The purpose of the Communications feature is to send pertinent team information to your membership as a whole or to individual groups within the team (i.e., Athlete Age Groups, Roles, Athlete Roster Groups).
» Note: This feature is not intended to facilitate back-and-forth communication and does not support copy/paste of individual email addresses into the “To” field. Communication is based on parent or athlete accounts affiliated with your team each season. For instructions on creating accounts, ➞ See Managing Your People/Roster.
Covered in this Article:
- How-To Video: Communication Center (1.5min)
- Accessing the Communications Center
- Permissions Required to Send an Email or Alert
- The Purpose of a Team Alert
- Steps to Send an Email or Alert
- Sender Display and Team Email Tip
- Reaching Specific Groups of People
- Important Delivery Details
- Sending Group Emails Through Reports and Meets
- Trouble-shooting Communication Issues
How-To Video: Communications Center (1.5min)
➞ See our ▶️ Training Videos - Communication article for more detailed training videos.
Accessing the Communications Center
Emails or Alerts are managed from the Communications tab in the Manage Team admin console.
Permissions Required to Send an Email or Alert
Members with full Site Admin access, and members assigned to a Role with Manage Communications permissions, can choose between sending an Email or sending an Alert (succinct and timely information you need to share with the team).
➧ Site Admin:
For instructions on creating Admins ➞ See our Adding New Admins Help Center article.
➧ Role Permissions: (designated on each Role)
For instructions on Roles ➞ See our Defining Roles Help Center article.
The Purpose of a Team Alert
The purpose of using the Alert feature is to quickly broadcast a short urgent message via the SwimTopia Mobile App (i.e. Practice canceled due to weather).
Sending an Alert triggers a push notification to team members who have downloaded the SwimTopia mobile app AND enabled notifications within their phone settings, removing the need for external texting apps. ➞ See our Community Post to learn about more benefits of using our Alert feature.
What about members who don't have the app downloaded? Team members who don’t have the app (or notifications enabled) will receive the alert as an email instead of a push notification. The communications alerts feature means you won’t need a separate text or SMS message service.
» Note: Alerts cannot contain styled text or attachments and are limited to 160 characters. Every message must have a subject (which will appear on phones as a bolded line of text) and a body.
Steps to Send an Email or Alert
➧ Step 1) Choose to Compose an Email or Alert
Click +Compose button and determine whether you want to send an Email or an Alert.
➧ Step 2) Determine Your Audience
In the To field, groups are labeled based on type, including (Age Group), (Role), (Roster Group), and (Group). Start typing the name of any user or group and select the matching user or group to receive the email or alert. (click Expand groups to display each individual user, or to remove any from your list)
» Tip: When typing in a group name on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad) you may have to try typing in the first few letters of the group or recipient name and then backspace a few letters to be able to select.
➧ Optional Selections
Also publish as news post: will create a news post of your message along with the communication sent out that uses the subject as the title and the message as the content of the post. Attachments will not be included on the news post. (News posts are managed under Website > Posts, ➞ See the News Posts article for more details.)
Send me a copy: Will send a copy of the message to the account being used to send the message.
Allow recipients to see each other: divides the recipients into groups of approximately 50 and sends the messages out in batches. Delivery to every member will take longer when sending in batch, so give it time (hours to be safe) before submitting a support ticket thinking something went wrong. Since these messages are sent in batches of 50, not everyone will be able to see every other recipient, only those within their group of recipients.
➧ Step 3) Compose Your Message
Type your message and include any attachments as necessary.
Want to add images to your message?:
Pasting images in the body of the message is not supported. Either use the "insert image" option from the editor bar or if you know how to insert images using HTML, you can add images uploaded to your Settings > Uploaded Files page using the HTML editor "<>."
» Note: There is a 5MB message size limit in outbound email messages. You will receive an error if you attach images or documents that are too large and will need to resize them to send the message.
➧ Step 4) Send Your MessageClick Send to send and save your message in the Sent Messages area.
Sender Display and Team Email Tip
➧ Sender Display
All emails or alerts sent from your team website will be from the name and email address associated with your own login and are not visible across admin accounts.
➧ Team Email Tip
We highly suggest setting up team or role-based admin logins in an external email program of choice (gmail/yahoo etc). For example, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com etc.
Then set up SwimTopia accounts with these logins to send team-wide email/alert messages. Doing this will allow for easier role transitions, and retain a log of emails sent for future reference by new volunteers. Replies to emails will be sent to the email used when the message is sent.
» Note: These emails must be set up in an email program external to SwimTopia. We do not create/manage these emails.
➧ Team Email Setup Steps
Once you setup your new team email in Gmail (etc), you would either provide the login to those who should access it to see what communication comes in, or you should be able to set up an alias in that account to add the personal emails of those individuals, so any message sent to that generic email is also sent to these people.
Then the SwimTopia setup comes in...Go to People and use the New Parent button to create the account, and grant Site Admin privileges (if appropriate).
