KofC Council Site Support

FAQs

Your first stop should be our listing of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Below you will find the answers to the most common questions and directions to complete most tasks on your council website.

Contact Support

If you cannot find the answer to your question in the FAQs, your next step is to open a support ticket. Your question will be assigned to a staff member who will assist you.

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View Open Tickets

You can also view your current and past support tickets to review answers or update us on your progress.

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Feature Request

Have a suggestion or feature request? Feel free to send them to us and we will give them due consideration.

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7 FAQs

  • What is the Newsletter and why should I use it?

    Your council website has a powerful newsletter builder, editor, and sending system built in!  With this system you can allow authorized members to send emails to your council membership that are professional looking, deliverable, and trackable.  You can find the newsletter system by looking for the the menu item pictured below:

    Can't I just send email from my computer instead?

    Yes, you can; however, it is not the best way to send emails to a large number of people and has several drawbacks.  Here is why you should use a professional email platform to send emails to a large number of people:

    1. Spam - Email service providers block IP addresses, and email addresses they see as sending spam.  When you send an email to large number of people you may end up being classified as a spammer.  Even worse, you may never know this because different providers will have different thresholds.  This means some members may get your emails, others will see it in their spam or junk box, and yet others will never even receive the message.  Getting yourself delisted can be extremely difficult.  Our system uses a highly sophisticated sending mechanism to ensure email deliverability.  We monitor our sending domains and IP addresses for reputation, and we block outgoing messages to email addresses which have previously failed.  Sending too many messages to an invalid email is a great way to get blocked!.
    2. Accuracy - If you send emails yourself, you must ensure you update your email list constantly.  If you are not the Grand Knight or Financial Secretary with direct access to the Supreme system, you have no way of knowing if your email list is up to date without contacting them.  By having your GK or FS regularly update the member list in your council site, you can be sure to have the latest updates (Note: there may still be some delay depending on how often your GK or FS updates the system). This way everyone is always sending to the same list.
    3. Bounces - Our system will track bounced emails and retry them or block them depending on the type of bounce.  Soft bounces can occur when connectivity is an issue or an email server is overloaded and unable to accept a message.  Our system will retry to send the message until it is successful or the maximum time elapses.  Most soft bounces will end up being successfully delivered.  Hard bounces are permanent and usually caused by an incorrect email address.  Our system will not send to an email address which has been previously marked as a hard bounce.  If you have confirmed that an email marked as hard bounce is correct please open a support ticket and we will investigate and unblock the address if appropriate.  You can see the bounce status of each member by viewing the "Lists" item under the "Newsletter" menu item.  Most importantly, your executive will see who has invalid email addresses and reach out to them to get an update.
    4. Statistics - After sending a message, you can see how many recipients successfully received and opened your message.  You can see how many links were clicked, and determine the effectiveness of your message.  Please note: these statistics are not 100% accurate.  They depend on certain things happening when someone opens an email, and it is possible to prevent this information from being collected. However, it does give you a good idea of how your messages are received.
    5. Automation - You can configure the system to send out automated Birthday Greetings and notices when you post minutes or new stories.  Several templates are included with your new council site to get you started.
    6. Design - Our system includes a full featured visual design editor which allows to send dynamic and well crafted messages to your members.  You can includes photos, text, and other elements with the ease of a drag and drop editor.  All the while your email is designed to be viewed by most modern email readers consistantly.
    7. Consistency - Perhaps the most important reason to use a professional platform is consistency.  Our system ensures that every email your membership is sent looks professional, and each is consistent. By using our prepared template, your members will quickly learn to recognize the legitimacy of emails received from the council.

    Read our other FAQ's in this category for more information about sending and managing your council email system!

  • What are campaigns and how do I send one?

    Campaigns are single email newsletters sent to your membership.  They can be an announcement about an event, a birthday greeting, notice of minutes or meetings, or anything else you require.

    You can create a one time campaign or an automated campaign called an "Autoresponder" which sends based on certain events.  Both types of campaigns are created and designed in the same way.  We will discuss how to configure an Autoresponder in another FAQ.

