Tutorial on Efforts

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ControlShift’s efforts feature allows organizations to manage national or international campaigns with many local targets. Unlike the landing pages feature, with the efforts feature, targets can be pre-selected by organization admins. With efforts, supporters can agree to lead campaigns targeting preselected decision makers, and will, by default, be unable to create petitions with their own targets. 

This type of campaign may be useful if your organization has a large campaign with specific targets — like petitioning each US Governor to ban fracking in his / her state or campaigning for increased factory safety standards by delivering a petition to each Apple Store in the country. The idea behind these campaigns is that it may be easier to win concessions when the petition is distributed to multiple targets — making it harder to ignore than if a single petition were just delivered to a company's headquarters. This type of campaign may also open up new ways of applying pressure and allow you to target different decision makers. For example, instead of sending a petition to the CEO of a company, you could target owners of the company's franchises.

Additionally, this feature allows the organization to recruit local leaders, who are in charge of their local campaigns. By giving power back to members at a local level, your supporters may feel more involved in the campaign than they would if they were signing one big petition that was being delivered to an office hundreds of miles away. Additionally, by recruiting a local leader, you may activate a supporter that would otherwise not take an active role.

We at ControlShift think that the efforts feature can be a very useful tool, that is sadly underused, so if you have an idea for an effort and want to talk it through with us, please send us an email (

This tutorial will walk you through the full setup of a new effort. Before beginning, you may want to draft the text of the petitions included in the effort.

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Initial Setup

To organize a national or international effort, first choose "Efforts" under "Manage" in the administrative tools. After clicking "New Effort", begin filling out the template with information for the new effort. The text entered under "Description" will appear in the effort’s hub page, which lists the individual campaigns that are being run as part of the national or international effort. If you choose to add an image, this image will also be displayed on the hub page.

NOTE: The initial title of the effort will be used in the URL of the effort's hub and landing page. This means that if you change the title of the effort after its initial creation, the URL of the effort won't be changed. We'd encourage you to finalize the title before setting up the effort, or at the least, don't use the title 'Test Effort'.

After entering the effort's initial title, description, and image. There will be a tabbed view that includes various settings for the effort. We'll go through these tabs in order.

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In the settings tab, you can choose various options for your new effort. Here are descriptions of the different settings:

Search Strategy: This setting controls what search results are shown when a user enters their location. The "Closest" option means that we'll just return the closest campaign. The "Country" strategy means that we'll show the correct country based on the search input regardless of if there's a closer campaign. So if a member searches for New York City, we'll return a United States campaign, and if a member searches for Adelaide, we'll return an Australian campaign. The "Region/State" strategy means that we'll return the correct region or state based on the search input regardless of if there's a closer campaign. So if a member searches for New York City, we'll return the New York State campaign and if a member searches for Adelaide, we'll return the South Australia campaign. 

Featured: When chosen, the effort's hub page will be featured on the homepage (in the area that normally features three petitions). The effort will be at the top of the featured campaigns list and two petitions will be displayed below.

Location in Title: When chosen, we'll use the location of the decision maker instead of the decision maker's name in the title of the petitions included in the effort. For example: if the decision maker is John Doe of London, when this option is not checked, the title of the petition will be [Do Something]: John Doe. When this setting is checked, the title of the petition will be [Do Something]: London. This option may be useful if the location of the target is more important than the name of the target. For example, if you're targeting franchise owners, the name of the franchise owner may not be as useful as the location of the store that they own.

- Hide Leadership Recruitment: By default, the efforts feature is built to recruit members to lead local campaigns. However, if your organization doesn't want to recruit local leaders, this option will hide our usual recruitment series and members will be taken directly to their closest campaign's signature page.

Prompt Edit: During the effort set up process you'll be asked to provide default text for the petitions included in the effort. If you'd like to prompt users to edit the content you've provided, choose this option. Otherwise, campaign leaders may be able to edit the default content later on (if you've left the fields unlocked), but they won't be prompted to edit the text during the initial recruitment process.

Show Map on Landing Page: By default, an effort's landing pages (one is shown in the screenshot above) has a map of campaign locations. If you don't want to display the map, check this box.

Only show petitions on map: By default, we'll include all fully launched petitions and targets on an effort's landing page. If you have a lot of targets and don't want them to crowd your map, you can choose to only display fully launched petitions on the map and exclude targets.

