How to use paths

A nation's goals can be broken down into paths to meet those goals. A path is a step-by-step workflow that describes how people taking action contribute toward achieving the larger goal. As a person completes various steps, she is moved along the path to its completion. This deliberate distribution of work provides clarity on how individual support helps achieve the organization's mission. Paths are the cornerstone to building internal alignment and accountability.

Paths appear in the People section of the control panel. Default paths are included automatically based on features enabled in your nation. You may find it easier to edit these default paths to accommodate your organization's workflow rather than creating new paths from scratch. Each step on a path, and each path, can have a due date. Control panel users can be assigned responsibility for path and step completion, creating additional levels of accountability within your organization beyond point person assignment. A value can be assigned to a path, providing a way to forecast future revenue. And reasons can be defined for path completion and abandonment, further clarifying why people stay engaged or lose interest in supporting your organization.

Paths are enabled automatically for nations created on or after September 22, 2015. Nations created before that date will need to upgrade their pricing plan to use this feature. Full functionality requires disabling contact types and followups. As part of the process of upgrading from contact types and followups to paths, you can edit and create paths before removing followups from your nation.


How to view and edit default paths

In the People section, click on path view path view button.

Then click on path picker path picker button.

A menu will pop up listing paths installed or created in your nation.

path picker open

Click the edit button Edit iconnext to an existing path to edit the path.

Edit path settings

You will be taken to the path settings screen. For example, with donations enabled, you can edit the become a donor path.

donor path settings

1. In path settings you can edit the name of the path.

2. If you want to allow a due date for the path, check the box next to "Enable expected completion date." You can also set a default expected completion date if the workflow should generally take the same amount of time. This date is set relative to when the path is started. The options are:

  • same day
  • 1 day later
  • 2 days later
  • 3 days later
  • 4 days later
  • 5 days later
  • 6 days later
  • 1 week later
  • 2 weeks later
  • 30 days later

3. If you want to allow control panel users to add a monetary value for path completion, check the box next to "Enable values." You can set a default path value to any positive amount, including up to two decimal places.

4. If one control panel user is responsible for completing this particular path, assign the path. This is particularly useful if the workflow is always handled by the same person. For example, the fundraising coordinator may be responsible for cultivating new donors. This allows you to hold her accountable for path completion metrics. If multiple people are responsible, leave this option blank. Each time a path is created on a profile, a unique control panel user can be assigned to path completion.

5. Click the "Save path" button to saved changes made to the path settings.

Edit path steps

Click the word "Steps" to edit the path steps.

edit steps in the donor path

On the left side, you can create a new step in the become a donor path.

Existing steps are listed on the right side. Click the edit icon Edit iconnext to a step to edit a particular step.

edit step settings within donor path

1. In step settings, you can rename the step.

2. The step due date indicates when the step should be completed. Due date options are the same as for an entire path--anything from the same day to 30 days later.

3. Assign the step to a control panel user. For example, if the fundraising coordinator decides which supporters should be targeted for new donor campaign, she should be assigned this step. If multiple people are responsible for a particular step, leave this option blank. Each time a path is created on a profile, the default assignment can be changed or removed. 

4. Click the "Update step" button to save changes.

Define reasons for ending a path

A person can complete or abandon a path from any step. Default paths do not include reasons for abandonment or completion. Reasons can clarify why people support or lose interest in the path. Clearly identified reasons provide more ways to aggregate people who leave or complete paths.

Click on "Abandonment" to begin defining reasons. 

create reason for abandonment

Enter the name of the reason and then click the "Create reason" button.

For example, if you ask a supporter to donate three times without a response, the become a donor path should be abandoned. This scenario could be listed as "No response after 3 donation asks."

This is particularly important for separating path experiences. Only one instance of a path can be active on a profile at any time. For example, say John is a potential donor for the Q1 new donor drive. At the end of Q1, despite being contacted three times with stories of the organization's effectiveness and financial responsibility, he has not donated. John's become a donor path is abandoned with the reason "No response after 3 donation asks." In Q2 a new instance of the become a donor path is added to John's profile and he responds to the first appeal of the new campaign. This path is completed with the reason "Donated after 4 asks."