You can also create a New Role to grant specific privileges to if you don't want to give these people access to everything, and assign this new account to this role for communication. This is done under Roles > Assign Roles button > Add/Remove
An activation email would be sent to this email for you to set up a password. Then you would provide that login to whoever needs it if they should be able to login to the account on your SwimTopia site.
Reaching Specific Groups of People
➧ All Current Season Members
Email all members of the team in the current season team by entering: Members.
All users are automatically added to your Members group for the current season through registration, including Approved and Pending registrations and users manually added through the People tab.
The Members group is intended for team-wide general information Communications. Parents who have requested to not receive email communications in Registration are not included in Members. These parents will show “Unsubscribed” when viewing their profile in People.
➧ All Previous Season Members
Email members of the previous season by entering: Members - Previous Season.
All last season's imported users and registrations are included in this group, unless they have opted out. This is an excellent way to invite members to register for a new season.
» Note: Any season marked "unofficial" will be skipped.
➧ All Parents (Disregards Opt-Out Selection)
Email Parents only by entering: Parents.
Parents can unsubscribe from "Members" but not from "Parents". In other words, using the Parents email group will send a message to every parent with an email address even if they have used the unsubscribe feature. So don’t use this group for general announcements.
» Note: The Members group is likely smaller than the Parents group, but there’s no need to send to both groups in a single message. If you want everyone to receive the message even if they’ve requested not to be communicated with, use Parents (but use it sparingly).
Email Athletes only by entering: Athletes.
Due to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA"), only High School teams can collect athlete emails during registration to send Communications directly to athletes. Teams can add emails to athlete profiles directly but use caution when communicating with them due to the above act.
➧ Athlete Age Groups
Email Athlete Age Groups by typing the age or competition category, then select from the drop-down list of choices.
» Note: 15 + age groups are typically labeled “Men” or “Women.”
➧ Athlete Roster GroupsEmail Athlete Roster Groups by entering the name of the group.
» Note: For all of the Athlete Groups listed above, the message will be delivered to the parents IF there's no email address affiliated with the athlete, but will not be delivered to the parents IF the athlete has an email listed. This is by design due to the COPPA Act mentioned above, and the expectation that parents would have the emails, not athletes. To ensure these parents are included when you send to these athlete groups, you can create a Role to assign the parents to and include this role when communicating to these groups, or use "Members" which reaches everyone with an email.
➧ Role Assignees
If you tend to reach out to a subset of your members (i.e. your board, coaches, etc.), we suggest creating "Roles" for these groups and then assigning these members to the role. Email all members assigned to a role by typing in the name of that role.
» Note: Roles Communication works differently than Athlete Group Communication. Unlike the athlete groups above, if you assign athletes and their parents to the same role (Ex. State Team), and the athlete has an email, they will both get the message instead of the parent only receiving the message when the athlete does not have an email. Using your "Roles" in communication will simply email anyone assigned to that role that has an email address. If you add an athlete, it will email that athlete (if they have an email). If you add a parent, it will email that parent.
Important Delivery Details
- Unsubscribe: At least one parent per family must be configured to receive team emails. Clicking "Unsubscribe" in a user's profile (under People) only pertains to emails directed to the "Members" groups. Emails directed to any other groups listed above are delivered without regard to the unsubscribe option in a user's profile. If someone is assigned to a Role and does not want to receive team communication, they need to be removed from the Role, or their email needs to be removed from their profile.
- Athlete Groups: If the athlete doesn’t have an email address, the parent receives the email on behalf of the athlete, but the parent will NOT ALSO receive the email if the athlete email exists. This does not apply when addressing to "Members" or Role groups, which sends the email to anyone that has an email and is not unsubscribed (parents and athletes).
- Role Groups: As stated above, using your "Roles" in communication will simply email anyone assigned to that role that has an email address. If you add an athlete, it will email that athlete (if they have an email). If you add a parent, it will email that parent.
- Pending Registrations: These families are considered part of your Roster, and will receive messages if applicable based on the "group" used in communication. If you do not want this to occur, you can move them to Rejected status until approved.
- Email Duplication: A communication will not be sent to a single recipient more than once, even if you enter multiple groups in the recipient field and they are members of more than one group. For example, if you send to multiple age groups and the parent has more than one child, they will only receive one message.
Sending Emails & Alerts to Groups Through Reports and Meets
Want to send a message to a past season prior to your "previous" season OR send a message to that past season and your current season members at once?
If you want to send a message to a season from years past (beyond your previous season), you can do this from the Reports tab. And if you want to include your current season in that message, this will allow you to send one message to multiple seasons and the system will eliminate duplicate messages.
You may also send emails to other groups while working with reports and meet jobs & shifts.
➞ See our Sending Email & Alerts to Groups through Reports and Meets tutorial for more details.
Trouble-shooting Communication Issues
➞ See our Help Center article on Communications: Email Delivery