Action Network for XR
XRUK's mailing system containing separate 'email lists' for Nations & Regions, Local Groups, Campaigns, Volunteers, Talks and Training, all connected in one big 'network'. This book contains guidance for how to become an admin of a list, to send emails, how to sign up potential rebels to your list and more complex tasks too.
- Contact the Action Network Data Team
- Unsubscribe from your XR Email Lists
- Start Here
- Why use Action Network?
- Admin access to your mailing list
- Training Request
- Before Training Starts...
- Adding Subscribers
- How do subscribers join the email list?
- Local Group Sign-ups
- UK List Sign-ups
- Can I move my existing email list to Action Network?
- Writing and Sending Emails on Action Network
- Introduction to writing emails
- Write and send an email
- Targeting an email
- Tips for writing effective content
- Deliverability - making sure your email doesn't look like spam
- Formatting, readability and accessibility
- Optimal layout tips for phones
- Inserting images into your Action Network e-mail
- Automatic welcome email for your group
- Reports and Viewing Activist Data
- Create reports on Action Network
- Monitor your forms or events
- Monitor new subscribers with a weekly report
- Events and Forms
- What are event and forms for?
- Creating a form
- Online events
- In-person events
- Useful fields and questions
- Error Messages and Problems
- Sending to your full list is not best practice
- Email fails domain authentication
- Action Network ID attached
- Photos not loading
- Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp join links
- Proton.me domain
- Not receiving emails from XR?
Contact the Action Network Data Team
Get in touch
Make sure you let us know what local group or email list your query is refering to.
This team sits within the Digital Team and looks after XR's Action Network both in the UK and globally.
Unsubscribe from your XR Email Lists
Requesting changes to your email list subscriptions
Search for the last XRUK email you recieved - use the link at the bottom that says 'View or unsubscribe from your XR email lists'.
This shows you ALL the lists that you are on. Choose which ones to unsubsribe from e.g. you may wish to remain on the XRUK list, but leave a Local Group list because you've moved house.
Updating your personal details
For all updates (except email address itself) go to the 2nd to last link on all XRUK emails 'Update your details (moved house/new phone no?)' Note: this doesn't automatically subscribe to a new Local Group.
Subscribing to a new Local Group list If you want to contact to a new Local Group, use the Local Group Map
Updating your email address
To update your email address, but keep all your current subscriptions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Full data deletion requests
For full removal of your email address and other personal data, from ALL our services (The Hub, Forums, Cloud, Mattermost, Volunteer website, Rebel Toolkit, Rebellion Academy, CRM systems, The Vault and Action Network), contact email@example.com
Overview, training, admin access and contact details
What is Action Network?
It is the tool that XRUK uses for sending emails out to the movement. It is funded centrally and available to all local groups, and organises groups by Region/Nation. People can join either at the 'top' (i.e. at the XRUK level) by signing up on the website - or at the 'bottom' by searching for their Local Group of the LGmap.
How Local Groups fit in to XR's Action Network
You may be familiar with other email lists such at Mailchimp - so to point out the main difference with Action Network (and it may sound obvious!) is that it is a NETWORK! Here is a little smapshot to explain...
For example : if someone joins the Birmingham email list, they automatically get subscribed 'UP' the network (to Midlands and UK lists). The benefit of this is that as more and more Local Groups use Action Network to recruit, then all these new subscribers end up on the XRUK list too - allowing for communication to the whole movement within the UK with a single email.
Also in this example this person will be on the 'Midlands' list which allows regional level organising too.
Campaign and Community Groups
Not shown on the diagram above are groups such as 'Deep Water', 'Digital Rebellion' or 'XR Walkers' - these also have separate emails list that sit just below the UK list and therefore also feed in to the total numbers of subscribers on the UK list. These lists are not utilised as much as they could be, so if you are in a community group and would like support to use your Action Network list, please get in touch.
There is a huge opportunity to grow the UK list
If 200 sub-groups (either Local Groups, Campaigns or Community groups) each recruited 25 new subscribers a month - that would be an additional 5000 people on the UK list per month.
Why use Action Network?
Why would a group choose to use XR's Action Network account, rather than alternatives such as Mailchimp?