By abandoning the path in Q1, an accurate measurement of the effectiveness of the campaign is created. And by adding a completion reason that accounts for previous communication, the total effort required to cultivate this new donor is captured.

Reasons for completion can be added by clicking "Completion."

create completion reason


How to create a path

In the People section, click on path view path view button.

Then click on the path picker path picker button.

A menu will pop up listing paths installed or created in your nation.

create a new path from the path picker

Click on "+Create path." 

dialog to create a new path

The instructions for creating a new path are similar to editing an existing path. Once you create a new path, you will be taken to the create steps screen. You must create a least one step.  

A path must have a name and one step to work properly. 

We find it useful to use the following guidelines when creating a path.

Path development guidelines

  1. Decide the purpose
    • Include in path name, e.g. "Become a donor."
    • Complete the path when the purpose is fulfilled.
  2. Steps are the workflow for completing the path.
    • Include a verb in the step name to help explain when a person moves to that step.
      • For example, "Ask to pledge" is a prescriptive step, stating that a control panel user should ask the person to pledge.
      • For example, "Pledged" is the step a person lands on after she has taken action. By using the past tense verb, the step is descriptive of the person's state.
    • It is possible to skip steps.
  3. A path should move a relationship forward.
    • Paths that sustain an organization by nurturing an existing relationship are reactive, e.g. customer service.
    • Paths that grow an organization are proactive, e.g. become a donor.
  4. A path or step can be assigned to a control panel user.
    • Default assignments indicate who is normally responsible for completion.
    • Assignment creates internal accountability and clearly differentiate responsibilities. 
  5. Most paths have a clear end point.
    • Paths should be defined in a way that completion is expected.
    • It may be useful to create a few paths that do not end. An example of a persistent path is "donor lifecycle."

Manual path movement

A control panel user can place a person on a path. Beginning a path can also happen automatically when someone contacts a broadcaster or takes action on your website. While most people will move sequentially from one path step to the next, it is possible to move backward and to skip steps. 

In the People section, a profile can be added to a path from single-person viewsingle-person view button or list view list view button.

Click on "+Path" at the bottom of the profile overview.

add profile to a path

A pop-up will appear:

add profile to path

First, select the path from the drop-down menu. 

You can assign a control panel user responsibility for ensuring the path is completed. 

By default, the first step on the path will then appear in the step drop-down menu. You can select a different step to begin the journey.

If the path selected has expected completion date enabled, the pop-up will include the default expected completion date and/or allow you to pick a completion date.

If the path selected has values enabled, the pop-up will include the default value and/or allow you to assign a value. 

A description can also be added to the path. 

Click the "Add to path" button to finish adding the person to the path.

Once the path is added to a profile, it will display at the bottom of the profile overview:

how a path appears on a profile

This shows that Julie is on the become a donor path. Hovering over the picture displayed next to the path name tells you which control panel user was assigned responsibility for path completion.

Clicking on another path step moves the profile to that step. Three steps are displayed in full. Hovering over another part of the path will display the names of other steps. 

Click on the caron caronto the right of the path name for more options:

caron options on active path

When you click "Update step" from this menu, new options appear:

update step popup

The "Update step" options allow you to move the profile to a new step, assign the step to a control panel user, and set a due date for completing the step. 

One control panel user can be responsible for ensuring the entire path is completed while another control panel user is responsible for a particular step. This is indicated by including the control panel user's profile picture within the path:

on a different path step

Hovering over either profile picture reveals the name of the user with that assignment. In the above example, I am responsible for Julie completing the become a donor path and Jason is responsible for asking her to pledge. 

Clicking "Update path" from the caron caron.pngmenu allows you to change the control panel user overseeing the path. If you enable expected completion date or value in the path's settings, those options will be included in the pop-up. And you can add or edit a description of the path.

update_path.png

If you make changes in the "Update path" options, click the "Update path" button to save your changes. Otherwise, return to the previous view by clicking the "Cancel" button or the "X" in the right-hand corner or by clicking outside of the pop-up window.


