One of the most useful PowerMail features is Replacement Variables. Replacement variables mark spots in your email message where a piece of data specific to each recipient is merged into the message. By far the most commonly used replacement variable is first name. It and the other replacement variables allow you to personalize the message with information relevant to each recipient.
Adding Replacement Variables to Your Message in the Drag & Drop HTML Editor
To add a replacement variable to a message in the Drag & Drop Editor, click into a Text content area and position the cursor at the point where you want the personalized data to display. Click Merge Tags on the menu bar and then click on the name of the data element you want to merge in. A Variable Marker for that data element is added to your message.
Adding Replacement Variables to Your Message in the HTML Editor
To add a replacement variable to a message in the HTML Editor, position the cursor at the point where you want the personalized data to display. Click the Merge Tags drop down on the menu bar and then click on the name of the data element you want to merge in. A Variable Marker for that data element is added to your message.
In both editors you can also type in the Variable Marker manually instead of using the drop down, but using the drop down is much easier than remembering all the Variable Markers. The Replacement Variables and their Variable Markers are listed in the table below.
List of Replacement Variables
Unless otherwise noted, a blank will be used in place of the replacement variable, if there is no data value on file for that variable in a recipient's record.
|Replacement Variable||Variable Marker||Notes|
|First Name||[fname]||This is by far the most commonly used replacement variable. Uses Friend if there's no first name in the recipient's record.|
|Title||[title]||Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc.|
|Suffix||[suffix]||Sr., Jr., III, Esq., etc.|
|First name of 2nd person||[fname2]||Uses Friend if there's no second first name in the recipient's record.|
|Middle initial of 2nd person||[middleinitial2]|
|Last name of 2nd person||[lname2]|
|Title of 2nd person||[title2]||Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc.|
|Suffix of 2nd person
||Sr., Jr., III, Esq., etc.|
|Work title||[worktitle]||CEO, Treasurer, Accountant, etc.|
|Address line 1||[addr]|
|Address line 2
|City or "your city" if blank||[your_city]||Uses your city if there's no city in the recipient's record. This is for sentences such as, "Local tax information for [your_city] can be obtained at the Government Center."|
|County or "your" if blank||[your_county]||Uses your if there's no county in the recipient's record. The is for sentences such as, "Go to the Government Center in [your_county] County."|
||Federal congressional district.|
|State upper (e.g., State Senate)||[state_upper]||District number of State upper legislative chamber or unicameral chamber.|
|State lower (e.g., State House)||[state_lower]||District number of State lower legislative chamber. Not applicable for unicameral legislatures.|
|Email address||[email]||E.g., "This message was sent to [email] because..."|
|Salutation 1||[salutation1]||If Salutation 1 is blank, first name is used. If that's also blank, Friend is used.|
||If Salutation 2 is blank, the second first name is used. If that's also blank, Salutation 1 is used. If that's also blank, first name is used. If that's also blank, Friend is used.|
|Record ID#||[recordid]||This is the ID# displayed on the recipient's Contact History page.|
|Password (Use with caution!)
||Your organization may use passwords so that your contacts can log into a Databank provided custom portal. Since emails can be forwarded and are not always transmitted securely, think carefully before including recipient passwords in your message.|
|Largest contribution amount||[largest]|
|Date of largest contribution
|Most recent contribution amount||[most_recent_amt]|
|Most recent contribution date
|Total amount of all contributions||[totalgift]|
|Total number of contributions
|Most recent pledge date||[recent_pledge_date]||See Note 1.|
|Most recent pledge amount
||See Note 1.|
|Most recent pledge recurring amount||[recent_pledge_payment_amount]||See Note 1. The monthly/weekly/yearly amount payable on the recipient's most recent pledge.|
|Most recent pledge total paid
||See Note 1.|
|Most recent pledge balance due||[recent_pledge_balance_due]||See Note 1.|
|Most recent pledge last payment date
||See Note 1.|
|Most recent pledge last payment amount||[recent_pledge_last_payment_amount]||See Note 1.|
|Most recent pledge payment frequency
||See Note 1. Monthly, Quarterly, Annually.|
||See Note 1. All first names, separated by and. E.g., Mike and Mary, or Mike and Mary and Jennifer and David.|
See Note 1. Each name displays on its own line and includes title and suffix, if available. E.g.,
Mike D Anderson
Mike D Anderson
See Note 1. The address block includes the same names, in the same format, as the Formal Salutation, followed by the street address.
|Address Block with Company||[address_company_block]||
See Note 1. This is the same as the address block, except the company name, if present, is between the name(s) and the street address.
See Note 1. See Note 2.
Note 1: This variable is sensitive to the current contact grouping. If your organization uses contact groupings, such as Households, the PowerMail Publish page will prompt you to select a Contact Grouping when this replacement variable is used in your message. If you choose a grouping other than Contact, the value will be determined after looking at all contacts in the group. For example, if a Household contact grouping is selected, then the names, addresses, pledges, and contributions from all members of the household will be examined to arrive at the data to display.
Note 2: The gift block variable generates a table of contributions, with columns for the donation date, amount, and deductible amount. Gift blocks are suitable for year end giving summaries to help donors with their tax deductions. To generate an appropriate list of contributions, if a PowerMail message includes a gift block, the PowerMail Publish page will prompt you for the date range of contributions to include in the list. You'll also be able to filter the contribution list by campaign type.
Sample Gift Block:
Replacement Variables for Custom Fields
Your Databank includes some custom fields in the contact record, which can be used for your organization's specific needs. These fields have different names for different clients, so they're not listed in the table above. These fields are included in the Merge Fields drop down for the Drag & Drop editor, but not for the HTML Editor. However, in either editor you can type in their Variable Markers manually:
[user1], [user2], [user3], [user4], [user5]
[flag1], [flag2], [flag3], [flag4], [flag5]
[date1], [date2], [monthname_date1], [monthname_date2]
[amt1], [amt2] (amounts are rounded to 2 decimal places)
Replacement Variables in URLs
You may choose to skip reading this section, because it should be very, very rare that you need to use a replacement variable in a URL.
When you do need to have a URL that includes replacement data, the replacement data will need special encoding to ensure the URL works. To accommodate this, all replacement variable markers can be prefixed by url_ to return the data in a format suitable for inclusion in a URL.
URL versions of replacement variables are not found on the drop down, but their Variable Markers can be typed in manually. In fact, the easiest way to include a URL Variable Marker is to choose the field from the Merge Fields drop down, and then edit the variable marker.
E.g., after selecting First Name from the drop down, the variable marker [fname] will mark the spot where the first name should go. Simply change that to [url_fname] to get a URL-safe version of the first name. Suppose a recipient's first name is Mary Ann. [fname] would be replaced by Mary Ann, as expected, but [url_fname] would be replaced by Mary%20Ann, because spaces aren't allowed in URLs.
As another example, suppose you want to construct a MapQuest URL so that recipients can click a link to see their location on MapQuest. (Why you'd want to do this is a whole other question!) You could do this in PowerMail with:
Each %20 represents a space. For a recipient with address 430 10th Ave, New York, NY 10001, this would result in the following personalized link when the recipient opens their email: