Workflows and automations
From Workflows, you can create and run automations that help streamline your team's digital engagement with supporters
Sally Chou avatar
Written by Sally Chou
Updated over a week ago

πŸ“Œ Note: Additional automations can be purchased as add-ons. For more information on adding new features please see the add-ons page in your nation.

Table of Contents

Understanding workflows

Within the Workflows section of your control panel, you'll find a section called Automations. An automation is a multi-step email series where you can configure delays between each message and convert your recipients out of each series based on the actions they take with your organization. An automation can be set up to run continuously as new supporters join your organization through your website, or to send to a specific group of recipients you've defined in a filter.

Create a new automation

  1. Start by navigating to the Workflows section in the navigation's sidebar.

  2. Then, you can select "New automation".

  3. A pop-up will display where you can give your automation a name and description.

Choose the source of an automation

You can currently create 3 different types of automation: page-based, list-based, or multiple source. Multiple source automations are the newest format and more flexible than either page- or list-based types.

List-based automations

When you choose a list of people as the source, the emails in the automation will be sent to them. People added to this list after the automation has been run will not be added to the automation.

Page-based automations

When you choose a page as the source of an automation, people who take action on that page will be added to the automation. If your page is configured to send an autoresponse, the autoresponse will be displayed in the automation timeline. You can set a Signup, Petition, Event, or Donation (V2) page as the source for a page-based automation (multiple source automations support additional page types).

After creating your automation, you can limit who will be sent the emails in your automation based on the tags on their profiles. Select "Limit enrollment" from the dropdown menu of the page-source bar at the top of the page.

Start typing into the field to view and select tags. People who have any of the selected tags on their profile when they are added to the automation will not be sent emails from this automation. These exclusions will only apply to emails within the automation, not to autoresponses sent by the page.

Multiple source automations

When you create a multiple source automation, you will not start by selecting a source. Instead, you will set up your automation first, run your automation, then select which people you want to enroll from other areas of the control panel once your automation is running.

Set up an email within an automation

Once you've created your automation, you'll be prompted to set up the first automated email. Select your Broadcaster, enter the Email name, click Save and Continue and you will be taken to the email editor. (You can start from scratch or you can clone an existing mailing to use as a starting point).

πŸ“ŒNote: All you need to enter is the Email Name. (The slug will be generated for you in the background, and you'll be able to change it later if you need to).

When you click the "Save and continue" button at the bottom of the form, you will be automatically redirected to the email editor. This process will be just like setting up an email blast. However, the banner at the top lets you know that you're configuring this email as part of an automation.


To set up your email in your automation:

πŸ“Œ The email will not be sent until you actually run the automation and you've finished adding steps to the workflow. There is no "Add Recipients" section (unlike a standard email blast), since you define your audience in the automation settings.

Congratulations! You've set up the first email in your automated series. If you need to edit the email, hover over the "Send an email" section and click "Edit".

Once you've added at least one email to the workflow, you can start the automation by clicking the Run button in the top right. If only have one email in your automation the following message will appear:

πŸ“Œ Note: An automation must contain at least 1 email to be run. There are 3, 5, or 10 allowed emails per automation for Starter, Pro, and Enterprise plans, respectively.

Adding more steps to an automation

To add more steps to your automation:

  1. Click +Add below your first email step.


2. You'll be asked to add either a time delay or an action. The time delay represents the number of days (or weeks) you want NationBuilder to wait before sending the next email in the series.Β 

πŸ“Œ Note: It will be relative to when the previous action in your automation was completed (e.g. when it sent the first email).


3. After defining the desired a time delay, you'll be able to select an action to set up the next email in the series:

Run your automation

Once you're ready to set your automation live β€” i.e., send the first email and schedule the remaining emails β€” click the Run button in the top right. You'll be prompted to confirm before the first email is sent.

List-based: If you're using a list as the source of an automation, your prompt will look like this:

Once you confirm, the first email will go out, with the others will be sent out according to the time delay you defined.

Page-based: If you've selected a page as the source of your automation, the prompt will look like this:

Once you confirm, anyone who signs up on the page will be added to the automation.

Multiple source: If you've created a multiple source automation, the prompt will look like this:

For a multiple source automation, you will need to enroll people in your automation after you have run it.

Enroll recipients in a multiple source automation

Once your multiple source automation is running, you can enroll people in your automation from multiple places:

Enroll from a filter result

  1. To enroll a specific group of people into your automation, navigate first to the People section. From there, run a filter to identify the appropriate audience, and click the "Actions" menu in the upper rightmost corner.

  2. Select Enroll in automation. This will enable you to enroll these signups into any running multiple source automation.

  3. Click Enroll in automation to immediately enroll these people in your automation. They will receive the first email in your series shortly following enrollment.

Enroll from a page

  1. To enroll people who take action on a specific page into your automation, navigate to the relevant page in your control panel.

  2. From within the page settings section, (eg. Petition settings, Donation settings, etc.), you'll find a dropdown menu to enroll people who take action on that page into a running multiple source automation.

  3. Once you save the page settings, anyone who takes action on that page going forward will be automatically enrolled into your automation.

    πŸ“Œ Note: This feature is only available on page types that people can natively submit (versus Basic pages or pages with iframed external forms) and is not available on the Moneybomb page type.

Once your automation is live

After you click Run on your automation, you'll notice that there is now an indicator that the automation is running, and the Run button has changed to Pause:

Once emails have been sent as part of the automation, you can navigate to the Email results tab to see engagement metrics for your emails as that data comes in:

On the Workflows dashboard, you'll see your running automation listed:

πŸ“Œ Note: Once your automation is live, you will only be able to delete emails in the series that have not yet been sent to anyone, and are not currently scheduled to send to anyone. If someone has received an email in the series directly prior to the one you're looking to delete, you will not have the option to delete it.


See who's in the automation

Click the number next to the Source or a wait in an automation to view people who have been enrolled in the automation.

From here, you can see Everyone in the automation, those who are Emailable, and those who have been Removed.

To remove a person from an automation, click the down arrow, then click Remove from automation. Once removed, that person will no longer receive emails from the automation.

To see the current automation enrollments and history of a specific person, view their profile under the Automations section.

Pause and resume an automation

Once an automation has been Run, you can Pause it. Pausing will prevent the scheduled emails in the automation from being sent. After clicking Pause, you'll be prompted to confirm:

For list-based automations, a yellow Paused indicator will be displayed. The Pause button will change to Resume:

Clicking Resume in a list-based automation will show when the next email will be sent, and you'll be prompted to confirm:

While the automation is paused, you will be able to edit the "time delay" for that email to change when it will be sent once you resume.


For page-based and multiple source automations using a page as a source, new people who sign up on the page while the automation is paused will be held in a queue:

When you resume, you'll be given the option to decide if you want to add new people and include people who were held in the queue, or just add new people.

πŸ“Œ Note: You'll be able to leave an automation paused for 30 days. When an automation is paused for longer than 30 days, it is automatically moved to the "Ended" status.

Ending an automation

For list-based automations, once every person on the list has received every email in the automation, the automation will automatically be moved to the Ended status.

For page-based or multiple source automations, the automation must be ended manually:

Statistics about the ended automation are displayed:


Once an automation has been ended, it cannot be run again.

An automation can also be archived in Automations > Settings.

Manage access to workflows

You can control access to workflow automations using permission sets. By default, only users with an Admin permission set will have access to Workflows. Admins can selectively enable automation features for other control panel users by editing their custom permission set:

Related HOWTOs

Β 

Did this answer your question?