Composer FAQ

Why isn't my new channel appearing on the Communications homepage?

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When you create a new channel, sometimes it will not appear in the Channels query on the Communications homepage at all! Usually, this is because of a single reason: the new channel's category.

Creating a new channel record. By default, the Category field is set as "<None Specified>".

When creating a new channel, by default, the Category field is set as "<None Specified>". This is an issue because the embedded query on the Communications homepage excludes channels with the <None Specified> category by default. It is good practice to always set a channel's category when creating a new channel. To adjust the category of an existing channel, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the General tab of the channel's record.
  2. Update the Category field to be anything besides "<None Specified>".
    • If none of the current categories make sense for the channel you are creating, you can create new channel categories from the Add menu on the Communications homepage.
  3. Click Update.

Can I create an anchor link in a Composer message?

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Anchor links are often used to create links to specific sections of both internal and external pages. For particularly long composer messages, you may try to create links to other specific parts of the message.

An example of a composer message. Because of the way a Composer message is crafted, it is not possible to expose the underlying HTML.

Unfortunately, that functionality is not possible at this time due to the fact that there is no way to expose the underlying HTML to insert an anchor link.

You may find these related articles helpful:

How can I automatically CC users in a Composer email?

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When writing composer emails, you sometimes want to include certain people in similar emails automatically. While there isn't a way to automate all emails going to a specific person, you can establish workflows that help you achieve what you're looking for. To accomplish this in Veracross, perform the following steps below.

A school-defined group  names "People Who Receive All Emails". Feel free to create custom school-defined groups that make sense for your workflows.

  1. Navigate to the System homepage and click the + Add a Group link.
  2. Name the group something that makes sense (e.g., People Who Receive All Emails, Additional Admission Staff Notifications, etc.)
  3. Add people to this group that need to be added using the Add Record... button.
  4. When sending an email through Composer, when you get to the recipients section, be sure to include relevent groups in your recipients.

You may also find the following aticles helpful:

Can I send a welcome email through Composer?

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Composer is a great tool for building aesthetically pleasing emails, and you may want to harness this functionality to send out your welcome emails instead of using the standard system email template. Is this possible? Absolutely! But there are additional considerations you should take into account.

You too can send out beautiful Composer emails as your welcome email to new parents and students! But make sure you take the extra steps required for this process.

Create the Welcome Email With Merge Fields

In your Composer email, use these two fields to provide recipients their username and a login link to set up their account:

  • {vc:username} 
  • {vc:portals_account_setup_link}

Set Up Welcome Email Templates Anyway

The account setup link you include in a Composer email expires after 72 hours. If a user clicks the setup link after 72 hours have passed, the system will automatically send them a system welcome email. Therefore, we strongly recommend setting up welcome emails even if you are using Composer to send welcome emails. To do this:

  1. Navigate to the Identity and Access Management or System homepage and click the "Security Roles" link.
  2. Ensure that the correct welcome email template is listed for each security role that could get a welcome email. For example, if you are getting ready to send Composer welcome emails to your parents, makes sure that the "Parent" portal role has the VC_Welcome_Parent email template indicated in the "Welcome Email Template" field. 
  3. To edit the actual template, navigate to the System homepage and click "System Email Templates."
  4. Find and click into the appropriate template and edit.

Create "Welcome Email Sent" Individual Events

The issue is that sending out a welcome email through Composer won't automatically create a "Welcome Email Received" individual event for the recipients. This can lead to you accidentally sending out multiple welcome emails if you also run the "Send Parent Welcome Emails" in the future because that procedure will send emails to people without the event.

To get around this, you need to create "Welcome Email Received" entity events for Composer welcome email recipients either manually or in batch. 

Creating an Event Manually

You can create the "Welcome Email Received" events on a one-off basis:

  1. Navigate to the relevant person record and click on the Events tab.
  2. Click the Add Record... button.
  3. In the Student Event column, ensure that the value is "SYS: VC Welcome Email Sent".
  4. Fill out the rest of the columns as you see fit and then click Update.

Creating Events in Batch

This process is ideal for when you want to create multiple events at the same time and uses the Veracross Data Importer tool. You can read more about this process by reviewing the Entity Event Import type documentation.

Be sure that, for the entity_event_type_id column, you insert the numeric ID for the "VC Welcome Email Sent" event type. For most schools, this will be "1000", but it is worth checking the value for your school here, just in case.

You may also find the following articles useful:

How can I send a Composer email to soft-credit individuals who give through an organization?

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Unfortunately, you cannot pull in the person ID from the standard Recent Donations and Pledge queries, but you can use any soft credit record as a starting point to build a new query. 

Notes:

  • This query is for donations only. If you wish to query on pledges also, a second query specifically for pledges will be needed following the same steps below starting with the soft credit on a pledge record instead of a donation record.

  • Hint: anytime there is a detail table in a record, you can use it to "pop out" the results and view them in a query by clicking the arrow box on the far right of the embedded query (see screenshot below). 

Navigate to the Soft Credits tab on an Organization donation record and open a new query by clicking the link in the upper right corner of the detail table.