    To view campaigns, login to your dashboard and then:

    1. However over "Newsletter" in the Main Menu
    2. Click "All Campaigns"

    From here you can see a list of existing campaigns.  You can see the name, the status, the total emails sent, the number of opens, clicks, and bounces.  You can also use the options on the screen to filter the list.

    If this is a new council site, you will probably only see a few campaigns.  They will be titled something like "New Council Website [Template]" or "Basic Message [Template]".  The New Council Website template is a quick way to let your members know about your new site.  The Basic Message template is an easy way to send simple messages.  You can duplicate the message and just edit the content.  '[Template]' is used to denote templates designed by Grassroots Hosting.  You can find more in the Autoresponders area.  From time to time we may publish new templates to your site.  They will never send unless you turn them on.  You can delete them if you like, but will have to request our assistance to get them back.  To use a template you will need to open it and save it once.  Then you can send it, or duplicate it to modify and reuse.

    You can create a new campaign by clicking "New Campaign".  On this page you can design your message, determine when and to who to deliver it, and save/send it.  You can also make some modifications to the basic template if you wish.

    Here are the steps to send a new campaign:

    1. Enter a Campaign Title in the box at the top of the screen.  This is for your reference and will be not be sent to your members.
    2. In the detail box:

      1. Enter your email subject line
      2. Enter a Preheader.  This is a short one sentence eye catcher that is often displayed just beneath the subject line in modern mail readers.
      3. Enter the name you would like to show the message coming from.  This will default to your council name.
      4. Enter the email address you would like people to be able to reply to.  It will default to your council's main email address, but you can change it to your own.
        Note: you can click the small blue circular arrows beside the From Name and Reply-to Email to reset them to their defaults.
    3. Go to the Template box:

      1. This is where you design your message.  It will start with the basic template which can only be partially edited.
      2. In the photo above you will see the following areas:
        1. This contains several icons which allow you to undo, redo, remove all added modules (see below), view the raw html code (advanced), write the message in plain text (not required), and preview your message. On the far right you will find buttons for saving and switching templates.  We suggest you leave these be.
        2. This area is the main editing area.  It display your message as it stands.  You can select items to edit or delete items.
        3. This area has prepared layouts you can add to your message called modules.  You can click one to add it to the bottom of the message, or drag and drop them to where you want them.  You can scroll up and down to see more!
      3. You will see several areas that look something like this {subject}, or {address}. These are called Tags.  Tags are special placeholders that will be replaced with text when your message is sent.  Please see the FAQ on tags for a list.  As an example, if you used {firstname}, each members first name will be inserted when they are sent their message.  To see what they look like click the preview button at the top of the Template box.
      4. Start by clicking a module on the right.  You will see it added to your message.  In the main area move your mouse over the image and the text.  You will see them highlighted.  If you click on one, you will be able to edit it.  Click on a text area are you will see something like this:

        You will see a toolbar appear with buttons for text editing and formatting.  Note the button with two curly braces "{}".  This button will show you list of all Tags available to be added.  You can click on a tag and it will be added to your message where your cursor is.
      5. When you are done click Save.
      6. You can also edit an image by clicking on it:

        From here you can select an existing image, enter the URL of an image, or access the Media Manager to upload new images.  You can set a link to go to when the image is clicked.  When you are done click save.
      7. When you move your mouse over a module a set of buttons will appear at the top right of the module:

        These buttons allow access to advanced functions.

