Targeted Letters Step 3: Compose Letters

Compose Letters

On this page you will get to set up the letter or letters that will make up the backbone of your Targeted Letter. Here, you will select the legislators you wish to target, choose your subject and message content, and decide of supporters will be allowed to edit the content or not.  Here is a rundown of the options available on this page:

1. ADD MORE LETTERS -- The first step is to decide if you're going to have a single letter, or if you'll be creating multiple emails to multiple legislators.

For single messages, you don't have to worry about this + tab.  If you do wish to send multiple letters that cheer one group of lawmakers but jeer another, then click to add them here.  You can have up to three letters:

2. TOPIC -- Most legislators like to get a sense of how the message being sent to them corresponds to any number of topics.  These subjects range from Agriculture and the Arts all the way to Veteran's Affairs and Women's Issues.  Legislative webforms also parse out information based on these topics.  Here's where you'll choose the most relevant topic that corresponds to your messaging.  Use the pulldown menu that begins with "Agriculture".

3. NAME THIS LETTER -- This is a public-facing title that will help supporters differentiate between multiple letters with a bold heading within your form.  For single letters, it can be a heading that clarifies the purpose of the letter.  This field differs from the Subject line of the email, which will be sent to the target(s).

4. TO -- This deceptively short title is where you select your legislative targets.  By clicking in the "To" field, you open a window that allows you sift through the various hierarchies of options from the Federal House and Senate all the way down to Municipal-level policy makers.  When you click the field next to the "To" label, you'll be taken to the "Find & Add Your Targets" window:

A. The first category includes a Search field, so you can quickly find a legislator by name, or filter subsequent options by such criteria as State, County name, etc.  As you follow down into the choices, you can further filter by political party, District, Committee, and so on.

B. As soon as you start making choices, your initial results field will beging to populate.  You can think of these legislators as being "on deck".  You can choose the "+ ADD ALL" button to move all results from this section to your final list of choices (column C).  You can make individual selections by clicking the "+" sign in the circle to the right of each name.

C. Your final list of targets is displayed here.  If you decide to remove a target, click the "-" sign in the circle to the right of the target's name.  The "Remove All" link in the upper right-hand corner will reset your selected targets to none. If you're satisfied with your list of choices, click the Save button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.

Once you have your targets in place, you'll notice a full count of the number of targets you have on the right-hand side of the "To" line:

If you want to make changes to your targets, just click anywhere on the "To" list to re-open the "Find & Add Your Targets" window.

5. SUBJECT LINE -- Every email needs a subject line, so here's where you'll enter that information.  This is the short description of the content that the targets will see when one of your supporters sends them an email via your form.

6. BODY OF LETTER -- This is the content section where you will compose (or paste in) the actual message that will be sent by your supporters to their respective legislative targets.  Keep in mind that you can only enter text into this field.  If you attempt to use any HTML code, you'll see a warning similar to this one:

This is kept plain text for a couple of reasons:  First, plain text is able to fit into comment sections of any webforms that Salsa must parse in order for the letter to be sent.  Secondly, plain text has less chance of bouncing, being denied, or having formatting obscure the message when being sent through government email servers.

7. CAN THE SUPPORTER CUSTOMIZE THIS LETTER? -- Customizing allows supporters to add their personal stories or feelings to the letter.  If you want to standardize the letter being sent on this topic, supporters can add a comment to make it more personal.  Keep in mind, if  constituents are allowed to customize the letter, they won't be able to leave comments; it's one or the other.

Once you've finished your letter(s) and have your targets lined up, You can save your progress and continue to work on the this page, navigate back to the Setup page, or move forward to build the form itself.  You can perform these actions using the buttons in the lower right-hand corner of the page:

You'll also notice you have a few items in the lower left-hand corner of the page that look like this:

The cogwheel and status will change depending on your published status with your form.  At this stage, your only option under the cogwheel will be to delete the entire section, which you can do by confirming that this is the action you'd like to take:

The private status of the form will change to "public" after you publish it.

When you're ready to move onto the form's composition, just click the "Next: Build my form" button.  Your progress will be saved when you do so.


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