Automated path movement

When a broadcaster is contacted or a person takes action on a webpage, the action can trigger path movement.

Add to path step when broadcaster is contacted

Whenever a broadcaster is contacted, the action can trigger movement to a path step. The settings are specific to each type of contact: someone who leaves voicemail can be placed on a different path from someone who sends a text message. Similarly, emailing a broadcaster, reaching out on Twitter, or posting to a Facebook page can trigger movement on separate paths. 

Go to Communication > [Broadcaster name] > Settings. 

Adding people to a path occurs within the Email, Phone, Texting, Twitter, and Facebook sub-sections of the broadcaster's settings menu. For example, when a broadcaster is receiving incoming email, you can go to Communication > [Broadcaster name] > Settings > Email.

broadcaster email settings

At the bottom of the screen, check the box next to "Add people who email to a path step." Additional options will appear.

add emailers to path step

First, select the path an emailer should be placed on.

Then, select a step. You can choose to assign the step to a control panel user. You can also select a due date for completing the step.

Be sure to click the "Save broadcaster" button to save changes made to broadcaster email settings.

Chris Asmar wrote about a four step communication path that can help ensure one-to-one communication with broadcasters never falls through the cracks. 

Add to path step when action taken on website

When a person takes action on your website, she can be added to a path. This is in addition to other automated tasks that can occur. For example, when someone donates, a tag can be added to her profile, she can be assigned to a point person, she can begin a membership, and she can be assigned to a path.

To add this functionality, go to the Website section of your control panel. Edit a donation page. Go to Donation settings > Basics.

donation_settings_basics.png

At the bottom right-side of the page, automated tasks can be set. Click the checkbox next to "Add to path" to see path options.

automated tasks on a donation page

Be sure to click the "Save settings" button save settings buttonon the left side of the page to save changes made.


How to end a path journey: complete, abandon, delete

There are three ways to end a path that is active on a profile: complete the path, abandon the path, or delete the path.

Complete the path

If you did not create reasons for completion, clicking on "Complete path" from the caron menu caron.pngwill complete the path.

complete path from caron menu

The path will be recorded in the profile, including which steps were completed.

If completion reasons were created, clicking on "Complete path" from the caron menu will bring up a pop-up menu, allowing you to select the reason for completion. This is a way to categorize path completion and creates more filtering options. 

complete path with reasons

When completing a path, it is not possible to change the path step. The path will be completed from whatever step the person is currently on. You can select a reason for completion from the Reason drop-down menu. 

Be sure to click the "Complete Path" button to complete the path.

Abandon path

Abandoning a path works the same as completing a path. If the path does not include reasons for completion, clicking on Abandon path from the caron menu will abandon the path. 

abandon path from caron menu

If the path includes abandonment reasons, clicking on "Abandon path" from the caron menu will bring up a pop-up menu, allowing you to select the reason. This is a way to categorize abandonment and creates more filtering options.

abandon path with reason

When abandoning a path, it is not possible to change the path step. The path will be abandoned from whatever step the person is currently on. You can select a reason for abandonment from the Reason drop-down menu. 

Be sure to click the "Abandon Path" button to abandon the path.

Delete path

Deleting a path deletes all information related to the path from the profile.

Click "Delete path" from the caron menu.

delete path from caron menu

That option will then change to ask if you are sure you want to delete the path:

confirm path deletion

Click on the "Sure?" option to delete the path. All aspects of the path will be deleted from the profile: when the person began the path, who was assigned to oversee the path / steps, and when each step was completed. If a path journey is deleted by accident, it can be resurrected from the Paths section of a profile. 

Note: A distinction is made between the instance of a path on a particular profile, and the path itself. The instance of a path on a profile is a journey and it contains a lot of historical data that could be useful in the future. The amount of time spent on each step of the path, the amount of time it took to complete the path, the actions taken that moved someone from one step to another step -- all of that data is stored as part of the journey on a profile. This is why deleted journeys can be resurrected and why it is relatively difficult to delete the path itself.

