It's the "Salsa Weekly Highlight," your quick hit on what's what in Salsa to help get the most out of your online program. As always, you can find plenty more news, updates, and conversation throughout the week on SalsaCommons.org.
This week, we'll take a look under the Supporter tab at Smart Groups, one of Salsa's many features to help you segment your list.
What's the difference between Smart Groups and regular Groups? Smart Groups are automatically populated by Salsa, freeing you from remembering manual updates.
At 24-hour intervals, Smart Groups empty themselves and repopulate based on the results of a query you've told it to use.
Configuring a Smart Group
Smart Groups are actually normal Salsa groups. To start setting one up, you just create a Group like any other.
Once you've got a Group, you'll need to do two things to change it into a Smart Group:
- Under the specific Group's Smart Group Options tab, set it as a "Smart Group" (or, a "Greedy Smart Group" - see below)
- Still in the same tab, associate the Smart Group with a saved Query.
(Greedy smart groups are just like smart groups - except they only add supporters, never emptying themselves. For most purposes, we recommend regular, non-greedy Smart Groups.)
Smart Groups have many potential uses. A few that we've seen include:
- Assigning Salsa permissions to field or project staff. You can give Salsa logins on your own team permissions which limit their access to the headquarters and its data. Group restrictions are one element of those permissions; so, Smart Groups can be a handy way to, say, grant your North Carolina field staff access to an up-to-date list of everyone whose state is North Carolina.
- Streamlining segmentation. Smart Groups let you keep the segments created by even complicated queries right at your fingertips. Suppose your query for "super-activists" involves twelve variables, and some of your other staff need to use it but don't understand how it fits together. Attach that query to a Smart Group, and it becomes much more intuitive to target and modify.
- Sorting your groups. Salsa Groups can be sorted into folders within other Groups. But a "top-level" Group does not automatically contain the members of its constituent Groups. If this is a relationship you want to establish (for instance, a master "People Who Subscribe to Any Newsletter" Group), just make the parent Group a Smart Group which queries for any member of its child Groups.
I hope Smart Groups give you another tool to manipulate your supporter data. If you've made a creative use of Smart Groups, or have any questions about their behavior, I want to hear it! Just shoot us an email or post a comment on Salsa Commons.org.