It's a network - when signing up for a local group email list, people are also subscribed to their region/nation and to the XRUK email list. They will therefore be informed of campaigns and activities locally, regionally and nationally. More detail of the structure of all the lists here.
This means new Local Group sign ups add to the total on the UK list. This is critical for both mobilisation for big actions (e.g. The Big One), for awareness of ongoing campaigns, for training and also for fundraising.
Security - all admins have their own account, so you don't have to share passwords. If someone leaves the movement, their admin access can be removed without having to change shared passwords.
You can have multiple Admins for your email list.
Support and training is available.
Action Network is GDPR compliant and anyone receiving an email can unsubscribe at any time.
In common with other mailing list systems, the data is stored on servers that we do not control, and that could be accessed by law enforcement authorities. For this reason, you should never store "spicy" information - such as data showing intention to take part in or to organise arrestable actions.
To become an Admin takes a bit of training, which can be a barrier to some Local Groups without someone with the time and skills (or determination!) to learn. But we have a very friendly training team who are happy to teach in 1-1 sessions and go at the pace that suits each individual.
Migrating to Action Network
If you currently use a list of emails in your 'contacts' or another mailing system like Mailchimp and want to migrate to using Action Network, there is support available to do this in a GDPR compliant way.
Admin access to your mailing list
Anyone wanting to be an admin of any Action Network list must adhere to current policies (as maintained, monitored and implemented by the Action Network Data Team):
2 - XR Admins List
You will be automatically subscribed the the 'XR Admins' email list where you will be kept up to date with any important info and updates relevant to your role as admin.
3 - Sign in regularly
You must have signed in and out of your account at least once in the last 12 months to retain your admin permissions. You will be emailed after 11 months inactivity to warn you of this. You will have your admin permissions removed after 12 months inactivity (6 months inactivity for XR UK group admins) and you will be notified by email once this has been done.
4 - What email address to use
The email address that you will use to log in to Action Network must be a personal one (not a generic Local Group email address) and you shouldn't share your password with anyone else. You can have more than one person as Admin on an email list and everyone should have their own individual log in.
Applying to be admin for a Local, Regional/National email list
Admins at these levels (e.g. region, county, town, university) are managed locally, usually by asking your LG coordinator, regional coodinator, or 'Gardener'.
You can be an admin on more than one XR email list. (e.g. 2 different LG lists, or a campaign list)
If you don't know who to ask in your area contact the Action Network Data Team.
How to add another admin to your list
If you are already an admin yourself and want to grant access to someone new, go to this page here for instructions
Applying to be Admin on the XRUK list or XR Global newsletter The Action Network Data Team manages applications from people who need to have admin access to the larger lists the full UK and Global newsletter lists. To request this please contact the Data Team by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Request training for yourself (or a small group) using this form
- A quick overview session (10mins plus questions), suitable for Nation/Region or Local Group meetings to introduce people to Action Network as a essential tool for mobilisation and communication.
- Help with migration of data from your current system to Action Network.
- Focused 1hr basic training for your Local Group.
- Tailored help with any issue: forms, events, reports etc
Before Training Starts...
If you are accessing Action Network for the first time, this document will help you get the most out of the first training session.
If your group is already using Action Network, some of the following may already have been done.
Who are your admins?
Confirm the email address of those people requiring ‘Admin’ access to Action Network. You must use a personal email address and not a shared email account for this.
All admins will need to have signed the XR Volunteer Agreement, with the email addresses they will use as admins.
Contact email for your group
You must also have a group contact email address. Action Network software sends emails, but you still need an official address for people to reply to.
If you have lost access to your group email or would like a new one setting up in the style email@example.com you can find about how to apply for a extinctionrebellion.uk email on this page
Note: please don't set up proton.me addresses (details of why). Protonmail.com addresses are fine.
Your Existing Mailing List
If you have an existing list of emails addresses - then we need to transfer that into Action Network, preferably before training. Let us know if you want to do this and we'll support you through this process.
Have something ready to send
When we meet you online for your training session we will want to take you through the entire process of writing and sending an email to your group. If would be beneficial to have some words already written regarding an upcoming event or action, that you are happy to be sent out during the training.
If you have an event coming up, that's ideal, if not then you could find pictures from previous actions or outline more general future plans.
