Action Network for XR
Email lists (via Action Network software) for local, regional, national groups and also for campaign groups. All lists form part of the network of email lists which means that new sign-ups anywhere on the system also join the UK list. This book contains documentation for how to use the Action Network system to become an admin of a list, to email and how to sign up potential rebels to your list.
- Contact the Action Network Data Team
- Start Here
- Why use Action Network?
- Training Request
- Admin access to your mailing list
- Before Training Starts...
- Adding subscribers
- Writing and sending emails
- Introduction to writing emails
- Automatic Welcome Email for your group
- Deliverability - making sure your email doesn't look like spam
- General Readability and Accessibility
- Avoiding formatting issues when copy and pasting content
- Optimal layout tips for phones
- Inserting images into your Action Network e-mail
- Getting the best out of links
- Reports and viewing activist data
- Create reports on Action Network
- Monitor use of your (sign up) forms
- Monitor ALL new subscribers
- 100days Ticker sign ups
- See who isn't signed up to The Big One yet!
- Error Messages and Problems
- Creating, merging, rebooting a group
- How to start using Action Network as your mailing tool
- Can I migrate my email list to Action Network?
- Merging or deleting a group
- Rebooting a Local Group
- Creating Action Network Forms
- Giving someone admin access
- Uploading data by .csv file
- Using and Exporting Data
- Installing DKIM and SPF records
- Postcode searches
- Requesting question creation permission
- Email Campaigns
- old page - Getting started
- Where next...
Contact the Action Network Data Team
This team sits within the 'Digital Circle' in the UK, but looks after XR's Action Network globally.
Get in touch
Let us know what local group or what email list your query is refering to:
Action Network Admins ask for support here
Action Network Data Team Reception channel on Mattermost
or email email@example.com
Once you are an admin, then you can also use these places to discuss issues and ask questions...
- Action Network Admins channel: when you have general questions about how to do something on Action Network
- Also Action Network Admins Reception Forum: for notices and longer discussions/conversations
Overview, training, admin access and contact details
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 regions/nation and to the UK 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 local group sign ups add to the total on the UK list which is critical for both mobilisation for big actions (e.g. The Big One) and also for fundraising.
Secure - 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'll never lose access to your mailing list e.g. if the person who set it up leaves XR.
Support and training is available from the Action Network Data Team and in the Action Network Admins Mattermost channel
GDPR compliant - if someone wants to unsubscribe or have their data deleted, we can do that in one place, rather than across multiple systems.
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 sign-ups to arrestable actions - on Action Network.
To get access to this list and use it 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 session and go at the pace that suits each individual.
What is Action Network?
It is the tool that XR UK uses for sending emails out to the movement. It is funded centrally and available to all local groups. It is structured by region/nation. People can join either at the 'top' (see image below) by signing up on the website - or by searching for their local group of the LGmap.
How Local Groups fit in to the XR 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, then automatically get subscribed 'UP' the network (to region and UK lists). The benefit of this is that if we enable more and more local groups to use Action Network to recruit, then all these new subscribers end up on the UK list too - allowing for big announcements of trainings, actions and Rebellions.
Also in this example this person will be on the 'Midlands' list which allows regional level organising and advertising of events, trainings, actions etc.
Campaign and Community Groups
Not shown on the diagram above of groups such at '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 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 on the UK list per month.
Why use Action Network?
Go to this page to read about reasons to use Action Network
For information on how to use Action Network for your local, community or campaign group - start here
If you would like to request training for yourself (or a small group of you) for anything at all relating to your local group mailing list, then ...
Use this form to submit a training request.
Also feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions.
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 implimented by the Action Network Data Team)
Sign the VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT - it doesn't matter if you don't remember if you've done this and sign it twice. More information on the volunteer agreement is HERE
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 for your role as admin.
You must have logged in to your account at least once in the last 12 months to retain your admin permissions. After that time you will be contacted and your permissions removed unless you contact the AN Data Team.
The email address that you will use to log in to Action Network must be a personal one (not a generical LG 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'. *
If you don't know who to ask 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 to learn more.
Applying for UK or Global newsletter email list access
The Action Network Data Team manages applications from Action Network users who need to have admin access to Action Network for the larger lists the UK and Global newsletter lists.
In order to ensure that access to Action Network data and functionality is available only to activists who need it in order to fulfill their role in the organisation, the activist must Apply to be a UK or Global newsletter admin here.
Your application will be reviewed by the Action Network Guardian in the Data Team, who will then refer it back for further information or apply the appropriate permissions for that user.
Please clarify what your role is and what activity that you are responsible for.
Permissions in Detail
The following chart explains what each permission enables you to do. It's the official Action Network description, and it may not tell you everything, so please ask a member of the Data Team if you’re not sure. If in doubt, leave it until you know that you need it.
|Settings||Administrator can edit group settings, invite and approve administrators, set up fundraising and ticketed event pages that don't require donor email addresses, set administrator permissions, and set the parent of this group in the network.|
|Launch Email||Administrator can launch and send emails targeted to the group's list.|
|Reports||Administrator can download report data and mass add or remove tags and subscriptions.|
|Activists||Administrator can access search and add activists and edit individual records, as well as receive pending merge notifications.|
|Contributions||Administrator can issue refunds, edit or cancel recurring contributions, convert one-time contributions to recurring when viewing activist records, and upload or manually add or edit transactions, as well as receive contribution failure notifications.|
|Advanced Uploads||Administrator can use advanced upload features, such as overwriting custom field data or unsubscribing activists in an upload.|
|Overwrite Network Custom Field Data||Administrator can choose to overwrite parent group custom field data when editing activists. (Without this permission, editing an activist will not overwrite custom field data on parent groups.)|
|Syndication||Administrator can create syndication packages to be shared with other groups.|
|SQL Mirror reporting||(Not an Action Network admin permission as such). Allows reporting access from the background data using SQL Mirror. This is highly restricted and additional checking will be required.|
Quesitons: contact the Action Network Data Team
Document details Author: @VecchioJohn Updated: 25 April, 2021 by @collininseattle Updated : 7 July, 2021 by @kay-xrnottm Updated : 26 Oct, 2021 by @kay-xrnottm Updated : 23 Feb, 2022 by @kay-xrnottm Updated : 12 Jun, 2022 by @kay-xrnottm Updated : 23 Jan, 2023 by @kay-xrnottm (new UK/Global access form)
Before Training Starts...
Welcome to the Action Network training for Local Groups. This training is to show you the basics of how Action Network works and will help you through the process of sending an e-mail to your group e-mail list.
If your group is registering on Action Network for the first time, this document will help you go through the setting up process so that you can get the most out of the first training session.
If your group is already using Action Network, some of this will already have been done.
Who are your admins?
Once you’ve applied for training you need to confirm the email address you wish to use for your ‘admin’ access to Action Network and give us any other trusted rebel’s email addresses who also want to help administer your Local Group email list.
You must use a personal email address and not a shared email account.
Administrators will be able to send e-mails and view details of the subscribers to your Local Group mailing list. All admins will need to have signed the XR Volunteer Agreement, with the email addresses they will use as admins.
Contact email for your Local Group
You must also have a Local Group contact email address. Action Network is mostly about sending mail so you will still need an official address for people to reply to which should be listed on the Local Group Map, zoom in to where your pin is on the map and check that the information on there is correct. If the information isn't correct or your group isn't listed then email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have lost access to your Local 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: There is currently a problem with using 'proton.me' email addresses with Action Network. It has been seen that if you use it for your 'reply-to' address you get a very bad delivery rate on the emails you send, so they are best avoided.
Your Existing Mailing List
If you have an existing mailing list outside of Action Network - then we need to transfer that into Action Network, preferably before training. If you have been using mailing list management software, like MailChimp or have a list of addresses stored on gmail - we can help you to migrate this in a GDPR compliant way, just let us know as early as possible that that's what you need. The easiest way to begin this process is to send out an e-mail to everyone on your existing list along the lines of:
We are moving to a new e-mail system which will help us communicate with supporters and activists in [local-group-name] 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-group-area]* and enter your e-mail address (plus name / phone number / postcode if you wish). You will be able to opt out of this system at any time.
