Action Network tips and tricks

Some Action Network initiatives

Just wanted to pass on a few initiatives we’ve taken with Action Network in Victoria:

  1. Sign-up forms for each local group. Embedded in each local group’s Action Network page is a sign-up form which rebels can use to subscribe to that group. This is useful in cases like when a rebel moves house and wants to connect with their new local group, or just wants to subscribe to newsletters etc from another nearby local group. We list the sign-up form URLs in a public list of all local groups. This lets rebels control their local group subscriptions themselves.
    Example of a sign-up form:
    And the Vic public list of local groups:
    Thanks @viola for help with these.
    The process for creating these forms is documented here.

  2. "Local Group" custom field. When a rebel is added to a local group by the postcodes ladder, the ladder also saves the name of the local group in a “Local Group” custom field. I also loaded up the local group for existing rebels. So we now have an easy and fairly reliable way of identifying a rebel’s local group (based on postcode) in reports or email targeting. It’s not 100% reliable - for instance, it won’t be updated if a rebel unsubscribes or moves - but should be 99%+ and good enough to be useful in most cases.

  3. Sequence of automated welcoming emails. We made a ladder to send a sequence of automatic emails when a new rebel joins. The first immediately after they join, the next 5 days later, the third after another 5 days. Here is the text of our emails:

Don’t use a address as the reply-to address

It’s fine to use a address as the Reply-to address in an Action Network email, but don’t use a address. Action Network doesn’t handle addresses properly and your email will likely be sent to spam.

Technical details: Normally when you use a free webmail address (eg protonmail, gmail, etc) as the reply-to address, Action Network uses as the ‘From’ address and your webmail address as the ‘Reply-to’ address. If you use any other email address then Action Network sets your email address as the ‘From’ address. Action Network doesn’t recognise as a free webmail provider so tries to set as the From address rather than the Reply-to address. This fails Protonmail’s email security validation so the email gets sent to spam.

Using a Protonmail address vs an address

Action Network recommends using an email address from your own domain rather than a free webmail address (eg protonmail, gmail etc) as the reply-to address in an Action Network email. We did an experiment with an XR Vic newsletter to test whether it makes any difference using an address or an address as the reply-to address in an Action Network email. Long story short: it doesn’t. The open rate and click rate was basically the same in both cases. So it’s fine to use a address as your reply-to address.

Subscribing rebels to XR Youth via an upload

If an upload is tagged with the tag XR Youth, all people in that upload will automatically be added to the XR Youth Action Network group. The upload can be done in any Action Network group in the XR Aus network.

To subscribe people to XR Youth, list their email addresses in a csv file, upload the csv file into any Action Network group in the XR Aus network (ie, People menu -> Uploads), and tag the upload with the XR Youth tag.

This was set up to enable outreach people to subscribe new rebels that they met at street stalls to the XR Youth Action Network group, without requiring them to be administrators of the XR Youth Action Network group. It is implemented by a ladder in the XR Australia group. Note, the tagging must be done via an upload; manually tagging a person by editing their profile won’t work.

Asking people to enter their phone number

It’s helpful to remind people to enter their phone numbers, but we don’t want to bug people who’ve already given us their phone number. The following snippet will remind only people who haven’t yet given us their phone number, about entering their phone number. Copy and paste the block below into an Action Network email, and the ‘Stay in contact’ paragraph will only be included in the email to people who haven’t already entered their phone number in Action Network. You could include this in a regular newsletter or automatic welcoming email. You can edit the paragraph text but don’t edit anything in the {…} sections.

Here is the block to copy and paste:

{% capture var_mobile %}{{ Phone | default: “NONE” }}{% endcapture %}{% comment %} the following paragraph is only shown if the rebel has not already entered their mobile number.{% endcomment %}{% if var_mobile == “NONE” %}

Stay in contact

We don’t have your phone number. We find that a phone chat is the best way to connect with people. Let us know your phone number, and sooner or later you’ll get a call from someone in our growing community. Add your phone number here.

{% endif %}

It’s a good idea to test it before sending out your email. To test, make sure you have a phone number recorded in Action Network - fill in this form if in doubt. Then send a test of the email to your email address using Action Network’s Send a test email button. If the email you receive does not include the Stay in contact paragraph, then it is working.


public list of local groups
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