        1. The first button looks like a magic wand and will automatically design the module to show a news item, minutes, award etc.  If you open it and select a post, the post will be placed in your newsletter.  You can then modify it if you wish.  You can also have it dynamically display previous posts; however, this is a very advanced feature.  We will write about it in the future FAQ.
        2. The next button lets you duplicate the module.
        3. The fourth button will show you the raw html used to create the module.  Warning this is an advanced feature and you should be extremely careful using it.
        4. Finally, you can delete the module from your message.
      8. You can click and drag near the top of the module to move it up or down in message.
    4. Next look at the Receivers box:

      Use this box to set who to send your message to.  You will most often use the Council Membership option to send it to all members.  You can also click the "only if" box to further limit your message.  For example you could require that a members degree is equal or greater than 3 to only send a message to 3rd and 4th degree members.
    5. Now go to the Delivery box:

      This box is used to control when your message is sent.  This is where regular and autoresponder campaigns differ.  Please pay attention to the time.  The emails will be sent based the Server time zone which is Pacific time.  If you need to send your message at a particular time please adjust accordingly.  Please note, the option for using subscribers timezone does not work at this time, as we have no way of determine the correct timezones programmatically.
      When you are ready to send your message, set the delivery date and time, and click the "send this campaign" box.
      You can enter an email address and send yourself a test message.  This is important to ensure it looks correct.
    6. There are two other boxes  available on this screen.  They may not be visible by default.  You can click "Screen Options" near the top right of the screen to turn boxes off and on.
      1. Options - This box is used to make modifications to the template.  Mostly colours.  These will only apply to the current message.  If you wish to save the changes click "save this schema" and you will see it added under the "Colors Schemas" area for future use.
      2. Attachment - If you would like to directly attach a file to your message you can do so here.  However, please remember attachments increase the chance of having deliverability issues.  It is better to upload the file to your media library and then put a link to it in your message.
    7. Your message is now ready to send!  Just go to the "Save" box and click save or send.  Alternately, you can click "Save as draft" if you are not ready.
    8. After your message is sent you will see a screen telling you about the message.
    9. Back on the All Campaigns page you can see the status of your message.  If you hover over the status you can pause, resume, and stop/finish your campaign.

    Important:  Your message will be scheduled to send at the time specified.  At that time it will be queued with messages from other councils and sent in the order they are queued.  As a result you may see a delay of up to 10 minutes before your messages start to send after your scheduled time.  Additionally, the system sends messages in small batches and it may take a few minutes to send the message to all your members.

  • How do I use Autoresponders?

    Autoresponders let you send emails automatically when certain criteria are met.  This could be as simple as every month on the 5th at 7:00 pm.  It can also be more complicated, such as every time a new set of meeting minutes are published, or on a member's birthday.

    To create an autoresponder follow the instructions in the "What are campaigns and how do I send one?" FAQ to create and design your message.  Then:

    1. In the Delivery Box:
      1. Change to the "Auto Responder" tab at the top.
      2. Check the "send this auto responder" box.
      3. Set the sending delay.  For example, you can set it to send 15 minutes after a post has been made.  This gives you time to cancel the message or correct the post before the notice is sent.
      4. Select the type of autoresponder.  The most common are:
        • "at a specific time" - set to send every day, week, or month on a regular schedule.  These are good for meeting reminders.
        • "something has been published" - sends after a specific item has been published.  It could be an event, and award, or meeting minutes.  Please note, this requires more advanced message design to ensure proper information is sent about the post/event/minutes etc.  If you have an idea for this type of message please open a support ticket and we will consider designing a template.
        • "a specific user time" - Currently, this is the member's birthday.
      5. Complete the rest of form to set your autoresponder.
      6. Save/Send your message as normal.  The next time the conditions specified are met, a new campaign will be created in your "All Campaigns" list and scheduled for transmission.

    Important Notes About AutoResponders

    From the "Autoresponders" page you can see a list of autoresponders and their status.  However, this is the list of parent newsletters.  Depending on the type of autoresponder one of the following will happen:

    • A new regular campaign will be created and all statistics about the individual message will be found there.(specific time, and something being published types)
    • A record of individual emails will be saved in the main autoresponder entry (Specific User time-Birthday emails).

    To edit an existing autoresponder, hover over the autoresponder and click edit.

    To see the statistics of an autoresponder, hover over the autoresponder and click Statistics.  These statistics will be for every campaign created and sent.

  • What are Tags?