Allow members to enter their own decision makers: In addition to targets that are preselected by organization admins, you can also allow members to add their own targets. With this setting checked, if a member searches for their location and there aren't any results, they'll be asked if they want to create a new petition with their own target.

  • When this option is checked, two more options will be displayed: Ask for target phone number and Ask for target email. This information will provide additional decision maker information that may be useful later in the campaign.

Render petition What & Why as markdown: With this setting chosen, org admins can use markdown in petitions' what and why fields. Markdown will only be displayed when the fields are locked at the effort level.

Custom Goal of Petition Signatures: We include a signature counter on the effort's landing and hub pages. By default, we'll automatically increase the effort's signature goal as previous goals are met. (We'll use the same targets as individual petitions.) However, if you have a specific goal in mind, you can enter it here.

Distance Limit: If you want to ensure that search results don't include targets that are farther than xx kilometers away, you can enter that distance limit here.

Default Sort: This option allows you to choose how petitions are sorted on the effort's hub page. By default, the petitions will be shown based on the their created date with the most recently created petitions displayed first. You can also choose to sort petitions by their signature count with the highest signature count displayed first.

- Petition pages link back to: At the top of petitions' signature pages, we display an effort icon and the name of the effort. 

By default, clicking the icon/effort title will direct the user to the effort's hub page. However, if you'd prefer to link people back to the effort's landing page, you can choose that option here.

Landing Page Welcome Text: The text entered here will be displayed at the top of the effort's landing page right below the effort's title. This field accepts html, so you can include more styles.

What Will I Need To Do, How This Works, Training Text, and Training Sidebar Text: Are all displayed during the recruitment series. For more information on where this information is displayed, see the supporter experience information below.

- Hub banner: This is an image that is displayed on the effort's hub page. It will be displayed above the effort's title.

New petition form banner: This image will be displayed on the new campaign page if the 'member can add targets' option is enabled.

New petition facebook share: This image would be shown when the new campaign page is shared on facebook. However, this is an image that's normally used for Landing Pages not Efforts.

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Email Templates

Organization admins can also override the default emails that are sent when a member creates or signs a petition. The "thanks for creating petition email" is sent when a member either creates or agrees to lead a petition in the effort. The "thanks for signing petition" and "thank signer forward to friends" emails are both sent when a user signs a petition. The "share by email" message is displayed when a user clicks the share by email on the petition signature page.

If you click to "Reset Email Text To Default," we'll fill the text box with the global default text. This default text can be especially useful for reminding yourself of the email variables we accept in different templates.

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Petition Form

These text boxes determine the field labels and help boxes that are displayed on the new campaign and edit campaign pages. If you need to provide specific help for petition creators, you can do that here.

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Default Content

When you've finished choosing your effort's settings, you'll be asked to enter default petition content for the effort. You will not be able to begin running your effort until you've entered default content. (Note: If you're seeing a banner that says, "This effort has not yet been launched. This means it is not visible to the public and you cannot auto-generate petitions in it..." It is because you've not entered the required default petition text.)

We require you to enter a title, what, and why. This text will be used when a petition is generated.

A couple of hints to keep in mind:

  • The title text you enter will only be the first part of the title. Each petition will have a custom title based on the decision maker associated with the petition. Generally, this will take the form of "Default Title You've Entered: Decision Maker." If you choose to use the location in titles instead, petition titles will be "Default Title You've Entered: Decision Maker Location." You'll want to ensure that the default title you enter is short enough to allow the decision maker information to be appended without going over the 100 character title limit.

  • The who field is often left blank. If you want the name of the decision maker to be displayed on the petition page in the who field, then you should leave this field blank. 

  • Within an effort, we allow org admins to include markdown in petitions' what and why fields. However, markdown will ONLY be displayed if the fields are locked at the effort level. This means that when you add default content on the page, you need to click the lock icon to lock the field. When the field is locked, the field cannot be edited. If the field is unlocked, we'll display the markdown symbols, but not translate the text into markdown (e.g. we'll show *bolded text* instead of bolded text). 

  • You can also choose a default image and / or choose default category selections.


When you've finished adding default petition text, hit Save Effort and you'll be brought to the effort's admin page (which can also be found by clicking the "efforts" link from the admin homepage and then clicking the name of the effort that you want to add targets to). 

