Virtuous Automation is at the heart of Virtuous Marketing. By successfully using automated workflows, you can reach more of your givers, with more personalized touches, without having to add more tasks to your plate.

Before diving right in and creating a new workflow, it's important to take a moment to understand the structure of Automation and workflows in Virtuous.

What is a Workflow?

Virtuous Automation is made up of workflows. A workflow, at its most basic, is a script, or recipe, of steps and actions for Virtuous to perform automatically (as the name implies). 

Workflows may be Contact-based or Individual-based (never both!). Each workflow contains one or more steps, each of which is tied to a query. For Contact workflows, steps are tied to Contact queries, and for Individual workflows, only Individual queries may be used. Each query is used to determine who belongs in a particular step. If a record matches the query criteria and is enrolled in a step, then one or more actions can begin to take place. These Actions include things like sending emails, creating Tasks for users, and even updating Tags and Custom Field values on records.

These workflows are designed to run once per day, every day, in the early morning. So, each day, Virtuous will run each query associated with a workflow step to determine which records meet the criteria. Records that match will be enrolled in a workflow (or, in many cases, continue to be enrolled in a workflow). Those that no longer meet the query criteria will be unenrolled.

Sample Workflow

To illustrate this process, let's look at an example.

Here's a sample workflow. This particular workflow has four steps, which you can see laid out in four columns from left to right. Let's take a closer look at the first step.

This step is named the "Nondonors" step. Below the name, you can see that this step is connected to a query named "DLC - Nondonors." This is a very basic Contact query that simply looks for all Contacts who have never given a single Gift.

So, just for funsies, let's say that someone who has never donated, and isn't even in your database — heck, let's call him "Alfred" —, visits your website and fills out a Lead Form. The next day, you'll see them in your Gift & Contact Import bundle and create a new Contact record for them. According to the workflow step above, the next morning, Alfred will be enrolled in this workflow step, because he matches the query criteria. Alfred will be tagged as a Nondonor and then he'll get the first email in the sequence.

The system will wait for three days, and then assign a task to a team member to give Alfred a call, thank him for letting us know about his interest, and welcome him to your organization. Three days later, Alfred will get the next email, and those emails will continue on, with alternating delays in between.

But what happens next?

Well, let's say that after getting the third email in the sequence above, Alfred decides that he'd like to donate. So, he clicks on the donation button in the email and gives a Gift. The next morning, you'll import that Gift when you process your daily Gift import. And the next time this workflow runs, Alfred won't match the Nondonor query. So, Alfred won't receive emails 4 or 5. 

In some workflows, this might be the end of the line. But our workflow has multiple steps. And now that he's made a donation, Alfred matches the query for the next step in the sequence.

The query "DLC - First-time donor" is looking for all Contacts who have made just one Gift, which Alfred has. So, Virtuous will remove the Nondonor tag from his Contact record, add the First-time Donor tag instead, create a task for a team member to send him a thank-you card, and he'll receive a thank-you email. All of these actions will occur on the same day, and then, after waiting for five days, Alfred will get another email, making sure we keep him engaged.

This is just one example of what you can build with Virtuous Automation. Now that you understand how workflows operate, it's time to get started building your own.

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