Configure automated messages

In this Article

This article assists the main site admin with the initial and preliminary set up of Automated Messages so that users granted rights may prepare, preview, and activate the send of automated messages.


The Messages module in Finalsite now offers the additional advantage of automatically sending attendance notifications.

Write your attendance message, choose when and how often you want it to go out, and the messages will flow out to your community.

Automated Messages is in the early adopter phase as a Messages XR add-on product. Contact your Client Success Manager or email clientsuccess@finalsite.com to learn more about how to get started. 


Connect your data

Work with Finalsite’s data integration team to determine which integration method works best for you. The goal is to support the automated notification functionality in the Messages module so that your data can be connected to Finalsite. This data can then be used to send out automated attendance notifications to the specific selected campuses or locations.

Choose your data integration option

We currently support attendance data with either of these two options:

  • Datasheet upload through SFTP-In, SFTP-Pull, or FSUploader.
  • Powerschool Integration, specifically the ESB version using the ODBC version of the integration.

Finalsite's data integration team will help you create exports containing the fields and data necessary to populate the notification.

Set languages to include translation

However you pull your data in, languages will be set for the constituents or “people” you pull into your system. These people will have primary and secondary languages set in their profiles. These languages will be used to populate the translation choices in the automated messages module. Read more about translating Email, SMS, and Voice automated attendance alerts in the article, "Translate automated attendance alerts."  

Display attendance descriptions in your message

Connecting the attendance codes set during integration is a crucial piece to ensuring that this information is included in an automated message's content.

Best practice

Provide a key of your Attendance Category Codes for anyone who will be creating or editing attendance messages.

Here are the steps to how this works: 

Step 1: Enter attendance category codes

Below the message title, enter the attendance category codes as defined originally in your data integration.

  • Not set means codes have not been entered. Category codes entered need to match those defined in the integration phase.

Category codes not set.png

  • Edit means the codes have been added and can be edited, as needed.

attendance codes all set.png

Step 2: Write a description next to each code

The description that is entered into the Attendance Category Code window will display in the automated message in the spot where the merge tag %attendancedescription% is placed.

attendance category codes set.png

Be sure to write a Description for each code that makes sense in the context of the sentence in the Message Content box where the description connected to each code will auto-populate. Read more about this in our article, "Customize automated attendance alerts with merge tags."

Write your message content with merge tags

A merge tag is a placeholder or variable that represents a piece of data from a specific source, allowing you to customize your messaging and keep readers more engaged. Placing merge tags into an automated alert allows for personalized information about the student in question to be sent with all of the information in one place. 

merge tags in message content area (1).png

Grant user permissions

Global permission levels

Access the Global Messages Permissions screen by clicking on the settings gear in the top right corner of the Messages Dashboard. Find the Automated Messages column to adjust the permission level for a particular admin user group.

where to find automated messages permissions column.png

Here is a guide to help you choose which global permission level is ideal for your scenario. 

  • Not Allowed: Automated Messages will not appear in the Messages module.
  • View: Automated Messages will appear in the Messages module, and can be further defined with more granular permissions set at the Folder level. Folder organization offers the increased ability to limit your users to a folder or multiple folders. Open the More Actions menu by clicking on the three-dot menu that appears when hovering on a particular folder to open the Folder Settings.
  • Admin:  This level adds the ability to assign permission levels to other groups or constituents.
Folder level permissions

Folder level permissions in any module offer the ability to narrow down permissions in a much more granular way than global permissions allow for. In Automated Messages, access the folder level permissions by hovering over a folder until the 3-dot menu appears and then clicking on Settings.

settings for automated messages in folders.png

Open up the Permissions tab in the Folder Settings menu where you can either grant permission by individual Constituent or Group. When assigning permissions to a group through folder settings, each member of that group would then have identical permissions for any message in that particular folder. 

folder permission levels.png

Here is a guide to help you choose which folder permission level is ideal for your scenario. 

  • Admin: Users with this level of permissions have full access to the folder, including the ability to assign permissions to others. They also have the ability to move messages between folders.
  • View, Edit: Users with this level of permission can make changes to messages in the folder, as well as create new messages in that folder.
  • View: Users with this level of permission can see the messages within the folder.

Customize your simple template

Creating an automated message allows you to utilize a simple message template so that your community can be sure that this alert is coming from you. Follow the steps in our Knowledge Base article titled, "Customize your simple template" to add your branding and colors to your simple template that will be used on your automated attendance message.   

Important note

Only those with global admin level permissions in the templates column can customize the Automated Messages simple template.

Next step: create and send your automated message

Now that you have configured all of the initial setup details, you are all set to go Create and send your automated message

Before you learn how to create your automated message, understanding more about the send times will help you prepare for the timing of each send. 

Send times warnings

  • Prepare and activate before the cut-off deadline at 10:00 pm EST / 3:00 am UTC the day before the message is scheduled to send.
  • Details of a message may be edited up until 30 minutes before the scheduled send time.
  • Do NOT adjust the send time or Active toggle within the 30-minute window. This would result in the message being held until the following day.
  • Deactivate to cancel a message send but only up until 30 minutes before the scheduled send time. Doing this within the 30-minute window will not apply, and the message will send as scheduled.
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