Building a list of recipients from a CSV file

Activity Messenger makes it easy to import recipients from a CSV file. For example to import contacts from your previous system (Mailchimp or Constant Contact). You can even import camp or class registrations from another system. Activity (class) name and date will be available for filtering.

CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. It is a text format often used with tabular data and is supported by all major applications like Excel. If you are importing thousands of contacts or participants, we suggest you upload the file.

To build your own CSV, you can use this sample CSV file.

Consider each Upload CSV list to be a unique customer database. You can create different lists for different purposes (i.e. Winter session participants vs Summer session participants).

To get started, click on the Lists menu and choose Create a new list. Give it a name and choose Upload a CSV file. You will then land on the Upload list page.

The Upload list page contains the list of recipients. You can search by name, email address or mobile phone number. If you imported extra columns (activity name, date or custom value), extra filters will be available.

If you imported children, they will be grouped by family under the parent. This convenience is built into Activity Messenger to prevent sending two emails to the same family.

# Upload a CSV file

Click on Import to upload a CSV file. Activity Messenger will let you choose the columns to import. The minimum column to import is the email address. It is recommended that you also import the name and mobile phone numbers. The mobile column will allow you to send text messages to those recipients as well as emails.

Click Save to import recipients. Activity Messenger will add them to the list of recipients.

# Updating multiple recipients

To update contact information of recipients, click on Import and upload a file again. Activity Messenger uses the email address and the mobile phone number as the keys. Existing recipients will be updated. New recipients will be added. Recipients not in the newly uploaded file will remain.

# Replacing all recipients

To replace the entire list of recipients, click on Import and check the Replace option. Activity Messenger will replace all recipients. Activity Messenger uses the email address and the mobile phone number as the keys. Existing recipients will be updated. Recipients not in the newly uploaded file will be removed. New recipients will be added.

# Manually adding a recipient

If you want to add just one person, click on the button. A dialog will allow you to manually type in their name, email address and mobile phone number. Only the email address is required.

You can add extra fields as well. Click to show them. You will be able to add children, activity and custom values.

# Update a recipient

To update a recipient, simply click on a row. You will be able to change their information.

# Removing a recipient

To remove a recipient, click on the button.

# Importing registration information

Your CSV file can contain columns for registration information. Support columns are: child name, child gender, child date of birth, activity name, activity start date and activity start time. Activity Messenger will attempt to automatically detect those columns. Alternatively you can specify the names of those columns to import.

All imported columns become available as placeholders in emails and SMS you send.

Activity Messenger will detect siblings of a same family by looking at the email and child name columns. In such a case two rows with the same email and different children would exist. Activity Messenger will only import one row yet include both children. You can then use the "Children names" placeholder in email or SMS messages.

# Columns

The first row of your CSV file must be the column header. Each column header should be separated by a comma. Activity Messenger will import these columns: name, mobile, email, child name, child gender, child date of birth, activity name, activity start date, activity start time and custom. Other columns may be specified but will be ignored.

Columns are all optional. You should at least have either mobile or email. Column name is useful for you to identify who the person is.

Note that you may use a mix of upper or lower case. For example "name", "Name" or "NAME" are equivalent.

# Rows

Subsequent rows are considered to be recipients. There should only be one person per row. Values should also respect the column order you have specified in the column header. If you are missing a value, simply put in a space or no value at all.

# Parsing phone numbers and email addresses

Activity Messenger will parse emails and phone numbers removing white spaces and formatting phone numbers. Activity Messenger will also validate emails and phone numbers. Invalid emails or phone numbers will be highlighted in orange. When neither a valid phone number or a valid email is found, the entire row will be marked in red. Activity Messenger will not import invalid rows.

# Sending a message

From here, you can click on the New Message button to send an SMS and/or email to the list of recipients you have imported.

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