Once you've learned about the structure of workflows in Virtuous Automation, you'll probably be excited to start building your own. Hey, who could blame you? You can use this guide to get started.

Step 1 - Map it Out

To create a new workflow, you'll need to have a whiteboard, or a piece or paper, or a spreadsheet handy — whichever you prefer. This is because it is recommended that you map out your workflow before starting to build in Virtuous. Create a plan for your workflow steps, and decide what actions or data points will be the triggers for enrolling Contacts or Individuals. For example, do you want to respond when someone makes a donation? Or maybe a donation over a specific amount? Maybe a donation over a specific amount to a particular Campaign or Project? Should everyone be eligible, or do you want to filter out major donors?

Once you decide on triggers, then it's time to map out your steps and the actions you'd like to take. We'll talk more about the different options for actions in a bit.

Step 2 - Build Your Queries

Once you have your workflow mapped out, then it's time to get started on building out the queries you'll need to power your workflow. Since workflows can only be connected to Contact or Individual queries, you you may need to use the nested query feature to pull in triggers from other objects, like Gifts, Pledges, Events, or email actions.

Step 3 - Create the Email Content

OK, you've got a map, you've got your queries - you are getting close! Now, if your workflow includes sending emails, it's time to get creative and start writing those emails. They don't have to be perfect, but at least get the design laid out (you may just be using a template, which is even easier) and put together a first draft.

Once you've got your emails drafted and ready, you'll finally be ready to start building out your workflow in Virtuous.

Step 4 - Workflow Time!

Now that all of your pieces are in place — you've got your workflow plan, your queries, and your emails all ready. right? — it's time to put them all together and assemble your workflow. To get started, go ahead and click on the Automation icon in the menu, from either Virtuous CRM or Virtuous Marketing.

Starting From a Template

Click on the "Best Practice Templates" tab at the top of the screen to view the gallery of available templates and select one that best fits your needs.

Creating a workflow from any of the available templates will also create any of the included tags, queries, emails, letters, postcards, custom fields, and everything else you might need to run the workflow. Emails and letters that are created and added to your Virtuous Email or Letters on Demand pages are all populated with placeholder copy, and they must be edited and published before you activate any of these workflows. You will see an onscreen reminder of this each time you create a new best practice workflow. If you do not have an active Email or Letters on Demand subscription, these actions will be omitted from your workflow.

Once you have created a workflow from any of the available templates, you can customize the workflow as much as you would like. Add steps or actions, update queries, and make them your own!

Creating a Custom Workflow

Right now, since you've already taken the time to map out your workflow, create your own queries, and craft engaging email content, let's go ahead and create a new custom workflow.

To get started, click on the blue "Create a Workflow" button.

Clicking on that option will bring up the Workflow Details form.

Here you can begin configuring your custom workflow. The fields here are:

  • Target: Will your workflow target Contacts or Individuals? Once this selection has been made and you move on the edit your workflow, this setting cannot be changed. Contact workflows are best for responding to giving activity, since Gifts are tracked at the Contact level. Individual workflows work well for following un on events, volunteering, or email activity, since these are all related directly to Individuals.
  • Name (required): Give your workflow a clear, unique name so it is easy to identify.
  • Description: This field is a free-text field that be used to provide more detail on the purpose of your workflow, so everyone on your team can be on the same page.
  • Campaign: Use this field to link your workflow with an existing Campaign. 
  • Schedule: Would you like your workflow to run every day, including weekends? If you workflow includes emails sent "from" a staff member, sending those emails at 9:30am on a Sunday may not be the best approach. ON the other hand, workflows that are designed to manage internal processes, like tagging and tasks, can run on any day. Keep in mind that if you choose not to run your workflow on weekends, delays will not be extended because of the "down time."
  • Run Against: There are two options, "All" or "New." Select "All" if you would like every Contact or Individual in your database to be eligible for this workflow. This does not mean that every record will be enrolled in the workflow, only that the queries used will be run against every record. Selecting "New" will allow you to select a calendar date that defines exactly what "New" means. Records created prior to that date will not be run against the queries used in your workflow and will never be enrolled in the workflow.
  • Allow Re-enrollment: This setting determines whether or not records can go through a given workflow more than once. Like the target setting, once this selection has been made and you move on the edit your workflow, this setting cannot be changed. By default, Virtuous workflows do not allow re-enrollment, so Contacts or Individuals can only complete each workflow action once. This makes sense, especially for workflows like a new donor welcome series — you can only be a new donor once! But there are some cases where you might want someone to go through a particular workflow more than once. For example, maybe you want to send a thank-you whenever a donor gives a Gift larger than $25. You wouldn't want to only send a thank-you once; you'd want that same action to happen every time a donor gives a Gift above that threshold. In cases like this, you can check the box to allow re-enrollment.

Once you have filled in all of the information for your workflow, click the "Save Workflow" button to continue to the edit screen.

Now it's time to use your workflow plan as a guide and assemble all the parts of your workflow. Click on the "Add a step" button to begin building out your workflow steps.

This will open a form where you can fill in the details of your step.

  • Name (required): Each step in your workflow should have a clear, unique name.
  • Description: This field is a free-text field that be used to provide more detail on the purpose of your step, so everyone on your team can be on the same page.
  • Query: Use this field to search for the query you already created earlier that you'd like to use to enroll records in this step. If, for any reason, the query you need does not already exist, leaving the query field blank will create a new blank query, named after your workflow step, which you can edit after it is created.

Once you have filled in all of the information for your step, click on "Save Step" to move on and begin adding actions to your step.

As you add steps to your workflow, you can use the "grab" icon in the upper right of each column to drag and reorder workflow steps. You can learn more about the impact of step order in this support article.

Within each step, you will see the same icon to the right of each action. Use these to re-order actions within each step. Actions can only move up or down within a particular step; actions cannot be dragged from one step to another.

Workflow Actions

Once you have laid out your steps and their respective queries, you'll be ready to start adding actions to each step. Click on any of the actions below to learn more about each one. The available actions are:

Just click on the blue "add an action" button to select an action and add it to a step.

This will open a form where you can select your action and customize it.

Once you have added all of the steps and actions that you will need for your workflow, you're almost ready! Check out this article to learn more about testing and running your workflow.

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