But probably make it friendlier.
*You need to make sure you have this shortlink set up and the URL correct. To test it type joinxr.uk/[local-group-name]. If it goes to a pale blue form with your group name then it is working. If it goes to a green box on the front page of the UK website, then it either hasn't been set up yet or you have the URL wrong and you should contact us.
For more detailed information on email list migration see here.
We need something 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 e-mail to your group. You will need to write your first email in advance on a word processor of some sort so that, during the the training, you can copy/paste it over to the Action Network e-mail editor.
You might want to check out this short page first: Avoiding formatting issues when copy and pasting content
Your e-mail should probably start with a paragraph like this:
This is a message to let you know that we have recently up-dated our mailing system. This will help us better keep in touch with you and let you know what's going on locally. It also means that, if you don't already, you will get occasional e-mails from our [whatever] region and from the Extinction Rebellion UK At the end of this e-mail you'll find links that let you opt out any of these lists
When you design your page, keep formatting simple. The email editor is capable of quite sophisticated layouts, but that's something you'll want to explore later if the need arises.
You can use text with the usual formatting options of bold and font size. You can also add images and they can really liven up an e-mail but you need to keep them to a maximum width of 700 pixels. Action Network includes a simple resizing tool for this which we can show you. Make sure that any images you want to use are easily available on your computer when we come to the training.
After that it's really up to you. Try and find a reason for the mail in addition to telling supporters about the new mailing system. 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. If part of your group attended national or regional actions you'll probably find pictures of that on line to add.
You might also read the following short pages to help you.
Your local group welcome message
When someone joins your group via the map or the joinxr links, you should set up an automatic e-mail in response to new joiners. This can be pretty much anything you like and could be taylored to your particular region, interest group, whatever. You can set this up yourself by following these instuctions OR we can do this for you if you provide some text.
Is anybody out there?
Depending on your geographical situation, we may be able to identify supporters who have signed up to XR via the national page but not joined your local group; this depends on them having included a postcode. If you can give us the post code sectors (the 2/3 letters/numbers before the space in a postcode) we can seach on those for supporters who are not members of your list and add them to it. This is a useful map for identifying sectors.
You're all set
Once we have all the bits and pieces above done, and a few extra that we need to do along the way, we're ready to book a training session. The session is about an hour and by the end or it you will have created and sent out a mailing to your local 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.
This Local Group Map is a list of all known XR groups in the UK. Some have Action Network email lists. When you click on the map pin and then click 'sign up for news' you will be subscribed to that local group. (If they don't have a list, then the subscription defaults to the nation/region.)
Local Groups can now have a dedicated shortlink in the style of joinxr.uk/localgroupname - see Local Group Sign ups page for more info
All subscriptions cascade 'up' the geographical list structure i.e. if you sign up to Birmingham, you will also be signed up to Midlands and UK lists. Plus there is a 'ladder' (which is a bit of code), in operation that then picks up this new subscriber and adds them to the monthly Global Newsletter list.
The map which is embeded on this page of the Uk website and also can be accessed HERE
Note : not all groups with a pin on this map have an Action Network email list (update Nov 2022 - there is a project running to make sure if a group has a pin they also have their own list). If they don't the sign up form defaults to signing a new rebel up to the regional list.
Find out if your group has a list already by contacting the Action Network Data Team
Requests for updates to this map by clicking the add/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 is a tailored link for every local group in the style joinxr.uk/xxxxx
If it's working it will lead you to a pale blue form - get in touch if your link isn't set up yet.
- e.g. joinxr.uk/lambeth or joinxr.uk/cardiff which adds people directly to your email list. They can sign up themselves (you can use this link on posters/banners/flyers etc) - or you can use this form to enter data after getting sign ups on paper.
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 email list (although not all groups are using their list!). You can update this map if you have any info to correct 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 170,000+ 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’.
Feel free to contact your 3.5 LG Supporter, your regional or national Gardener or the Action Network Data Team for more support.
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.
