Real Magnet Integration Guide

Elections are typically announced to voters on the start date by email and then one or two reminders sent to those who have not voted before the election concludes. While the ElectionsOnline system can send the emails for fully-hosted elections, the only reporting that is available is a non-delivery report. Therefore, clients who use Real Magnet to manage email marketing campaigns may wish to also use Real Magnet for managing the email marketing campaign of their election.

What the Integration Does

The integration makes it possible for ElectionsOnline to automatically update contacts in Real Magnet as having voted, eliminating the burden of doing this manually. This is only applicable for fully hosted elections. For passed authentication or fully integrated elections, a voter roster is never loaded into ElectionsOnline, but is hosted by the client and updated once a voter votes. When running an election using either of those models, Real Magnet should read directly from your own voter database to determine who should receive reminders. (For assistance integrating Real Magnet directly with your voter database, request support from Real Magnet.)

Making ElectionsOnline and Real Magnet Work Together

No technical skills are required to set up an integration between MailChimp and ElectionsOnline, but these instructions do make the following assumptions:

  • You have access to both your ElectionsOnline and Real Magnet accounts.
  • You are comfortable performing basic tasks in Real Magnet like creating a list and a mailing campaign using Enhanced Personalization Fields.
  • You are following these steps after an election is set up in ElectionsOnline.

Special Note About Election Configuration

While the point of the integration is to use Real Magnet to send announcements and reminders, you must still include email addresses (when available) in the voter roster loaded into ElectionsOnline for two reasons:

  1. To send a confirmation to voters that their ballot was accepted.
  2. The email address is used to identify records in Real Magnet. If ElectionsOnline does not have an email address to start from, it can not identify which record in Real Magnet to update as having voted.

Because you will be using Real Magnet to send the announcement email and any reminders, make certain to instruct ElectionsOnline to not send these mailings. In other words:

  • On the election settings page seen in the image below, make certain to select No under the Email Announcement section.
  • In the Email Reminders section immediately underneath that, make certain to not select any date for reminders.

Preparing Enhanced Personalization Fields in Real Magnet

You will need to create at least one, and possibly several more, Enhanced Personalization (EP) fields in Real Magnet.

  1. Log in to Real Magnet and click Contacts in the top navigation.
  2. In the Contacts section, select Custom Fields in the left-hand navigation menu.
  3. Click the red Enhanced Fields button near the right edge of the screen.
  4. On the Enhanced Fields page, add a new field by clicking the add button to the right of Add 1 Field select list as seen the image below.
  5. A window will appear prompting for the name of the field as seen in the image. The name you provide here will also need to be provided to ElectionsOnline later and the spelling must match exactly so make a note of it.

EP field naming tip

When naming a custom field, make it descriptive of how it will be used. For example, if conducting only a single election at a time, you may be able to use something as simple as voted. However, if conducting multiple elections at once, you will need to create multiple EP fields, and each should describe the election they’re associated with. In the image above in step three, notice that there is a field for a general election named General voted, and also a field for Special Interest Group I named SIG I voted.


If having ElectionsOnline generate login data

You may be relying on ElectionsOnline to generate the usernames and passwords voters will use to access the ballot. If that is the case, and if you also want to include that login data in the emails you send to voters, then you’ll want to create two additional EP fields—one for username, the other for password. Here again, if conducting only a single election at a time, you may be able to name these fields simply username and password. But if conducting multiple elections at once, the field name will need to be more descriptive. See in the image under step three, that there are fields named General username and General password for use in a General election and two other fields (SIG I username and SIG I password) for use in an election for Special Interest Group I.


Upload Voter Data

Now that your EP fields have been created, you’re ready to add voters. This is a standard Real Magnet operation so complete step-by-step instructions will not be provided here. Just take care to remember the following:

  1. In your upload file, include a column for each of the EP fields you just created as described above.
  2. Set the value for each voted column to No. For example, in the image for step three above, there are two voted fields, General voted and SIG I voted. Each of those should initially be set to No.

Create a Mailing Campaign

Creating an email campaign is another standard Real Magnet operation, so complete step-by-step instructions for performing it are not provided here. However, to make sure emails only go to voters who have not voted follow these steps:

  1. Click Automation in the top navigation, then click Campaign Management in the left hand navigation. (If Automation does not appear for your account, you may need to contact Real Magnet to have it enabled.)
  2. Under Create Campaign, provide a name for your campaign (for example, General Election Notices) and click go.
  3. For your campaign type, select Associations and Event Promotions as seen in the image below.
  4. On this page, it is steps one and two that deserve special attention. In the image below, notice under step one, Select Campaign Members, that we are sending emails to members of a specific group. In this case, the General Election group you would have created earlier under Upload Voter Data.

    Under step two, Define Campaign Goal, we select When a recipient’s field is changed, then select General voted as the field where its value equals Yes. Remember as described under Upload Voter Data, that when the group was populated with members, we took care to set the value of the voted fields to a default value of No. Through the integration, when a voter votes, that value will be changed to Yes. In plain English, this says, “When a member of the General Election group has the value of the voted column changed from No to Yes, they are considered to have satisfied the goal and should no longer be included on any further mailings to this group.”
  5. On step three of this page (not shown on the image above), you may select which message to send and may even decide to send a different message each time to see learn which one triggers the best response from recipients.

Configuring ElectionsOnline

ElectionsOnline needs to know which field in Real Magnet to update when a voter votes. To do this:

  1. In your ElectionsOnline account, click the Integration Settings link for your election.
  2. Under the Real Magnet section, provide the name of the enhanced personalization field you created in Real Magnet to track each voter’s voting status and click Save.

ElectionsOnline needs to be permitted to access your Real Magnet account in order to update the enhanced personalization field specified above. To do this:

  1. In your ElectionsOnline account, click the Integration Settings link for your election.
  2. Provide the username and password that you use to login to your account at www.realmagnet.com and click Save. The only purpose for which this data will be used is to accommodate the integration and nothing else.