    Tags are placeholders in your campaigns and are an essential part of Newsletters. They always get replaced with the desired content when:

    • the campaigns is prepared to send
    • you preview the campaign or send a test email
    • you visit the webversion of a campaign

     

    You can set them anywhere in your newsletter template with the format {tagname}.

    You can set alternative content with {tagname|alternative content} which will be used if there is no value for that tag.  For example, you could use {fullname|Brother Knight}and "Brother Knight" would be display in the unlikely case that a member has no name on file. All unused tags will get removed in the final message.

    There are many tags which are available.  Here is a list of the most common and useful tags:

    Tag Description
    {subject} The subject of the campaign
    {preheader} The preheader text of the campaign
    {email} The subscribers email - Clicking on it will do nothing.
    {emailaddress} The subscribers email - Clicking on it will create a new email to the address.
    {firstname} The first name of the subscriber
    {lastname} The last name of the subscriber
    {fullname} The full name of the subscriber
    {year} The current year
    {month} The current month
    {day} The current day
    {councilnum} Your KofC Council number
    {council name} Your KofC Council Name
    {company} Your full council name - eg: Knights of Columbus Demo Council #0001
    {address} Your council’s address as displayed on the bottom of your site.
    {homepage} A link to your council site homepage.
    {minutes1}, {minutes2}, {minutes3} A link to your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd most recently published minutes. This link will go directly to the PDF download file. These are used in the Monthly Minutes Template.

    Dynamic Tags (Advanced Feature!!)

    A dynamic tag is wrapped in brackets like the other tags and start with the post type followed by an underscore and the content to display. After a colon can be a negative integer like -3which represents the third latest entry of the selected post type.

    You can also use absolute values like 23 to use the content from the post with the ID 23
    RELATIVE TAG AND ABSOLUTE TAG EXPLAINED

    SOME EXAMPLES:
    • {post_title:-1} ➨ displays the latest post title
    • {page_title:-4} ➨ displays the fourth latest page title
    • {post_image:-1} ➨ displays the feature image of the latest posts (used in the URL field of the editbar)
    • {post_image:-4|23} ➨ displays the feature image of the fourth latest posts. Uses the image with ID 23 if the post doesn’t have a feature image (used in the URL field of the editbar)
    • {post_content:-1} ➨ displays the latest posts content
    • {post_excerpt:-1} ➨ displays the latest posts excerpt or content if no excerpt is defined
    • {post_date:-1} ➨ displays the latest posts date
    • {post_title:23} ➨ displays the post title of post ID 23
    • {post_link:15} ➨ displays the permalink of post ID 15

     

    You change "post" depending on what type of item you want to link to.

    • post_ ➨ News Posts
    • gr_memoriam_ ➨ Memorials
    • gr_awards_ ➨ Awards
    • gr_minutes_ ➨ Meeting Minutes
    • event_ ➨ Events

    Administrative Tags

    The following tags are used to format the main email template and contain administrative data:
    
    {can-spam} - A statement advising that the recipient received the message because they are a member of your council.
    {membershipstatement} - States who the email was sent to and their membership number.  This lets the member verify that the email is legitimate.
    {copyright} - A general copyright statement in the format of "© {year} {councilname}, All rights reserved"
    

     

    If you think of another useful tag please open a support ticket and we will look at adding it.

  • What are subscribers and lists?

    Under the Newsletters menu item you will find "Subscribers" and "Lists".

    Subscribers

    This is a list of all members with email addresses.  It is automatically created based on your membership file from Supreme.  You can find the following important information about each member's subscription:

    • Name, email address and some membership information.
    • Which lists they are subscribed to.
    • How many emails have been sent to them.
    • Status - Subscribed or Hardbounced.
    • When they were added to the system.

     

    This is a good place to find out which members have invalid email addresses and follow up with them.  Just click the "Hardbounced" link above the "Bulk Actions" drop down and you can see all the members with problematic email addresses.

