Action Network Help & FAQs

Uploading a new email list


To upload a new file, choose the "Upload Activists" link in the "Start Organizing" menu at the top of the page. If you're a partner, you will have access to this page. Click here to contact us to discuss a partnership.

Once on the uploads page, choose the list you want to upload to using the dropdown. You can upload to your individual account's list or any group you are an administrator of.

After choosing the correct list, you will see a table of all of that list's previous uploads, their upload dates, the number of users uploaded, the number of new users uploaded, and a button to download the original file or delete activists on that list (both new and all).

Click on the "I" icon next to each upload to view more details about it, such as who uploaded it and what options they chose when uploading.

Click the "Add New Upload" button to begin the upload process.

By default, "Upload by Email" is selected from the upload type tabs at the top of the window, in which case we will match activists in your upload to people on your list by email address, automatically deduplicating and adding new activists to your list if no match is found. See here for more information.

However, you can choose "Upload by Unique ID" instead using the tabs at the top of the window to use the unique ID upload type. With this upload type instead of email you will provide the Action Network Unique ID as a column in your CSV. This upload type is useful for matching to other systems and not sharing files with the email address of your activists, for security purposes. See here for more information.

Whichever upload type you choose, Read the instructions, download the sample file if you choose, and then pick the file you want to upload. Give your upload a name -- this name will show up in our targeting system, allowing you to target all activists who were uploaded in this file or all activists who are new in this uploaded file -- and then choose any tags and other options for your upload. You can also schedule the upload to start in the future if you'd like to delay it.

When you're done, click the "Upload & Match Fields" button to upload your file. Your file will be validated. If we detect the wrong file format, we will let you know. 

Otherwise, on the next page you'll be able to match columns in your files with fields in your database.

On the left you'll see the columns in your spreadsheet. On the right you'll see fields in our database, including any custom fields you use. We attempt to match things up automatically, but you can edit your choices.

You can choose to ignore a column in your upload file by choosing the "[Ignore Column]" option on the right, at the top of the dropdown menu. Otherwise, each field on the right can be assigned to one and only one column. You must assign a column to email address if you're using the upload by email type, as it is a required field for our system. If you're using the upload by ID type, you must assign a column to unique ID.

If you have permissions to edit custom fields, you can also create custom fields on the fly if you'd like -- click the "Create New Field" button and enter in a title for your custom field for that column. When the file is uploaded, we'll upload that column's data under that new custom field.

Note: If the custom field you are uploading into has validation and the data you are uploading for that activist does not match the validation expression, the data from the upload for that activist will be skipped and not added to the activist's record.

When you're done, click "Finish Upload" to finish the process. You'll see your new upload in the list of uploads, with a live count updating as the upload process completes. This may take some time, depending on the size of your file. We'll also sent you an email notification when your upload is done. When it's finished, if you are uploading by email, all of the activists in your file have been subscribed to the list you chose. If you are uploading by unique ID, all the activists that match will have been processed.

Note: IF you're uploading by email, we automatically de-duplicate and merge activists based on email address, so don't worry if your CSV file isn't de-duplicated or if you're uploading a new file that may have emails already on your list. If you're uploading by unique ID, de-duplication and merging is done based on ID rather than email.

We also require an email address. Activists without email addresses are skipped. We validate email addresses on upload, so activists with email addresses that are obviously not email addresses are also skipped. For example, missing an @ symbol.

We also merge in new data automatically, so if an activist already on your list doesn't have a first name, but your upload file has one for them, we'll add it. If they already have a first name and the uploaded file has a different value for that activists, we will keep the data we have and ignore the data in the file unless you use the overwrite option, explained here.

We will not blank out any data we have on a matching activist even if the corresponding field is blank in your file unless you use the clear blank values option, explained here.

Finally, we respect subscriptions, so uploading an activist who are unsubscribed from your emails will not add them to the list again unless you specifically check the resubscribe option, explained here.

Note: Only upload people who have opted in to receive your emails. Subscribing people who have not opted in may get your emails marked as spam and may result in the termination of your Action Network account. Only resubscribe people who definitely want to receive your emails again.

Have more questions? Submit a request