It's helpful to have a few things organized before you create a new Auto Action in SAM.
1) Write out what the Auto Action is supposed to do
List what you'd like the Auto Action to do (be specific). For example, "I want a confirmation email to go to the family after an inquiry is submitted on our application form."
Using the following example, we'll show how the trigger and action work together:
"I want SAM to change the Case Stage to "Application" when the "Application Received Date" is entered in the family's record."
What's the trigger? In our example, the "Application Received Date" field has a date in it so the trigger. Or in SAM terms, "update a field."
What action happens? SAM changes the Case Stage from "Inquiry" to "Application". Or, again, in SAM terms, the "update a field."
PLEASE NOTE: Auto Actions can only do one thing at a time. If I also want an email to go out to the family letting them know that their application was received, I'll need to create another Auto Action with the Auto Action Type being "send an email". Luckily, there is a feature to copy an existing Auto Action and make changes so that you don't have to keep starting from scratch.
2) What table will your Auto Action be triggered from?
In our example, our Auto Action trigger is the Application Received Date which is in the family record. If you're creating an Auto Action whose trigger is a placement date in a Child record, you would click on the plus sign next to Child < Adoption < Placement Date. If you're unsure, you can click back to find the right field.
3) Name your Auto Actions consistently.
Decide on a consistent way that your organization will name Auto Actions so that they describe what the Auto Action is for and what it's doing. There are several examples already loaded into SAM. You can name your Auto Actions whatever you want, but keep in mind that consistency will help keep you organized in the long run. Here are a few examples:
Case Stage Number | Case Stage Description | Action | Why Action is Being Done
-OR- Action | What triggers the action
-OR- Trigger | Auto Action | Why
3) The "Execute More Than Once Per Record" box
When creating a new Auto Action, there's a box to decide whether or not the Auto Action you're creating should be set to "Execute More Than Once Per Record."
Click this box if you decide to execute the task multiple times (if the task should be done more than once or until satisfied). For example, an reminder email that should go out weekly to a family until the family returns their post adoption report.
Other tasks, like updating a field (as in our application date field example above) should only be done once per record, so if they re-enter or change the received date it won't trigger the Auto Action again. In this case, do not check the box.