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Manage Tab

On this page's Manage tab, there are a few buttons to help you manage this effort:

  • The Landing Page button will take you to the Effort's landing page (its map page)
  • The Hub Page button will take you to the Effort's hub page (its list page)
  • The Content Settings button allows you to customize some of the buttons and page text used in the recruitment series
  • The Settings button allows sends you back to the initial setup page. From here you can edit the effort's settings.
  • The Petition Content button allows you to edit the default content for existing and new effort petitions.
  • The Delete button allows you to delete the effort. Deleting the effort will delete all associated petitions and signatures. This is final and CANNOT be undone.

Below these buttons, there are two potential warnings that are sometimes displayed. 


If there are petitions in need of moderation – edited or user-created petitions – the moderation banner will be displayed.

If there are abandoned petitions – petitions that were left in a draft/unlaunched/abandoned state for more than one hour – we'll show the abandoned petitions warning.

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Decision Makers Tab

The next tab – Decision Makers – allows you to add new targets to the effort. We'll look at this workflow soon. Once decision makers have been added to the effort, they'll be shown in a list on this page.

There are a few tags you may see on the list of decision makers: Unpublished and Create Petition.

Unpublished targets are usually targets added by members, not admins, and are not included in public search results. This means that when a member searches for the location of an unpublished target no results will be displayed.

When the Create Petition label is shown, it means that there is no petition associated with the target. By clicking the label, you can automatically generate a petition for the target.

From this Decision Maker view, you can also sort decision makers by those with and without petitions. You can also click to Export petitions, if you'd like a CSV of all targets added to the effort.  

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Petitions Tab

The Petitions tab lists all of the petitions that are included in the effort. To view an individual petition, click the petition's title. If you need to remove the leader to the petition, you can do so from here. There are also a few different available views on this page.

The Leaderboard tab sorts petitions by their number of signatures. If you'd like to embed a leaderboard on an external site, this view also includes an iframe code that can be used elsewhere.

The Export Petitions link creates a CSV of petitions. You can use this CSV to see extended information about the petitions. This can also be used to bulk update petition content.

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Signatures Tab

The signatures includes an overview of signatures added to the effort, including a chart of signature activity. From here you can also export a CSV of all effort signers.

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Adding Targets

Now that we've looked at the admin screens, let's look at running the effort. Your first step is to add targets to the effort. Remember, by default, with efforts the targets are preselected by organization admins.

To begin adding specific targets, go to the Decision Makers tab and click to Add Decision Maker. From here you can search for an existing decision maker, create a new decision maker, or add a decision maker collection.

If you have a large number of decision makers, and have information about them in CSV form, you can send us the CSV of decision makers and we can add a decision makers collection for you, which will allow you to quickly add your decision makers in bulk.

Once you've selected a target, you'll be asked if you'd like to generate a petition for the decision maker or if you'd rather not auto-generate a petition, you can leave the decision maker as a potential target. If you choose to leave the decision maker as a target, members will not be able to sign their local petition until a member agrees to be a local leader and create a petition.

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Landing (Map) Page

Once the targets have been added, the organization can direct its supporters to the effort's main page — its landing page. The "Landing Page Welcome Text" and "How This Works" are displayed on this page, as well as a map of local petitions/decision makers.

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Supporter Experience/Recruiting Leaders

From here, your supporters can enter their location to search for the closest local petition/decision maker or they can click the corresponding marker on the map.

After locating their closest campaign/decision maker, the workflow for these supporters will depend upon whether a petition has already been created for their local decision maker and whether the campaign already has a local leader. If the petition has been created and has a local leader, the supporter will be automatically directed to the petition's signature page so that they can add their signature.

If their closest campaign does not have a local leader, they'll be brought to a page asking them if they want to lead the local campaign or just sign the petition. If a petition has not been created for the local decision maker, they'll be asked to create and lead the petition.

If a leader is being recruited, the page will include the "What Will I Need To Do?" text (which is set in the effort's Settings page).

If the supporter wants to become the leader, s/he can click the "I'll Be A Leader" button. After clicking to be a local leader, s/he'll be shown the registration page. The text included on the this page is editable from the Content Settings page linked to from the effort's manage tab.

When the user clicks to "Commit As A Leader" they'll be associated with the petition and taken to the training page. The "Training Text" and "Training Sidebar Text" (included in the effort's settings page) are included here. You can use this area to provide additional information to the campaign leaders about requirements for running the local campaign.

After clicking "I'm Ready, Let's Go," the supporter is brought to their local petition's manage page, and they'll be able to run their campaign using all of the normal petition creator tools.

