Email to target: campaigning on devolved issues

If you have not created an email to target action before we recommend first familiarising yourself with the main email to target help article.

In the United Kingdom, powers to pass legislation and set policy on some issues are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. So if you’re campaigning on an issue such as education, health, transport or the environment, you’ll need to take this into account.

Impact Stack offers you lots of options for helping your supporters take your campaign to the right decision-makers. This might mean tailoring the message to MPs in different nations, only allowing supporters in England to contact their MP, running different actions in different countries, or maybe running an action for just one of them.

In Impact Stack, as soon as you have a UK postcode for a supporter the record will be populated with data including the UK nation, and this data can be automatically synched to your email system so you can use it to segment your supporters. More detail on this here.

In this article we explain how you can set up the correct email target dataset in Impact Stack, and how you can send your supporters to the right version of the action or inform supporters outside of your target country that the action isn’t for them. We’ve broken out the scenarios separately below.

In this article

England-only action to MPs

Asking people in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland to contact their Westminster MP about a policy issue or legislation which is specific to England undermines the credibility of your campaign. Here’s how to set up your action so that only supporters in England can contact their MP.

1. Create your email to target action and choose ‘MPs’ as your dataset. (Read the main email to target article if you get stuck)

2. Once you reach the ‘message’ step of the page build, click ‘Add exclusion’ on the grey button at the top.

3. Add the criteria for targets you would like to screen out of the action (MPs in the devolved nations) and choose what to do with people who would be matched to those targets. You can either then redirect them to another page/action or simply show them a message explaining that this action isn’t for them.

Note: you can either set up one exclusion per devolved nation or you can put them all together. Here’s how it looks:

To exclude one country at a time you set up an exclusions as shown below. This allows you to send people from different countries to different pages or show them different messages:


To exclude all countries except one
, you can do something like 'If Country name is not England'. Adapt to your specific needs.


To exclude multiple countries, you can use the 'matches' and then write – for example –  ^(Wales|England)$ . This will mean you can filter out people whose postcode is in Wales or England. Adapt as you need.| is the pipe symbol and means 'or' here.

As an example, ^(Wales|Scotland|Northern Ireland)$ would be the equivalent to 'is not England' in the context of UK countries. So in that case, you can just use 'is not' England as in the example above.

Be careful not to have a space before the ^ or after the $.

4. Then simply set your action up as normal and remember to test this message/redirect thoroughly before launch.

Devolved nation only action

1. Create a new email to target action. When you reach the ‘target’ step choose the dataset most relevant to your campaign. If you’re a UK client, you should see the below datasets, if not please contact support:


2. Click next to move to the ‘Message’ page. Because you have chosen a devolved dataset, if anyone enters a postcode from outside that country they will see the ‘No target’ message. So you should personalise this to reflect why they have no target. You can find this field at the bottom of the ‘Message’ step of page setup.


3. Then simply set your action up as normal and remember to test this message/redirect thoroughly before launch. Bear in mind that where people have only one MP, people will have multiple AMs, MSPs or MLAs. Impact Stack allows you to control whether supporters should contact them all, select one, or be able to deselect individuals they don’t want to contact. See the main email to target help article.

Making a good user experience for more involved forms

The solution above works well, but it can only come into effect after the user has submitted their postcode and the message to target is shown (or not shown). If you’re running an action that collects qualitative data from your supporters, e.g. asks them to tell you about their experience or explain their support, then they will be quite upset to spend time writing this only to learn ‘this action isn’t for you’.

To avoid this frustrating experience we recommend that the first question on your form asks their country. Then if they choose anything other than the country where you’re campaigning, you can hide all of the form fields and instead display text explaining the action isn’t for them and linking them elsewhere.

Here’s how this could work for an England-only action:

1. Set the first field on the form to a ‘select list’ field which you label ‘Country’. Note: do not use the Impact Stack ‘country’ field from the ‘Supporter data’ palette for this because it doesn’t distinguish between the nations of the UK. An alternative would be to ask a yes/no question, e.g. “Do you live in England”.


2. On this field set the options as ‘England’, ‘Wales’, ‘Scotland’, ‘Northern Ireland’. You could also add an ‘Other’ option if you expect the form to receive traffic from outside of the UK.


3. Add a markup field below this field and populate it with a warning that you will only show to people not in the relevant country, e.g. “We’re sorry but because health is a devolved issue this action is just for people living in England. However you can still support the campaign here: URL”.

Place lots of white space at the end of this field (using <p>&nbsp;</p>). The white space is to push the submit button out of sight, as it’s not yet possible to hide this. The contents of this markup field might then look like:

<p>We’re sorry but because health is a devolved issue this action is just for people living in England. However you can still support the campaign here: <a href=”URL”>URL</a></p>

4. Complete building your action as usual. Click Save, but don’t yet publish your action.

5. Visit (obviously change the bits in red), and add the below conditions to show the warning text and hide all other fields:


This is how this will look for the user

Form_2.PNG Form_3.PNG

Scenario: simultaneously running four actions, one in each of the nations

If you’re running an action in all four nations but with different targets, (e.g. England will target their MPs, Wales their AMs, Scotland their MSPs and Northern Ireland their MLAs) we suggest the following approach.

This is best for dealing with brand new people when you don’t know where they are. For example people coming from (non-geo targeted) Facebook ads or your website. But if you campaign on devolved issues you’ll ideally be segmenting your emails by UK nation and directing people straight to the right action. (Remember Impact Stack will add the UK nation to any supporter record with a postcode).

1. Build all four of your actions. (Read the email to target article for guidance if needed). Ideally you would publish them at this stage to make your workflow easier but it’s up to you.

2. Create a new petition or flexible form. (From a technology point of view it doesn’t matter which, but if you have custom templates these actions might look different, so choose the one that looks best to you.)

3. Set this up to be the landing page of your action, with relevant information, picture and call to action.

4. In the form section, ask just one question, ‘What country do you live in?’. Use the form field type ‘select list’ for this.

Note: do not use the actual ‘country’ field from the supporter data palette because this field doesn’t distinguish between the nations of the UK.


5. On this field set the options as ‘England’, ‘Wales’, ‘Scotland’, ‘Northern Ireland’.


6. Click ‘customize keys (advanced) and make sure that the keys correspond with the values (no spaces allowed). Make a note of these keys, you will need them for step 10.


7. Scroll down to the bottom of the form setup page and relabel the ‘last page submit button’ to something less final sounding, e.g. ‘Next’


8. Continue building your page, setting up the thank you emails etc. When you reach the ‘Thank You’ step of the setup process, choose ‘redirect supporters to a URL after the action’ then ‘add personalised redirect’.


9. Set up the personalised redirect as follows. For ‘Add filter’ you’ll find the country selection under ‘Submission field’. The value you put in the box on the right is the key from the field you set up in step 6. You can search in the ‘Redirect destination’ box using the name or node number of the action page you want to send people to.


10. Repeat this process for each nation until your redirect list has all four options covered. Then you can complete, test and launch your action.


Test this action for all possible countries while logged out before you go live, to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes. More about testing your email to target actions here.

You can also use this approach if you’re running an action in one or more of the devolved nations, and want to tailor the message to people in each nation eg your action is only relevant to England and Wales, but you’d like to offer information on the situation in Scotland and Northern Ireland to people in those places.

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