    You can click on a member name to view more details.  Note: You can not edit member details.  These will be overwritten/updated the next time a Supreme membership file is uploaded.  You can add or remove custom lists from a member by clicking on the lists section.  You can not set the Council Membership or Executive Officers lists as those are managed automatically (See below).

    At the bottom of a subscriber page you can see the member's message history, including the reason for any bounces.  The codes and message for bounces vary depending on the recipient email server.

    Lists

    Lists are used to group members into specific mailings.  Your council site has two lists by default:

    1. Council Membership - This contains all members from the last Supreme membership file that was uploaded who have an email address.
    2. Executive Officers - This contains all members you have designated as officers under the "Council Info" section and have an email address.

     

    From the main Lists page you can see the lists, a description, the number of subscribers, and when they were last updated.

    You can not edit or delete the two default lists.  You can add your own lists for local uses such as:

    • Committees
    • Program Groups
    • Task Forces

     

    To add/remove subscribers to/from a list:

    1. Go to the subscribers screen.
    2. Click the check box beside the members you want to add/remove.
    3. Click the "Bulk Actions" box at the top of list and select the List you would like to add/remove the members from. Note: only custom lists you create will show here.
    4. Click "Apply"

     

    Dealing with Hardbounced Members

    A member who is marked as hard bounce will not receive any further emails.  Continuing to send mass messages to invalid emails creates negative feedback on the sending mail server and could result in it being blocked.  Instead you should contact the member and get their correct email address.  Have your Grand Knight or Financial Secretary update the Supreme system, and upload the Supreme file to this site.  When a new email address is detected for a hardbounce member, their status will be reset to subscribed.  If you have verified that an email address marked as hardbounce is correct, please open a support ticket, so we can investigate.  This is extremely rare, but it is possible given the non-uniformity of how some mail providers classify undeliverable messages.

  • What does [Template] mean?

    In your Campaigns and Autoresponders list you may see a few items you did not create.  They will have "[Template]" at the end of their name.  These are templates designed by Grassroots Hosting to help you get started with the Newsletters module.

    Unlike contact forms, these templates will not be updated or modified by us on your site (unless you request it!).  You can modify, edit, and use them as you wish.  By default all templates are set not to send.  You must open them and set the appropriate options in the "Delivery" box and save them.  That is all that is required.  However, you can personalize the text, subject lines, and sending parameters if you wish.

    IMPORTANT: It may not be possible to easily revert back to the default template.  We recommend duplicating and renaming any templates you wish to use.  Then if something goes wrong down the road, you can always revert back to the original code!  Before duplicating, you must open the message and save it once.

    Currently the following Templates are provided with plans for more in the future:

    • Basic Message - Modify for sending basic text messages, then duplicate it each time you need to send a quick message.
    • New Minutes Published
    • Happy Birthday Greetings
    • New Council Website - Let your members know about their new website, the members' area, and online dues payments. NB: please remove any portions that do not apply to your council.  For example, you have decided not to collect dues payments or event fees online, you will want to edit those sections before sending!

    If you have an idea for an email that you think would benefit other councils please open support ticket and we will investigate adding it to the list.

    You may notice over time, that new "templates" appear in your account.  As we create new templates we will add them to all sites.  This will not affect any existing newsletter campaigns and they will not be active until you modify them.

  • Activate "Happy Birthday" or New Minutes emails

    Your council website comes with email templates to send your members birthday greetings and to notify your members when new minutes are published to your council website.

    By default, these templates are disabled.  You must activate them before they will send.

    To activate:

    1. Log into your dashboard.
    2. Move your mouse of the "Newsletter" menu item and click on "Autoresponder"
    3. Click the Title of the campaign you would like to activate.
    4. In the Delivery box on the right, check the “send this auto responder” box.
    5. Click the orange “update” button.

    For the birthday email, the system will check once each day for birthdays and send out the greeting.

    For new minutes, an email with links to your last three minutes will be sent to your members about 15 minutes after you publish new minutes.  This gives you time to cancel the send if you prefer.