Kavi® Members Help

Chapter 20. Scheduled Email

What Is Scheduled Email?

Scheduled email consists of template-based email notifications that are "scheduled" by setting event triggers. A reusable email template allows email messages to be prefilled with standard content and sent out automatically without administrator effort. When an event occurs, email scheduled for that event is generated from the template and values retrieved from the database then sent to the designated recipients.

Scheduled email is used to provide organization members with important information about their accounts and links to tools used to manage these accounts, but can also be used to notify administrators of events that might require their attention. Most organizations send welcome messages with login links to new users and send membership renewal reminders before memberships expire. Common examples of scheduled email for administrators are notifications sent to moderators when membership applications are received and require approval.

Administrators have a great deal of control over scheduled email sent out to account holders. Most Kavi Members Admin Area tools include a Send Email step that presents the email queue for the action the administrator has just performed, allowing the administrator to select which messages go out and to edit the standard email message content or recipients if desired.

Figure 20.1. Email Notifications Corresponding to Membership Lifecycle

Diagram showing a series of scheduled email notifications being sent
	    to a member throughout the membership lifecycle.
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Scheduled Email Components

Scheduled email has two principal components: the template and the schedule. The template provides all the basic information needed to construct an email, including the message body content, subject line, from field and dynamically populated To: and CC: fields. The template is combined with a schedule that is configured and managed in the Email Scheduler. Super Admins can view all this through Manage Email Schedule, and Organization Admins can use View Email Schedule. Kavi Members Default Scheduled Email and Templates (documented in the Appendix) can serve as simple examples.

Super Admins can click here to visit the Manage Email Schedule tool.

Organization Admins can click here to visit the View Email Schedule tool.

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Email Templates

Email templates provide standard information about an event and are addressed to specific types of recipients. Email templates addressed to account holders can provide links to Member Area tools, whereas email templates designed for moderators or administrators are likely to provide links to Admin Area tools.

Email templates usually include variables (such as the links mentioned above) that are filled by values retrieved from the database when an email is generated. The ubiquitous '$org_name' variable is filled with the name of the organization. The '$c_name' variable corresponds to company name. If a schedule email is set to go out whenever a company is added to the database, this variable would be filled with the value 'Company A' when sent to Company A's representative, and 'Company B' when sent to Company B's representative.

Some email templates are installed by default, but these can (and should) be customized. The easiest way to acquaint yourself with your organization's email templates is through the Admin Area tool View Email Schedule. Click the View link to see how email generated from the template looks when filled with values from the database. Super Admins will also see a Manage link that takes them to the Super Admin Area toolManage Email Templates.

Organization Admins can click here to visit the View Email Schedule tool.

Super Admins can click here to visit the Manage Email Templates tool.

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What Is this Email About?

Scheduled email is driven by events that affect a specific entity (or object, in object-oriented parlance) in the Kavi Members database, so the first step in scheduling email or adding a template is to select the entity that the email is about. In Kavi Members, this can be a company or a user; company representatives (if this is a company-based or mixed organization); and memberships (if the membership feature is enabled). The About setting determines what type of events are available for use as triggers and what kinds of variables can be included in the email template. To be compatible, the template and scheduled email have to use the same About setting.

Each entity has a set of events that can be used to trigger scheduled email. If a scheduled email is about a Company, available events are 'Activated', 'Added', 'Deactivated', 'Deleted' and 'Edited'. Scheduled email scheduled to go out when a company is added can be sent automatically if the organization allows direct company signup, or may be sent or suppressed by an administrator adding the company through the Add a Company tool.

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The Zen of 'When'

Once the entity that the email is about has been selected, the schedule is set in the 'When' step. The event that triggers the email is selected then the time-frame in reference to this event is set. These events include company or user records being added or changed, or memberships changing state as they move through the membership workflow.

The email can be sent out exactly when the event occurs, or some specified period of time before or after the event. Before or after time-frames are only applicable for a few events, so the most common setting is 'Exactly When'. Before is only supported for email about memberships changing into the expired or archived states and is used to send membership renewal reminders. If you view a scheduled email, the 'When' field concatenates these settings into a meaningful string (or close approximation thereof), such as 'Profile Is Added'.

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How to Determine What Email Is Generated by an Event

It may not be immediately obvious which scheduled email messages are sent when an event occurs, especially if the organization has a lot of scheduled email. Multiple email may be scheduled in Kavi Members for the same event, but these usually are sent to different types of recipients. What is more, related events in other applications may trigger scheduled email that isn't visible through Kavi Members interfaces because it is managed in these other applications.

Any action that affects purpose, state or status has the potential to cause cascading domino-effect changes throughout the system, triggering scheduled email for each event in the series. Adding a new company membership is a classic example of an event that can trigger other events and generate multiple scheduled email messages. By default, Kavi Members sends scheduled email welcome messages to the Primary Contact and other company representatives. If the membership is billed, a bill is created and Kavi Billing sends a message to the Billing Contact. If Kavi Showcase is installed and configured to add a member profile automatically, Kavi Showcase sends a message to the Showcase Company Admin.

If this membership is added by an administrator through Kavi Members tools, the administrator will see all the scheduled email managed in Kavi Members on the Send Email step and may be taken to Kavi Billing to complete payment, at which point the administrator has the opportunity to send or suppress email in Kavi Billing, but the Kavi Showcase email would be transparent to the administrator.

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