The query will default to the single donation soft credit record, so you will need to remove this filter and add the following fields applying filters as needed:

  • DONATION: Input Date
    • Filter: is on or after {Last_Week_Begin_Date}
  • DONATION: Person ID
  • DONATION: Receipt Amount
    • Include this field in case the soft credit differs from the actual gift amount
  • DONATION: Organization ID
    • Filter: is greater than 0 (this allows you to filter on the original donation indicating it came from an organization, not a person)

How do I refresh my recipient list for a Composer message using a query?

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When you launch Composer from a query result, the recipient list is "frozen" and will not be automatically updated before sending. To "refresh" the recipient list before sending the email:

  1. Run the query again and launch Composer as normal.
  2. From the Resume Draft section of the launch page, select the channel where the draft email was created and click Resume Draft to select the email to be sent using the refreshed recipient list.

Can I use the "Target Parent/Guardians" feature of Composer to email former parents?

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No — The "Target Parent/Guardians" feature in Composer only looks for relatives of current students and excludes anyone who is classified as a former parent. To target former parents and guardians:

  1. Navigate to the System homepage and run a Find Relationships query.
  2. Search for former students or alumni. 
  3. Add the Person ID for their parents.
  4. Set the related person role to filter the results to only the people who should receive the communication.

What is Composer?

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A typical "Write Content" page in Composer.

Composer is Veracross's visual email building tool that enables you to construct an aesthetically-pleasing email with many different features while organizing these emails into different channels.

To learn more about Composer, review this documentation (starting with the Overview article).

How can I move a composer template from one channel to another?

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To change the channel a particular composer template is associated with, use this query. Once in the query, adjust the channel in the "Subscription Channel" to the channel you'd like the template associated with and click Update Records

Why doesn't the hyperlink work correctly in composer?

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When a hyperlink in a Composer message doesn't work it is due to one of two reasons:

Can I put a GIF in a composer email?

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You can embed a GIF in a composer email, however, the animation effect varies depending on the recipient's email provider and application used to view the email — some may display a static image, others may display the animation, and others may block the image altogether.

The way the email providers and/or applications handle the email is not something that can be controlled by Veracross.

To add the gif, switch to the Rich Text Editor Type in the Composer message draft and paste the embed code as needed into the HTML code.

Note: when testing this functionality in Outlook and Gmail, Outlook displayed the GIF as if it were a broken image and in Gmail only a static image appeared.

Can you include a signature image in a Composer message?

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An example of a signature image for a Composer message.

Yes! To create a signature image to use in Composer, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a signature image where the signature is aligned to the left on a white background with an image width of 700px
  2.  Add a Text component to be used for the closer (or simply include that in the body of the message)
  3. Add an Images component and set the image layout to "1", insert the image, and then add the additional text below (e.g. name, title, etc.)

To learn more about constructing messages in Composer, we recommend you review our documentation articles in Learn Veracross.

What merge field can I add to Composer in order to link the users to the Select Password page?

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The following merge field can be used in Composer and will direct the recipient to the Select Password page if they have a user account:

{vc:portals_account_setup_link}

This link expires 72 hours after generation and/or if another account setup link is sent to the same person.

How can I indent text in Composer?

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There is not an "indent" feature in the WYSIWYG editor, but you can use the "tab" key on your keyboard.

Is there a file size limit when adding content to a Composer message?

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Yes, the file size is limited to 2MB or less.

Can I use a query to exclude recipients if I’m using the Included Groups feature to create my Composer recipient list?

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Composer does not allow you to mix “mediums” when creating a message so, to accomplish this you must either:

  • create a query that only includes the individuals who should receive the message
  • manually exclude recipients manually deselecting them in the recipients list


Is there a way to upload an external list of email addresses to be able to send to in Composer?

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Unfortunately, Composer does not allow you to upload a recipient list and only recipients stored in Axiom can be added as recipients via a query or using the “include groups of people” functionality.

How can I add customized pronouns to a Composer message and is it possible to capitalize the merged text?

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To include the pronoun in a Composer message, add the Pronoun Part of Speech function field to your query design and set the parameter for the display value.

To apply a setting to set the format to capital or lowercase, add the “Capitalize?” optional parameter and set the view accordingly.

Here is the list of each type of pronoun with how the pronoun is displayed:

  • Subjective: He/She/They
  • Objective: Him/Her/Them
  • Reflexive: Himself/Herself/Themself
  • Possessive Adjective: His/Her/Their
  • Possessive Pronoun: His/Hers/Theirs

If you include multiple iterations of the field, Composer displays these in order when adding the syntax by applying a numeric value to each duplicated field in order of their appearance in the query regardless if you rename the fields.

For example, if you include three iterations of the field, the syntax for the first field would be {data:pronoun_part_of_speech}, the second field would be {data:pronoun_part_of_speech_1} and so on.

If any of the Do Not flags are enabled on a record will the person still be included in a Composer message if the Included Groups option is used to select recipients instead of starting with a query?

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The Do Not flags are use for reporting purposes only and do not have any functionality tied to them with regards to filtering the record and removing them from individual group distribution lists.

If you want the Do Not flags to affect how you send Composer emails, you must launch Composer from a query and use the query to exclude these individuals from a Composer message or manually exclude them if you use the Included Groups option to select the email recipients.

If you want to exclude someone from being included in a group distribution list, you would need to either:

  • clear their Email 1 field
  • update their Preferred Communication Method to “Paper Mail” on the Communication tab of their person record