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Hub Page

Also accessible from the effort’s manage tab is the effort’s hub page. The hub page is the public directory for the effort and lists all of the campaigns that are part of the broader effort (and that have been moderated to good or above). At the top of this page, the effort's title, description, and image are displayed. 

As with the landing page, the hub page also allows supporters to search for the closest campaign; however, unlike with the effort’s landing page, when supporters search for their locations, the results are displayed in list form, without automatically redirecting them to the closest campaign. When a supporter clicks on a search result, they will not be shown the recruitment steps. Instead they'll be taken to the petition signature page. The effort’s hub page also provides signature statistics for the whole effort — displaying the total number of signatures from all of the campaigns.

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Effort Petitions

When a supporter views a campaign that's part of an effort, it will look like other petitions on the site with the exception of a banner at the top of the page that designates the petition as part of a larger effort. By clicking on the banner at the top of the page, the user is brought to the effort’s hub page to see the full list of campaigns.

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Editing the Effort

Editing targets

If, after the creation of the effort, you want to add or delete targets, edit the default petition text or an individual campaign, or change any of the effort’s settings, this can be done from various locations on the effort’s admin page.

To edit one of the effort's targets, go to the Decision Makers tab and click the name of the decision maker. This will take you to the decision maker's record page where you can edit their information.

To remove an existing target, go to the Decision Makers tab and click the trash icon next at the end of the row.

Note: If the decision maker is included in a decision maker collection, you won't be able to delete it individually. You'll either need to remove the whole collection – by clicking the trash icon next to the name of the collection – or you'll need to remove the decision maker from the collection. To remove a target from a collection, go to /org/target_collections, select the appropriate collection, click the name of the target, and click to Detach.

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Editing Petitions

To edit default or existing petition content, go to the Manage tab and click the Petition Content button. From this page you'll have a few options.

If you'd like to edit only the default text for the effort – preserving the text of the existing petitions and only changing the content for new petitions – click the first option. Then click the pencil icon next to the the field you want to update.

If you'd like to edit the content for existing petitions and new petitions, click the second option. Then click the pencil icon next to the the field you want to update.

If you'd like to only edit the content for existing petitions, or if you need to customize the text for each individual petition in the effort, choose the third option. From this page you can export a CSV of information about the petitions in the effort, edit the CSV, and upload the changes into the effort.

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Abandoned Petitions

If you've chosen to preload targets, but not auto-create petitions and you're prompting members to edit the petition, or if you've chosen to allow users to add their own decision makers, there may be abandoned petitions in your effort. 
Abandoned petitions are petitions that were left in a draft/unlaunched state for more than one hour. If there are abandoned petitions in your effort we'll display a warning banner on the effort's Manage tab. 
To take action on abandoned petitions, go to the Petitions tab and click the Abandoned link. On this page you'll see a list of all of the abandoned petitions included in the effort.
To get started, click Get Started. We'll then take you through a series of steps asking you what we should do with Abandoned petitions.
Petition: In this portion, decide what you want to do with the petition itself. If you launch the petition, it will become available for signature. If you click the Launch radio button, a new option will appear asking you for a moderation status. You can moderate the petition now or save it for later. If you click to delete the petition, we'll delete it from the platform and the target may be opened up for others members to lead (depending on your selections later in this module).
Leader: If you choose to delete the petition, the leader options will go away. If you decide to launch the petition, you can decide if you want to keep the initial creator as the leader. If you remove the leader but keep the petition, users will still be able to sign the petition and will have the option of becoming the petition's leader. If you choose to keep the leader, they'll be listed as the campaign admin on the newly launched petition and will have access to all of the campaign admin tools.
Decision Maker: Here you decide what we should do with the target. If the target was added by admins, or was already published, you won't have this option available. If it was added by the petition creator, you can decide if you want to publish, keep unpublished, or delete the decision maker. (You can only delete the decision maker if you also delete the petition.) Publishing the decision maker will display it in searches and keeping it unpublished will hide it from searches. If you delete the decision maker, we'll delete it altogether.
Once you've made your selections, click to process and we'll bring you to the next Abandoned petition in the list. At the top of the page we'll also show you the total number of petitions that are left to process.
At the conclusion of the effort, the signatures from each localized campaign can be downloaded separately by choosing the individual petition, clicking “manage,” and choosing “deliver petition.”

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[If you're following the New CSL Admin tutorial, we'll look at Landing Pages next.]

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