Your local group welcome message
It is advised to have an email that gets sent automatically when someone new joins your list. We will set up a simple message for you before the training. You will be able to view and edit this during the training.
Is anybody out there?
For geographically based groups, we may be able to identify supporters who have signed up via the XRUK website with a postcode near you, but not yet joined your Local Group.
If you can, prepare a list of the first part of the postcode that provides the catchment for your Local Group (e.g. NG1-NG10). Here are two tools that might help with this task: Doogal postcode finder or this Google maps based tool
You're all set
You should now be ready to book in the training session, which is about an hour and by the end of it you will have created and sent out a mailing to your group.
How do subscribers join the email list?
Pointing people to the UK website extinctionrebellion.uk is the very simplest way to get someone on to Action Network. The 'Join Us' form is near the top.
This Local Group Map is a list of all known XR groups in the UK. Most have Action Network email lists. When you click on the map pin and then click 'JOIN GROUP' you will be taken to a form allowing you to be subscribed to that particular Local Group. (If they don't have a list, then the subscription defaults to the Nation/Region list).
Local Groups can now have a dedicated shortlink in the style of joinxr.uk/localgroupname - see the Local Group Sign ups page for more information.
All subscriptions cascade 'up' the geographical list structure i.e. if you sign up to Birmingham, you will also be signed up to the Midlands and UK lists.
Request updates to the Local Group map by clicking the Add or Update button on the bottom left of the map
Local Group Sign-ups
Action Network is the software system used for the XR UK’s email list. As the name suggests it really is a ‘network’. If you use Action Network and sign someone up to your Local Group, they will automatically be signed up to regional and UK lists. This means Local Groups can have a huge impact on the total numbers on the UK email list. The more Local Groups that use Action Network, the stronger XR becomes as a whole.
For Outreach Volunteers
There should be a tailored link for every local group in the style joinxr.uk/xxxxx
e.g. joinxr.uk/cardiff, joinxr.uk/edinburgh
If it's working it will lead you to a pale blue form.
If your link isn't set up yet get in touch
Remember your short link wherever you are
Anyone can enter this shortlink in to their browser on a phone, tablet or computer to find the sign up form for you group.
Paper Sign-Ups and QR Codes
In this folder - you can find GDPR compliant paper sign up forms and QR codes that point to your local group. Also templates for printing simple posters.
For Local Group Organisers
This map shows all the known Local Groups within XR UK. Most of these have an Action Network email list (although not all groups are using their list!). You can update this map if you have any info to add or change by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need help accessing or using your own Local Group email list, and you have a rebel willing to take on that role you can request an Action Network training session.
You may already have an email list that isn’t on Action Network, but using the XR UK network is really important for mass mobilisation, so get in touch!
Bonus opportunity: XR UK mailing list currently with 180,000+ people signed up, some of these people have given us their postcodes, but haven’t found their way to a local group yet! By requesting training on Action Network, you can also request a search of postcodes in your area to find these ‘floating rebels’.
UK List Sign-ups
For big rebellions (e.g. in London) there are many opportunities for outreach and the usual ask is for people to join the UK email list.
Flyers are available to order that point to XRUK website.
Also you can find GDPR compliant paper forms and a poster to put on the back of clipboards that points to the UK website in this folder.
At big events/actions clipboards will be delivered to Outreach hubs and collected at the end of the day so that the data can be entered. It is very important to write the information VERY neatly and clearly as someone else will have to read your handwriting. This is preferable to the public writing their own information as names/emails are very likely to be written in haste and therefore illegible.
Can I move my existing email list to Action Network?
Your Existing Mailing List
If you have been using mailing list management software, like MailChimp or have a list of addresses stored on Gmail, you won't want to lose contact with those people.
The only email addresses that we'll be able to move across immediately to Action Network are people who have also signed up to the XRUK list. Contact the Action Network Data Team so we can transfer this data in a GDPR compliant way.
Once this first step is done, the easiest way to continue this process is to send out an email to everyone who wasn't transferred to encourage them to join the AN list e.g.
We are moving to a new email system and will no longer be sending out news and announcements from this system/address. To opt into this new mailing system just visit http://joinxr.uk/your_LGname_here* and enter your details.
*If this hasn't been set up for your group yet, read more about this tailored short link.
