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Introducing: Record-based triggers for automation workflows

David Simpson
August 12, 2020

       The future is automated. With the latest version of Beacon automation workflows you can automatically update records when another record changes.

Beacon's workflows feature allows you to automate time consuming tasks and build your own helpful automations within Beacon.  Now out of Beta testing and released in full, you can use workflows for all sorts of handy things - and now workflows can be triggered whenever you create or update a record!

This means you can set up a workflow that will, for example, automatically create a task record whenever a new grant is added.  Or whenever a volunteer applicant passes an initial phone screening and has their status changed to 'approved', Beacon can automatically update their Person record with their approval date.

Let's take a look at how workflows work:


Each workflow has a single trigger, some filter conditions, and one or more actions to perform if the filter conditions are met.  This simple three step process allows you to easily create automations within Beacon.  You can create many automations to trigger different actions in different circumstances.

       1. Triggers

Your trigger describes the circumstances under which your workflow should run. Here we set the trigger based on a donor submitting a donation form.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 15.56.09

The on record create and on record update triggers are very similar, and allow you to run a workflow each time a record of a given type is created or updated.

Screenshot 2020-08-11 at 12.58.55

       2. Filters

Once a workflow is running you can use filters to decide whether you should run the actions for this workflow or just stop and do nothing.  For example, you can set up filters to only run the action if this donation is from the UK and the amount is over £100.

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 16.39.59

If your workflow is triggered by the creation of a record, you can apply filters to that record.  For example, you can filter based on whether a person record that has just been created is a volunteer.

       3. Actions

This is the thing that you want to do.  There are different actions available depending on the workflow's trigger.  For example, you can send an email:

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 16.44.46

You can also add an email address to a MailChimp or Dotmailer list.

With this latest release, you can now create or update records from an action:

       Create record

Create a record of any kind in your Beacon database. Often this record will relate to the record that caused the workflow to trigger (although technically it doesn't have to).

For example, we can use the create record action to create a task whenever a new volunteer is added to the database.

Screenshot 2020-08-11 at 13.20.15

       Update record

Update the record that triggered the workflow (the record that was created or updated).

This allows you to set any field on the triggering record.

Screenshot 2020-08-11 at 13.33.47


There's a lot you can do with a few simple triggers and actions.  Here are a few examples of what's possible:

       Donation acknowledgements

When a new payment is created, create a task for the fundraising coordinator to acknowledge the donation.

Optionally, you could split this by amount - so different members of the team acknowledge different value donations. (e.g. high value donations are acknowledged differently)

       Deceased supporters

When a supporter is marked as "Deceased", then create a task for the marketing manager to remove them from all mailing and invite lists.

       Volunteer onboarding

When a new volunteer is created, add them to an onboarding pipeline to get them up to speed. This could work through either:

Updating a "Volunteer stage" field on the person record
Creating a new "Volunteer application" record that relates to the person

       Fraud research

If a donor is flagged as a "Person of concern", create a task for a member of the compliance team to investigate them.

       Date tracking

Keep track of the exact date when someone became a volunteer.

When they are created or updated and have the "Type" of "Volunteer" and don't have the "Volunteer applied date" set (filters), set the date as today.


There's complete documentation about form triggers here, and about create or update triggers here.

       It's time to try out this great new charity CRM feature...

Automation workflows are live and ready to make all of your wildest automation dreams come true. Log in to build your first worklow.

This feature is only available on Beacon's Premium tier, but if you would like to use workflows on the Basic or Professional tiers then the feature can be added to your account for a fixed monthly cost.  Get in touch to find out more.

Excited about Beacon's upcoming features? Got charity CRM questions for us? Fire off an email to or click the chat button in the bottom right corner of your Beacon dashboard.

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