The best link to use at the moment (end 2022- Spring 2023) is the UK website itself as it has two options for sign ups.
To 'commit to the Spring 2023 action date'or to 'sign up for news'
Both these routes end in a UK list sign up, but with their choice of entry and commitment noted.
In this folder - you can find
- GDPR compliant paper sign up forms
- a poster to put on the back of clipboards that points to the UK website.
Usually at a London rebellion the 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 perferable to the public writing their own information as names/emails are very likely to be written in haste and therefore illegible.
Info for Outreach Teams for big events with 100s of sign ups
If you are part of a big event/rebellion then there is a pop-up working data entry group available to help, with a GDPR safe system in place to process all these paper form. Please contact the Action Network Data Team if you require this 'service' ! Any big event should have an Outreach team attached, so they can also provide a link to this system.
Writing and sending emails
This section describes how to write an email, insert dynamic text, and create welcome ladders.
Introduction to writing emails
If you don't have access to your email list yet click here
There are two ways to create an email on Action Network 'drag and drop' or 'Visual/HTML'.
The AN 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.
So the first thing to set up is to...
Change your default email sending style to drag and drop
- Click on your profile icon in the top right
- Edit your profile
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and switch the toggle to 'drag and drop' and then 'save changes'
Writing your email
Go to the right hand side menu and pick 'Email'
See image below for the next steps...
1: Skip this if you've changed your default settings as instructions above.
2: You should see the default template layout here - if not contact the Action Network Team.
3: Complete the following... Subject - a simple 5ish word title, From - your group name e.g. XR Sheffield and Reply To - your public 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
Send and Target your email
First you can send yourself a test email. It is always good to check your email on a phone as well as on a computer to see what it looks like. Or test to different emails as the layout can vary. Or you could also send to a friend to proof read.
When you are happy with your email - click 'SAVE AND TARGET YOUR EMAIL'
You can now see the targetting page. You can just skip this and click SAVE, PREVIEW and SEND. If you want to know more about targetting - it's the same as when doing Reports
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 (note minus 5hrs due to this being EST) or just send immediately.
Automatic Welcome Email for your group
So, you’ve got your group up and running and people are signing up via the LGmap or the UK website page or your shortlink (joinxr.uk/localgroupname) or via your own tailor made sign up forms. Nice!
But how will they know when your meetings are and get introduced to your group? A welcome email when they have joined the group is a great way of making first contact, particularly for people who found out about your group through the website.
Below are two steps for setting up your auto-email and a third to explain how to view and edit it.
Step 1 - Set up a ladder
A ladder in Action Network allows you to set things in motion when something happens. For example, if someone joins a group, send them an email.You can create a ladder from the homepage of your group. Click on the ladder button.
Then start a new ladder...
Check that the current group (top right) is correct and enter a title and description. Now click the “ADD NEW RUNG” button. This brings up a new screen to Add a Rung & Trigger. The trigger is what sets the ladder in motion. For a welcome email, it is when an activist first subscribes to your group. Click the dropdown and choose "Subscribed To Email List".
Once you have that option selected, click "Save Rung & Trigger". This takes you back to the Ladder. You now want to add an action. Hover over the red plus and pick Action.
Then choose Send An Email.
Step 2 - Create your welcome email
Use the built in email wrapper or one that you have made (info on email wrappers coming soon), the subject could be “Welcome to XR Derby”, your name(s), the email they should reply to. Don’t worry about the preview text. In the email body you can give information about your local group, when and where you meet and how to get involved, links to a welcome Whatsapp chat etc.
Then make sure you save the email you've created AND then save the Ladder itself
If can be left in draft or published immediately.
Remember that once you have set this ladder in motion it will keep running until you stop it.Therefore, if any changes get made to your meeting time or any of the other details provided in your welcome email, you must change it there as well or new rebels will have the wrong info!
Step 3 - View and/or edit your auto-email
To find your welcome edit, you need to view the ladder. Click on 'people' in the top menu row.
Then click on the icon next to the work 'Ladders'
Then (if you are an admin of more than one list) double check you are looking at the right email list (this should be e.g. the name of your local group) and then click manage.