Writing and Sending Emails on Action Network
Technical, style, content and accessibility advice. Plus automatic welcome emails.
Introduction to writing emails
Start here for a quick overview
If you don't have access to your email list yet click here
This chapter contains guidance on technical aspects of sending emails, advice on content, style, common errors and positive adjustments you can make to increase accessibility of what you send.
There are two ways to create an email on Action Network 'Drag and Drop' or 'Visual/HTML'.
The Action Network training team support the use of 'Drag and Drop' for various reasons, but mostly because it provides layout control and features such as buttons, without you needing any html skills. The training that you can request is based on this method.
You can set your default email writing method to drag and drop style by following the instructions below.
- Click on your profile icon in the top right
- Edit your profile
Write and send an email
Start a new email
Go to the right hand side menu and pick 'Email'
1: Skip to step 2 if you've already changed your default settings
2: You should see the default XR template layout here (2022 Simple Email Layout) - if not contact the Action Network Team.
3: Complete the following...
Subject - a simple 5ish word title which makes the subject of the email clear and appealing,
From - your group name e.g. XR Sheffield
Reply To - your public contact email for people to reply and ask questions.
3b. Also you should complete the Preview text with some extra words of encouragement. This can be about 10 words long and it will show up on some people's phones before they open the email. So think of it as some extra bit of information to tempt them in to opening it.
4: Then write your email. The safest way is to type straight in to here. If you copy and paste from a Word or Google doc, the formatting can also copy over which creates problems. Either copy from a plain text editor or paste without formatting. Help on how to do this
5: Adding extra content boxes. The most common things to add would be the items circled in the following image. You drag them over to your email layout and use them as you wish.
6: You may now want to add a photograph or graphic either at the top or within your email - details of how to add images here. This also contains very important guidance on accesibility and resizing of images.
Target and Send your email
Before sending the email out to your list, you can send yourself a test email. It is always good to proofread your email on a phone as well as on a computer to see what it looks like.
When you are happy with your email - click 'SAVE AND TARGET YOUR EMAIL'
You can now see the targeting page. You can just skip this and click SAVE, PREVIEW and SEND.
A warning appears advising you NOT to send to your whole list. With a small list (under 5000) it's probably still ok to send to all, but if you want to know more about targeting there is information about the warning message here
The next page shows a preview of your email. Scroll down to the bottom and you will see Action Network calculating how many 'activists' to send to.
When it's finished you'll see how many activists you are about to send the email to. You can now either schedule (you have to minus 5hrs, due to this being set up for EST time zone e.g. if you want to send at 9am, then schedule for 4am EST) or if you want to send immediately, use the red button.
Targeting an email
There is a new warning message on Action Network (as of 2024) that looks like this:
With smaller lists (less than 5000 subscribers) it's probably still ok to send to everyone on your list - just tick the box and proceed. But if you are getting low open rates (less than 40%) for any sized list, then perhaps read on for advice....
How to target the more active subscribers on your list
To do this in a quick and simple way you can target using this option:
This will then only send an email to someone who has newly subscribed, opened, clicked or taken and 'action' (that means filling in a form or event) in the last year.
The will probably reduce the number of people you email to about 70-80% of your full list. If you do this regularly, it is supposed to help make sure emails go to inboxes and not spam. Your list looks more 'engaged' when a higher percentage of people open the emails. An email coming from an engaged and active list is more likely to end up in somones inbox than in spam.
It would then be good practice to email EVERYONE a couple of times a year, to try to 'wake up' those inactive people.
There are many other options in targeting emails, and you'll see the ? sign next to each item to explain what it is. There are too many options to explain here, so if you need help - contact the Action Network Data Team
Tips for writing effective content
How to improve open rates and increase involvement from people subscribed to your list.
Write engaging subject lines to catch people's attention. This could be by that implying someone's participation is valuable and needed; pitching your event as new and exciting; or tailoring an email to be as local as it can be. e.g.
- Help make our January action a success
- Join us for a meal next Wednesday
- New Heading for Extinction talk - book now
- XR Nottingham on the local news
This is added in the header of your email and is shown to some of your readers. It provides space for about 10-15 more words that could help tempt someone to open the email. e.g.
