ActionNetwork is the DFL's new tool for sending emails to volunteers and activists. This article is an overview of the basics of sending and managing emails. There will be a forthcoming article that delves into more advanced settings. 

Sending a New Email

Log into your ActionNetwork account at

On the landing page, click "Go to a Group" in the upper right-hand corner and find your campaign or organizing unit's name.

On the top navigation bar, select "People" and click "Emails"

Drafting Your Email

This is the page where you can draft your email. First, type your subject line. You can leave the "Alternate Subject" field blank (This is used for A/B testing, which will be covered in an advanced ActionNetwork article). 

In the "Your Name" field, type who you would like the email to come from. **Note: This does not need to be an email address- a good rule of thumb is your full name and organization** 

The "Reply To" field is the email address where you will receive replies to your email.

"Preview Text" is an optional field that allows you to choose what recipients will see on their notification screen before opening the email. If you do not write anything here, it will default to the first one or two lines of the email body. 

Wrappers are used to automatically insert logos, disclaimers, or any other formatting that is not in the body of the email. This will be covered in the advanced article, but you can leave it at the default.

Now is time to draft the body of your email. The bar at the top can be used to format your email, much like a normal email application such as Gmail. 

Most of these settings are self-explanatory, but there are a few worth going over. 

  • "HTML" allows you to draft your email in HTML Code. If you aren't a programmer, you can ignore this
  • "Line" inserts a horizontal line in the email body. This is useful if you're writing a longer email with multiple distinct sections 
  • "Clips" allows you to insert certain lines of code that will customize your email. For example, you can use it to say "Hello [Name]" and ActionNetwork will insert the name associated with the recipient's email address. 
  • Other fields are used for more advanced settings, which will be covered in another article. 
  • "Snippets" allows you to insert lines of code that you can create. Again, if you're not a programmer, ignore this. 

When you are satisfied with your email, press "Save & Target Your Email"

Targeting Your Email

This is the page where you decided who you'd like to send your email to. This is much like the "Create A List" page in VAN. Anything selected on the left side of the page adds people to your targeted list. Anything selected on the right side of the page excludes people from your targeted list. 

Here is an overview of the dropdown menus and their fields which you can use to target your list:

  • Geography:
    • State- All your emails should be within Minnesota
    • County
    • Legislative District- Type "Minn" and then your district number (NOTE: This will not be accurate until 2023. Until then, you should use the instructions here)
    • Country
    • ZIP/Postal Code - You can use this to send an email to anyone in your list within x miles of a certain ZIP
    • City- Same as ZIP, but using the city name
    • Event Campaign Radius- You can email anyone within a certain radius of your event if you create events in ActionNetwork. This will be covered in the advanced article. 
    • Language- Targets individuals in your group that speak a specific language. Good for outreach to non-English speaking communities
  • Engagement:
    • Email Engagement - Targets people who subscribed, opened, clicked, or took any action within x amount of days
    • Action Activity - Targets people who took at least x amounts of action within x amount of days
    • Email Open Activity- Targets people who opened a previous email within x amount of days
  • Tags, Sources, and Fields
    • Tags- Most tags are transferred from VAN into ActionNetwork, including Likely pParty and any Activist Codes. You can also create your own tags.
    • Source Codes - Activists who have taken action using a source code on a link, as well as whether they were new to your list when taking that action with that source code or not
    • Field Values - Activists who have entered a certain value in our core fields or custom fields you have created
  • Actions and Fundraising 
    • Actions + Uploads - Specifies whether the recipient of a previous email took certain actions.
    • Target - Here is where you can select specific types of donors
    • Target Donors Whom Have Given - Here is where you can specify the amount donated and the target dates for donations 
  • Emails
    • Emails - This is where you can target an email list you have created previously
    • Email Campaigns - This ensures your emails will go emails within your campaign emailing list
    • Email Openers - Similar to Email Open Activity under Engagement, selects activists from your email list who have opened their emails
    • Email Clickers - Selects activists for your email list who have clicked a link found within your email
  • Mobile Messages- Not Supported
  • Reports/Queries- This will be covered in the advanced article 

Pay attention to the left and right sides of the dropdown menus. The LEFT side is activists you want to INCLUDE in your email list and the RIGHT side is activists you want to EXCLUDE from your email list

Here is an example of what the dropdown menus look like:

Once you are satisfied with your targeting, press "Save, Preview, and Send"

Preview Your Email

This page is where you can preview your email text as seen by the recipient and send your email. 

At the top of the page, you can see your email body. Check it one more time for spelling and formatting. 

At the bottom of the page, you can see how many people will receive your email. 

If you are satisfied, you can click "Send Email" to send it immediately. If you'd like to set a future time to schedule your email, click "Schedule Email" and select a time when you'd like to send it. **Note: ActionNetwork automatically uses Eastern Time, so make sure you are thinking about when you'd like it to send in your time zone**

Monitor Your Email Campaigns

On your main group page, click "Emails" on the navigation bar near the middle of the screen. Then find which email you'd like to see, and click "Stats."

Here you can see stats like how many people opened your email, how many people clicked on links inside the email, and how many people unsubscribed from your list. 

More statistics information will be included in the advanced article. 


Questions or feedback? Please email us at

If you have suggestions for other articles that you’d like to see in the knowledge base, submit your request here.