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How to create and move people along 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, they are 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. Reasons can also be defined for path completion and abandonment, further clarifying why people stay engaged or lose interest in supporting your organization.

Table of Contents


How to create a path

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

2. Then, click on the path picker path picker button. A menu will pop up listing paths installed or created in your nation.

3. Click on + Create path.

dialog to create a new path

The instructions for creating a new path are similar to editing a default 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 view or list view .

add profile to a path

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

A pop-up will appear:

1. First, select the path from the dropdown menu. 

    The other functions are optional:

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

    Step- 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.

    Expected Completion Date- 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.

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

    Description- A description can also be added to the path. 

2. Click the Submit 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:

This shows that a person 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 arrow caronto the right of the path name for more options. When you click Update step from this menu, new options appear:

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 arrow caron.pngallows 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. You can also add or edit a description of the path.

If you make changes in the Update path options, click the Submit 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. 


1. 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.

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

3. Select the path an emailer should be placed on.

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

5. 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, they 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 their profile, they can be assigned to a point person, they can begin a membership, and they can be assigned to a path.


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


At the bottom of the page, automated tasks can be set. Click the checkbox next to Add to path to see path options. You can do this with both one-time and recurring donations. 

Be sure to click the Save settings save settings button button 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 arrowcaron.png menu will complete the path. The path will be recorded in the profile, including which steps were completed.

If completion reasons were created, clicking on Complete Path from the arrow caron.png 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. 

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 dropdown menu. Be sure to click the Submit 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 arrow menu will abandon the path. 

If the path includes abandonment reasons, clicking on Abandon path from the arrow 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.

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 dropdown menu.  Be sure to click the Submit 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 arrow 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. 

 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 path picker] > [Select the edit icon next to path] > Settings. From the path settings page, click the Delete Path button. The delete path button is only available for paths that have no active, completed, or abandoned journeys. 

Log contact to a path step

You can add private notes to path steps in order to keep track of any contact you've made with a person. To do so, navigate to People > click on the person's profile > Log contact > type your message and select the path step under "Log to path". Click XX was contacted at the bottom.

How to view a path

Understand default paths

View and edit default paths

Batch update a path

How to keep track of relationships

How to use goals

How to manage control panel users

Four steps for better communication using paths

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