However, if you want to remove a path completely, every journey associated with that path will need to be deleted first. For every active profile on a path, you will have to repeat the steps above to delete the path from those profiles. For profiles that have completed or abandoned the path, you will have to reactivate the path on those profiles before deleting the path from the profile. Once you do, go to People > [Select pack picker] > [Select the edit icon next to path] > Settings. From path's settings page, click the "Delete path" button. The "Delete path" button is only available for paths that have no active, completed, or abandoned journeys. 


View all paths connected to a profile

Only active paths display in a profile's overview. In single-person view, clicking on the Paths option within a profile allows you to see all active and inactive paths connected to the profile. This includes active, abandoned, completed, and deleted paths.

paths_on_profile.png

So for example, if the become a donor path was accidentally deleted, it can be activated by clicking the "Activate" button.

A person can travel on a path multiple times. At any point in time, the person can only have one active path for each specific path. So, if you would like to activate a completed path when the profile already has that path open, the active path must be ended before the older path can be resurrected.


View everyone on a path

In the People section, click on path view  path_view.png to view everyone on a path.

The path with the most recent movement will be displayed.

You can display everyone on a different path by clicking on the path picker path_picker.pngand selecting a different path.

Click the sort-by button sort_by.pngto change the order people are listed. Path view can be sorted by:

  • Last moved along path
  • Highest path value
  • Lowest path value
  • Recently added
  • Highest priority
  • Klout
  • Social capital
  • Twitter followers
  • Alphabetical
  • Recently contacted
  • Not recently contacted

display people on paths in path view 

If the path has more than four steps, a scroll bar at the bottom of the page will allow you to view people who are further along the path.

Path view can display everyone who is actively on the path, people who have completed the path, or people who have abandoned the path. 

In addition to the path picker display options, you can also filter within path view.

Use the assignment drop down Assignment drop down to only view paths that are assigned to a specific control panel user. Click on the selector and choose a control panel user. Any active path or step that is assigned to the selected control panel user will display. Any profile that has the control panel user listed as her point person will also display.

You may also view paths that are assigned to "Everyone" or just paths that are assigned to you. 

Click on the filter filter buttonto further narrow who is displayed within path view. 


Path filters

In the People section, click the filter filter button to begin filtering. Most of the following options are available in the path category. The final two criteria are available in the contact history category. You can navigate to a specific criterion by typing it into the search bar.

Criterion Description
On path Finds people who are on a specific path or finds people who are not on a specific path.
Completed path Finds people who completed a specific path in a timeframe (between, since, before, in the last). Can also find people who have not completed a specific path in a timeframe.
Abandoned path Finds people who abandoned a specific path in a timeframe (between, since, before, in the last). Can also find people who have not abandoned a specific path in a timeframe.
Started path Finds people who are actively on a specific path and started that path in a timeframe (between, since, before, in the last). Can also find people who have not started a specific path in a timeframe.
Began step Finds people who are actively on a specific path and started a specific step in that path in a timeframe (between, since, before, in the last). Can also find people who have not started a specific step in a timeframe.
On step Finds people who are on a specific step. Can also find people who are not on a specific step.
On any path Finds people who are on any path. Can also find people who are not on any path.
Path assigned to Finds people on a specific path assigned to a specific control panel user for path completion.
Step assigned to Finds people on a specific step assigned to a specific control panel user for step completion.
Expected completion date Finds people by expected path completion date. Can specify an exact date, is not an exact date, before a date, before or on a date, after a date, after or on a date, between two dates, in the last amount of time, not in the last amount of time, or within the last time frame.
Current step due date Finds people with a step due date. Same time frame options as expected completion date: exact date, not an exact date, before a date, before or on a date, after a date, after or on a date, between two dates, in the last amount of time, not in the last amount of time, or within the last time frame.
Step is due today Finds people who are on a step that is due today. Can also find people who do not have a step due today.
Step is overdue Finds people who are overdue for completing a step. Can also find people who are not overdue for step completion.
Completion reason Finds people who completed a path for a specific reason. Can also find people who did not complete a path for a specific reason.
Abandonment reason Finds people who abandoned a path for a specific reason. Can also find people who did not abandon a path for a specific reason.
Contacted on step Finds people who were contacted on a particular path step. 
Contacted on step (with date) Finds people who were contacted on a particular path step on, before, or after a specific date. Can also find people who were contacted on a particular step in the last X number of days, weeks, months or years. Can also find people who were contacted on a particular step before or since a particular date. And can find people who were contacted on a particular step within a time frame.