- Join us next Tuesday for free cake and conversation in the Cafe on the Green
- Hear all the latest science in this engaging new talk
Sometimes you want to cover a lot of information in an email because there is a lot happening and giving choice to your readers will help them find the thing that interests them.
BUT... if you have something important that you really want as many people as possible to do, whether this is signing up to a zoom, or attending a meeting or action, then a single focused email is far more effective. These are suggestions to help create a focused email:
- Using 150-200 words max
- Only have one link in your email - if you have more, make sure the most important one is first and preferably comes early enough in your email that the person can see it on their phone before scrolling.
Deliverability - making sure your email doesn't look like spam
Reading and acting on the advice below will reduce the number of emails getting caught by spam filters and will more email anre actually delivered to your subscribers inboxes.
Alt tags on Images
Don't use images over 600px wide. You can change the size after you've added it to the email. Guidance on adding images is here.
Private data embeded in links
VERY IMPORTANT - don't use links that you've copied out of other emails. Links from Action Network emails contain tracking links and people's personal Action Network ID's etc. You will get an error message if you do this of "You appear to have a link with an Action Network ID attached" - read details of this error message.
Reply-to email address
Instead of using e.g gmail or protonmail as your Local Group's contact email - you will get more emails delivered to your subscribers inboxes if you use LocalGroupName@extinctionrebellion.uk - guidance on how to request one of these email address is here. This is now essential for groups with list sizes over 5000. The techy details of why this works is part of the trainings listed below.
Warning message when targeting emails
This warning is documented on the Targeting and email page.
Extra guidance can be read in the AN Deliverability Checklist and the full Deliverability Training (15min) video. If you watch these and feel out of your depth, then reach out to the Action Network Data Team for support.
Formatting, readability and accessibility
Writing clear, readable emails for everyone and with focus on readers with visual impairments, dyslexia etc.
Text and Style guide
Use sans serif fonts (such as Arial and Calibri). Once you have chosen a font it's best to stick to it; don't mix fonts in an e-mail.
Avoid using italics, capitals, underlines, or colour for emphasis. Instead, use bold text for emphasis.
Font size should be at least 14 point or equivalent.
Use simple language that is clear and easy to understand. Use shorter sentences and avoid using abbreviations and jargon.
Some more general guidance on text, style, colour and layout.
Include alternative (alt) text to describe images, tables, and graphics for people using screen readers. Just click the image after you've imported it into an email and write a description for the 'alt/title' e.g. Rebel holding pink banner reading Act Now.
Paste without formatting!
Particularly when using the drag and drop email editor, there can be significant problems copying text from a program such as Word or Google Docs into Action Network. Luckily, there is an easy fix!
When pasting, use the shorcut Ctrl+Shift+V instead of Ctrl+V. This pastes just the simple text, rather than the text plus formatting. You can also see this option on the context menu you get when right-clicking.
Optimal layout tips for phones
Sending test emails to yourself and reading them on your phone, is the best way to experience how a large proportion of your readership will be viewing your email.
Things to consider
- Emails look WAY longer on a phone, especially if people have smaller phone screens, or the font sizes set to larger sizes.
- Make your main CTA (your call to action) high up in your email, ideally the first link in your email - so people aren't scrolling to get to the button or main link you want them to click on.
Here is an example of what an email looked like when viewing on a phone - all the information is visible as soon as you open the email. This is done by keeping the word count low and the top image height small.
Inserting images into your Action Network e-mail
Including images can really help with reader engagement, but there are couple of things to keep in mind. First is that images need to be relevant and mean something, and secondly they must resized to suit emails.
If you are someone that uses photo/graphics software, just make sure your exported .png or .jpg is 600px wide. But don't worry if this isn't your thing - you can change the size after you've added the image.
- Add a image content block to your email.
- Add alt text - something descriptive like 'rebel holding banner reading climate emergency' in the alt text - this is for accessibility reasons and also reduces the chance of your email being caught in spam filters.
- Click Upload Image or just drag an image across from your desktop.
- To help reduce the overall size of your email you can now reduce the image size.
The file size of this image is 2164 kb which is unnecessarily big.
By resizing to 600 pixels wide, the image will be much smaller but still be large enough for your email.
Use the Apply Effects button.
- Click on the resize button and set the width to 600