Communication Channel Management in Composer

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Communication Channels organize Composer-based communication. They can be customized to allow users to view which channels from which they receive emails, and to opt out of certain ones as well (if configured). Security roles can be applied to different channels, restricting access to certain departments. There are a number of default channels, some of which apply to certain recipient lists, and schools can create custom channels as well. Several examples will illustrate how useful channels are:

  • A current applicant channel could be used to control who has access to send to current applicants, give a clear picture of all communication to recipients within the channel, and potentially allow families to opt out of emails sent through that channel.
  • All current families might receive emails (with no opt out option) to a “Current Families” channel to ensure they get all the school news, but they could opt out of other channels as desired by the school.

This article covers channel management, security, and blocking.

Channel Management

Managing — adding, configuring, and deleting — is done on the Communications homepage. Channels are organized into categories, and the most common ones, created by default, include a number of constituents, e.g., Parents, Admissions Candidates, Donors, Athletics, and more. To view all categories, click Channel Categories in the Configuration section of the Communication homepage.

Note that channel categories are used only for organizational purposes. Security and the ability to opt out are controlled at the channel level.

Adding and Deleting Channel Categories

To add a channel category, click Add Channel Category in the Configuration section of the Communication homepage, and enter the Description and optionally, the Sort Key and Form Help.

To delete a channel category, first view the list of categories by clicking Channel Categories in the Configuration section of the Communication homepage. On the results grid, check the box on the far left next to the category to delete, and select Batch Delete Records from the Action menu.

Note: Only empty categories can be deleted. If a category has channels in it, first delete the channels, then the category.

Configuring Communication Channels

Adding and Deleting Channels

To add a channel, click Add Channel in the Configuration section of the Communication homepage, or hover over the Add button and select Add Channel.

To delete a channel, first view the list of categories by clicking Channels in the Configuration section of the Communication homepage. On the results grid, check the box on the far left next to the channel to delete, and select Batch Delete Records from the Action menu.

Note: Only empty channels with no drafts or emails can be deleted.

To view Channel settings, click Channels List in the  Configuration section of the Communication homepage. Each has a common set of specific configuration options. On the General tab, choose the Category’s Channel, and Public Description, which displays to communication recipients see when managing their own channels.

Channel status and audiences are indicated on the Form Visibility and Form Visibility by Role tabs. They are used to configure what is visible to a user when they click the Communication Settings Form link from an email to manage their communication preferences.

Form Visibility Tab

Select whether the channel will be available on the form at all by selecting Hide or Show from the Display on Form drop down menu.

Then select whether the channel is read-only or updatable for email and SMS separately. Read-only means that the user can see that they will receive emails sent via this channel, but they cannot opt out. For instance, a school may want to show current parents that they are subscribed to the “Current Parents” channel, but not give them the option to block it.

Make the channel updatable if the school desires to allow the user to choose whether they will receive emails in this channel. For instance, a school may want to allow alumni to block alumni emails.

Form Visibility by Role Tab

This tab determines whether particular recipients who have the given roles can see this Channel on the Channel Update Form.

If a role is granted visibility here, then people with that role will have the ability to see this Channel on the form if the “Form Visibility” setting allows this channel to be seen.


Tags can be used for greater granularity in publishing options within portals. They can be added to any news article or Composer email directly in the article or email (requires News Management).

Use tags to filter content within channels for displaying in portals. For example, use a “graduation” tag on news articles and Composer emails relating to graduation, and then pull in articles with that tag in a portal component on a “Graduation” page in the Parent Portal.

Tags are managed directly in a field called “Publishing Tags” in content screen components and “Portal Component Publishing Tags” in Composer emails. To add a tag, simply start typing; if it already exists, autofill options appear. To remove a tag, simply delete it.

Note that tags are for administrative use only to give greater flexibility in article publishing; the names of the tags do not display in the portals. If you do not have News Management, talk to your account manager.


Channel Security

Specific security can be applied to each channel, enabling schools to control publishing access to certain roles. This can be useful, e.g., to grant coaches access to Athletics channels, Development officers to development channels, etc. Each channel has two tabs for managing security: View Content and Create Content.

View Content

View Content permissions determine who is able to view content sent through specific channels, and is defined by security role, not granted to individuals. For example, an email sent to a specific distribution list and associated with a specific channel can only be viewed by those with security roles specified on that channel’s View Content tab.

To add security roles, click a role in the left “Available Security Roles” column to move it to the right “Active Security Roles” column. Click to remove them from the Active Security Roles.

Create Content

Specifying Create Content permissions grants specific users authoring/publishing/reviewing permissions in channels. There are four levels of permission that can be given to specific users on the Create Content tab of any Communication Channel.

  • Read Only: Users with this type of access can view the channel in a read-only fashion, including unsent drafts.
  • Author Only: Users can author, but their communication requires publisher approval before sending.
  • Author + Publish: User can author and publish communication. They can also review and approve communication.
  • Author + Publish + Edit: In addition to writing, reviewing, and sending emails, users can also manage the channel settings and templates

Channel Blocking

A key feature of channels is that they can be configured to allow constituents to opt out, as desired by the school. Each channel maintains a list of those who have blocked communication published through the channel.

The Blocked tab on each channel will list any persons who have blocked communication from this channel via the Subscription Management form (“unsubscribe” link in emails). It is possible to add additional blocks in the Blocked tab but any persons listed on the tab may also have been added through their own subscription management via the Household Profile Update section for managing channel communication.