Batch update

Paths can be updated, abandoned, or completed using batch update. This means that the same action will be taken for everyone on a particular list.

Go to People > Lists. From the widget that opens, click on the name of the list you want to batch update.

Select Batch update > Paths

batch update paths initial screen

First, select the path to be updated.

Batch updating a path

If the action to take is "Update," the same update will be applied to everyone on the list.

path_batch_update_options.png

At least one checkbox must be checked to batch update a path. An option will not be updated if its checkbox is not checked. If you check the checkbox without filling in its corresponding option, that area will be cleared from the path.

For example, checking "update step assigned to" without selecting a control panel user will remove step assignment on the active step for everyone on the list.

These are the aspects of the path that can be batch updated:

Update option Description
Step Move everyone on the list to a particular step on the path. By default, update path begins with the first step selected within the chosen path. The step can be changed or the option unchecked.
Assign step to Assign a control panel user to oversee step completion for everyone on the list.
Step due date Assigns the same step due date to a particular step for everyone on the list.
Assign path to Assigns a control panel user to oversee path completion for everyone on the list.
Expected completion date Assigns the same expected completion date to the path for everyone on the list.
Value Assigns the same value to the path for everyone on the list.
Description Assigns the same description to the path for everyone on the list.

1. Check the box next to the update option you want to change.

2. Select the appropriate step, control panel user, due date, or value amount that corresponds with the option selected.

3. Click the "Update all people" button.

By default, when you batch update a path, everyone will be placed on the first step on the path. This ensures that there is an active path on all profiles to apply other updates. If you only want the update to apply to people on the list who are already on the path, uncheck the box next to "step."

Batch completing a path

batch completing a path

1. Select the path from the Path drop-down menu. (Required)

2. Select "Complete" from the Action drop-down menu. (Required)

3. If you want to update the reason the path was completed, check the box next to "Reason." 

4. Select the reason from the drop-down menu.

5. Click the "Update all people" button. (Required)

If you check the box next to "Update reason" without selecting a reason, an error will occur and the paths will not be completed. Either uncheck the box or select a reason before clicking the "Update all people" button again.

When a path is batch completed:

  • People on the list who were on the path will have the path completed. The path will be completed on the active step.
  • People on the list who were not actively on the path will have the path recorded on their profiles. The path will be completed on its first step.

Batch abandoning a path

batch abandoning a path

1. Select the path from the Path drop-down menu. (Required)

2. Select "Abandon" from the Action drop-down menu. (Required)

3. If you want to update the reason the path was abandoned, check the box next to "Reason." 

4. Select the reason from the drop-down menu.

5. Click the "Update all people" button. (Required)

If you check the box next to "Update reason" without selecting a reason, an error will occur and the paths will not be abandoned. Either uncheck the box or select a reason before clicking the "Update all people" button again.

When a path is batch abandoned:

  • People on the list who were on the path will have the path abandoned. The path will be abandoned on the active step.
  • People on the list who were not actively on the path will have the path recorded on their profiles. The path will be abandoned on its first step.

Log contact

Whenever your organization engages with a person, logging that engagement may include a path.  

If the person already has active paths, the path drop-down menu will only include those paths. The engagement will be recorded on the current step.

If the person does not have any active paths, the path drop-down menu will include all paths in your nation. When the engagement is recorded, it will be included on the first step of the path selected. The path will then display as active on the person's profile, and the person will be placed on the first step of the path.

There is no limit to the number of contacts that can occur on each step of a path. 

The same logic applies to adding a note or sending an email: each must be connected to a path. Which paths are available from the drop-down menu depends on whether the person is currently on a path.


Understand default paths

How to keep track of relationships

How to use goals

How to manage control panel users

Four steps for better communication using paths

If you’re unclear on how this feature works, please ask a question. If you would like to see changes to this feature, please submit a suggestion.