Opt-in questions behavior

This document gives instructions on what opt-in questions are used for, and how the data stored in them is viewed and manipulated. It also provides instruction on how to apply default settings which will manage opt-in question answers in your Engaging Networks account.

What is an opt-in question?

Opt-ins are created when editing a Form Block of any page, by clicking on the Opt-ins tab and then “Manage opt-ins”.

An opt-in question can appear on any fundraising, advocacy, data capture, event or hub page. When a constituent ticks a check box (or selects the affirmative radio option) to sign up to your organization’s email lists, they are answering Y (yes) to an opt-in question in the software. Opt-in questions can also be inserted into your email blasts as an unsubscribe link, so that constituents receiving the email can unsubscribe from future mailings (setting the opt-in to N).

The settings we are going to go over here relate to what happens when a constituent leaves the box unticked, or chooses the N option of a radio. For checkboxes, if they are already opted in, do you want them to unsubscribe if they forget to tick the box every time they take part in any action (since they can always unsubscribe directly from the bulk emails you send to them), or is it important to record their choice regardless? Depending on your own organizational procedures, it is possible to accommodate both ideas (see Manage opt-in question answers below).

Note that you can also create opt-in with confirmation questions that require the supporter to click on an email confirmation link first.

Two types of opt-in questions

There are two types of opt-in question that can be created within the software. A regular ‘opt-in’ or an ‘opt-in with confirmation’.

  1. Regular Opt In – allows your constituent to tick or untick a check box, or choose a radio option, on your pages. This inserts a value of ‘Y’ or ‘N’ into their data record, reflecting their subscription status.
  2. Opt In with Confirmation – allows for two-step opt ins in which the supporter must additionally click a link via an email confirming that they did subscribe. (If they chose not to subscribe note that they will not get a confirmation email or a thanks email). These require a few steps to begin using them – see the bottom of this page for more details.

Managing opt-in question answers

It is important to make sure the correct settings are in place before you start using opt-in questions. To access the settings, login to the software and go to Hello YOURNAME > Account settings > Account preferences.

These settings effect checkbox opt-ins only – radio opt-ins are unaffected since the supporter is unambiguously choosing a Yes or No answer.

As privacy policies related to data management might differ from one organization to another, we provide several options that you can use, depending on your requirements.

You can retain an opt-in status in the database once submitted by your constituents and only allow users to unsubscribe by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the broadcast email.

Alternatively, you could request having to opt in every time your constituents submit a new action page.

You will see the following statement on the page:

Opt-in Behaviour: If selected

A constituent record will be updated every time an answer is submitted through your donation or fundraising pages.

For example, if a constituent who has previously opted in now takes part in a new action published on your website and they tick the box again, a Y (yes) will again be saved into the database. However, if the constituent leaves the box empty, the Y value will now be replaced with a N (no) as they have opted out.

This means that your constituents will need to click to subscribe every time they take part in any action you publish (although you can pretick the opt-in question on forms if you wish, but this would mean it is always pre-ticked – ensure this follow your organization’s policies).

To choose this opt-in behavior option, you need to tick the box next to the above statement and click ‘Save’. The setting will be saved and applied from now on.

Opt-in Behaviour: If left empty

A constituent record will retain the opt-in status until they click on an unsubscribe link in a broadcast email. Constituents will not be opted out if they don’t check the box on the action page.

To choose this option you need to leave the box unchecked and click ‘Save’. The setting will be saved and applied from now on.

Opt-in Behaviour: Summary

Opt-in initial value (checkbox) Existing supporter does this on page Setting selected:
Opt-in new value
Setting left empty:
Opt-in new value
Y Ticks opt-in Y Y
Y Does not tick opt-in N Y
N Ticks opt-in Y Y
N Does not tick opt-in N N
Not yet set Ticks opt-in Y Y
Not yet set Does not tick opt-in N N

How do I view this data?

You can view a supporter’s current opt-in status via the Lookup Supporters screen. In the Manage Supporter area, you will see your opt-in questions listed and their current status:

Note that if neither N nor Y are not highlighted, then the supporter has not chosen any status for that opt-in question. You can amend the data here too.

How do I export this data?

There are two export formats that you can use, which will allow you to export multiple records. Which format you use will depend on whether you want the current value or the historic values:

  1. Multiple records/historical values – You can view the opt in status of all your users or groups of users by running a transactional data export. If you add the opt-in question to your “Build your universe” area, without any filter, then you will export every opt-in status submitted (although this does not include imported values or if a question has not been set yet). In the file you will see the Opt In status under the Campaign Status column in your export file, which will be either N or Y (or possibly P (pending) if you are using opt-in with confirmation questions). Other columns include when they set their Opt In status under Campaign Date, and the page name where it happened under Campaign Data 1. Note that for both checkbox and radio opt-ins, the Campaign type is QCB.
  2. Multiple records/current value – if instead you pull a hybrid export, then the current question status will be displayed under the right-most column of the file

I have a list of subscribers I’d like to import

You’re in luck! Engaging Networks allows you to import lists and tag your constituents as subscribed or unsubscribed. Just follow the steps below to bring your list into the software.

  1. Create a CSV spreadsheet containing at minimum a column of email addresses and a column of the opt in status (Y or N).
  2. Upload and map your constituent data values to their respective data field in the software and the opt in status to the question you’d like to store that status in.
  3. Once the constituents have been imported, their status will remain until the next time they interact with one of your pages or email blasts.

Hiding opt-in questions

The account preference setting “If an Opt In value is Y, do not display on the page render for the supporter.” affects whether the Opt-in questions are visible on the page or not when a supporter lands on a page.

If a supporter lands on an a page from a broadcast email, and they already have a ‘Y’ value for an Opt-in question included on the page, that question will not be displayed on the page. If the supporter was selected to receive a broadcast, they should already have a ‘Y’ value as the answer to the Opt-in question. The same applies for actions where supporters land as the result of an action redirect, or they land on a second action as a result of a redirect and filter action. Any question which already has a ‘Y’ value will be hidden from the supporter.

To summarise, questions already containing an ‘Y’ value will be hidden from the supporter under the following circumstances:

  • The supporter is landing on a page as a result of clicking on a link in a broadcast email. The link must have been created with the link tool, which is the standard way to create links to campaigns in the email tool.
  • The supporter is landing on a second action as part of a campaign redirect. Using , campaigns can be linked so that supporters can take part in multiple actions without having to re-enter their personal details. For more information about the various options, have a look at this article.

There are some instances where the questions will not be hidden, regardless of the setting:

  • After a redirect that has happened as a result of a ‘Dependency redirect’ operation, for example as a result of a particular value being selected in a form input.
  • If the page you have linked to is a page of type ‘Unsubscribe’. The unsubscribe page will display the current subscription status for each included Opt-in question.
  • If the supporter has clicked more than once from the broadcast email.  Supporter record details are picked up on the first click, after the first click, the opt-in will show.
Updated on March 2, 2022

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