions on Activist that you can save and reuse. You can combine different AND and OR logic operators. For example, where the AN targeting interface makes it easy to include activists on your list who live in New York AND have signed a certain petition, targeting activists who live in New York OR signed a certain petition is not easily achieved without queries. I think these can be used to create a new action, such as a email blast.

 

  • Activists

 

        1. A contact, must have a unique email address – it is impossible to add someone without one.

 

  • Uploads

 

        1. Use for uploading CSV (comma separated values in Excel) lists of Activists

 

  • Details
  • Tags

 

        1. They are attached to individual activists. Each activist can have as many Tags as you want. Tags can be added to activists in various ways. Tags are useful for subdividing your group’s list into different categories. Great for categorizing activists according to areas such as an person’s interest.  Be very judicious when creating tags….as they are for long-term ways to categorize supporters which is different from collecting data, in forms for example. In other words, plan out before simply creating them.

 

  • Questions and Custom Fields

 

        1. Questions are pre-built snippets of HTML that you can use on your actions to store data in structured ways in your custom fields. (Questions can also tag activists, see here for more about tags.)
        2. For example, you might collect phone numbers from your activists on all of your action pages. You can make a question that displays a text box with a label that says “Phone Number” and stores entries in the “phone_number” custom field you’re using for this data. Once you create the question you’ll have able to drag it into any action form without having to create it from scratch each time.
        3. Generally, creating a question will create the corresponding custom field if it doesn’t exist already.
        4. Note: Activists may only have one value per custom field on their record. So if they enter data in a question again, it will overwrite any old data in that custom field.

 

  • Custom Targets

 

        1. List of contacts, used for Action Network letter campaigns. Action Network has a set of built in targets you can choose from — members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. Governors, and members of U.S. state legislatures — and you can upload your own custom targets to send messages to them instead. You may add your own.

 

  • Collections

 

        1. Available only to the Regional level – ad-hoc lists of child groups in your network, allowing you to easily select them as a group rather than having to choose them one by one.

 

  • Email Wrappers & Page Wrappers

 

        1. Custom page and email wrappers, so you can fully control the branding on your pages and emails
          1. Every action is expressed as both a page you can link to and as a widget you can embed on any other website, much like you can embed a YouTube video.
          2. See this page for more details

 

  • API & Sync

 

        1. ActBlue – your ActBlue account can sync with your Action Network group
        2. If you use other 3rd party applications for your campaigns, check to see if

 

  • Managing a Group
  • Statistics

 

        1. This tab gives users an overview of various account statistics such as email list size, actions taken by activists, fundraising numbers, etc.

 

  • Actions

 

        1. Lists the specific actions created by users and can quickly show how many activists have taken each action.

 

  • Emails & Reports

 

        1. Lists the emails and reports created by users.  For emails, users can select “Stats” and see how many targets opened the email, actions taken, unsubscribes, etc.

 

  • Syndication

 

        1. Will most likely not use this feature, however, we may use it to push emails to you to use if you choose.

 

  • Discussion

 

        1. It is strongly recommended that users do NOT use this message board.  It will email everyone every time someone posts and is quite annoying.  Possibly use only to push out updates about the event to the attendees.

 

  • Organizers

 

        1. Keep people as ‘Organizers’ unless they are absolutely vetted and trusted.  
        2. When giving someone ‘Administrator’ access, be careful which access that you give.

 

  • Invitations

 

        1. Use this tab to send invitations to potential group organizers and/or administrators.  

 

  • Network

 

        1. Displays the groups in the network that the specific user has access to.

 

  • Settings

 

      1. Several settings and defaults including email replies and donation information.